Wool is a complicated fabric to wash because, while durable and long-lasting, it can have severe damage if mishandled. A wool jacket has an extra layer of complication because of its structure.
Most wool jackets have a “dry clean only” tag on the care label to ensure professionals handle the cleaning to prevent damage. However, some wool jackets have a “dry clean recommended” label, which allows for home washing.
When washing your wool jacket in your home, use as little force and agitation as possible, which is why handwashing is the better option.
How Often Should You Wash Your Wool Jacket?
Your wool coat doesn’t come in direct contact with the skin, so it doesn’t get dirty like other clothes. However, check for visible stains and foul odors on the wool jacket and clean them.
Wash your wool jacket every few weeks or at the end of the season, depending on how often you wear it.
Spot clean stains on the wool jacket the instant they happen or when you notice them; once they dry, they will be hard to remove.
Washing your Wool Jacket
Washing your wool jacket becomes less tedious once you understand the underlying procedure.
Read the Care Label of your Wool Jacket
Clothing care labels are essential to get accurate maintenance instructions. These instructions are for wool jackets to maintain their structure and texture.
Before washing or spot cleaning your wool jacket, read the care label to know if you can clean it at home, the recommended water temperature, and whether it is machine washable.
Spot Clean the Stains on your Wool Jacket
A stain on your clothes is inevitable; you should clean it immediately to prevent spreading and permanent damage.
Spot cleaning is a stain treatment that doesn’t require submerging the wool jacket in the water.
- Check the wool jacket for stains, whether they are food, oil, sweat, or armpit stains.
- Lay the jacket on a flat surface for better visibility.
- Mix two tablespoons of a mild detergent or wool shampoo and ½ cup of water to form a stain remover.
- Pour the stain remover on the stained area and rub it in the jacket with your finger.
- Rinse the area and allow the jacket to air-dry.
Hand Washing Wool Jackets
Handwashing is the better option for washing your wool jacket because you can control the agitation, which will
- Choose a suitable wash space.
The wool jacket needs enough room to move about because a tight space will cause wrinkles and creasing or more severe damage. Choose a suitable wash space that can contain the jacket.
Use your bathtub to wash the wool jacket; it has the space necessary for proper cleaning. An alternative is a sizable bowl with enough room to contain the wool jacket.
When you have the wash space, ensure it is clean to avoid transferring dirt to the jacket. A dirty wash space can also reduce the efficiency of the detergent.
- Fill the wash space with water.
Read the care label to know the recommended water temperature for washing your wool jacket. However, lukewarm water is adequate for washing wool because heat can damage the fabric.
- Choose a detergent
You should avoid harsh detergents when washing your wool jacket to prevent damage. The ingredients in laundry detergents like enzymes, optical brighteners, fabric softeners, etc., can ruin the fabric.
Use a mild wool-specific detergent for the wash. Do not use any other laundry additive like bleach or fabric softener because these items can ruin the absorbency of the jacket.
Pour the correct amount of detergent into the water; you will find this information on the bottle’s label.
- Place the wool jacket into the solution.
After pouring the detergent into the water, agitate it with your hand to form soap suds and ensure the detergent dissolves well.
Remove debris from the wool jacket with a soft brush.
Submerge the wool jacket into the solution, ensuring it is under the water. Leave the wool jacket to soak for 30 minutes to an hour; it will quickly absorb the solution, allowing the detergent to penetrate the fabric.
After 30 minutes, gently agitate the wool jacket in the solution, moving it about and squeezing different parts continuously. Twisting or wringing can cause damage, so use gentle agitation.
Leave the jacket in the solution for a few more minutes after washing, but this step is optional.
- Rinse the wool jacket
Remove the wool jacket from the solution and drain the water. Fill the bathtub or bowl with cold water and place the wool jacket back inside.
Follow the same agitation method to rinse the jacket till there is no soap left, but don’t wring or twist.
After rinsing, lift and gently squeeze the wool jacket, then roll a thick absorbent towel on a flat surface with the jacket inside to remove the excess water.
Dry the wool jacket afterward.
Machine Wash the Wool Jacket
Some wool jackets can withstand a washing machine without damage; the care label will inform you if this is the case with yours.
- Remove debris from the wool jacket with a soft brush.
- Check the jacket for stains and spot clean them.
- Select the “gentle/delicate” wash cycle; it uses slow spin speeds, short wash times, and reduced agitation. If you have a more modern washing machine with ‘wool’ settings, use that.
- Choose the cold or lukewarm water setting; refer to the care label.
- Pour the same mild wool-specific detergent into the washer.
- Place your wool jacket in the washer and start the wash cycle. If you prefer, place the wool jacket in a large mesh bag to create a barrier with the washer.
- Afterward, dry the wool jacket.
How to Dry your Wool Jacket
A wool jacket should never enter the dryer. Even when air-drying, limit the times you hang the wool jacket to avoid loosening the fabric and damaging the structure.
Lay your wool jacket flat to air-dry in a suitable area, where it will not pick up debris or insects. Avoid direct sunlight if you’re air-drying outside, and use a well-ventilated room if you’re air-drying indoors.
How to Maintain Wool Coats
Because of the texture of the fabric and the long periods between washes, you should know the proper maintenance practices to preserve the wool jacket’s lifespan.
Remove Wrinkles from Wool Coats
Ironing and steaming are two methods to remove wrinkles from wool coats.
Place the wool jacket on a sturdy ironing table and put a thin sheet to protect it from direct contact with the iron.
Use a steam iron and put it on low heat to avoid burning the wool jacket.
Follow the directions on the steamer for an efficient process but avoid direct contact.
Unshrink your Wool Jacket
Sometimes, wool jackets shrink. When this happens, you can use a simple method to return it to an adequate size.
- Fill a bowl or bathtub with cold water.
- Pour a generous amount of hair conditioner into the water and allow it to dissolve.
- Submerge the wool jacket into the solution.
- Let the jacket soak in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse in clean water afterward.
- Remove the wool jacket from the water and stretch it till it reaches a suitable size.
- Lay the wool jacket flat to air-dry.