HOW TO CARE FOR FELT AND WOOL
With proper care the natural qualities of wool or felted wool can be maintained for years. Follow these simple tips to insure the lasting beauty of your wool or felted wool items.
. Don't wear wool 2 days in a row. Fibers shed wrinkles and return to their original shape.
. Hang woven clothing on shaped or padded hangers. Store knits gently folded in drawers. Empty pockets, remove belts and hang with closures zipped or buttoned.
. Brush clothing to remove surface oil. Use a damp sponge for knits and finer fabrics.
. Refresh garments quickly after wearing or unpacking by hanging them in a steamy bathroom. Moisture from the steam removes wrinkles. If wool gets wet, dry it at room temperature away from heat. If there's a nap, brush with the nap. Remove spots and stains promptly.
PRESSING WOOL AND FELT
Always use steam when pressing wool and water when pressing felted wool.
Felt: Felt can be brought back into shape by soaking in water, toweling/patting dry (or washing on cold in the washing machine and then, after a rinse and spin cycle), reshaping and laying flat to dry.
Wool: Set the iron on the wool or felted wool setting. Avoid pressing wool totally dry. When possible, press on the reverse side of the fabric. When it is necessary to press on the right side of the fashion fabric, use a press cloth to avoid a shine. Extra scraps of wool or felted wool fabric make excellent press cloths; they help to preserve the resilient texture of wool or felted woolens. Lower and lift the iron; don't slide it back and forth. Prevent imprinting inside detail by placing a piece of brown wrapping paper or tissue paper under folds, seams or darts.
CARE IN STORAGE
The same chemistry that makes wool or felted wool fiber resilient and durable, and lets it breathe and shed wrinkles, also makes it susceptible to moths and carpet beetles. These insects, if allowed to infest feed in the larva stage on the keratin protein present only in animal fibers. Since the insect larvae are attracted to areas of the cloth that are soiled with food stains and body oil, clothing kept clean in storage is the most effective protection.
Additional prevention can be achieved by taking the following precautions:
Have your wool or felted woolens cleaned before packing them away. Cleaning will also kill larvae. Brush clothing after each wearing. This will not only revive the nap but will help rid clothing of insect infestation. Keep closets, dresser drawers and trunks clean. Pack clothes in airtight containers – well-sealed garment bags or boxes and trunks with secure lids. Cold storage in temperatures of 40 degrees (4° C) or lower further discourages infestation.
CLEANING WOOL AND FELT
Before deciding on a cleaning method for wool look for the care instruction label. These labels should not be removed. Most manufacturers recommend dry cleaning although some garments can be hand-washed and some even laundered by machine.
If you're not sure what a symbol means here's a link to Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) Guide to Apparel and Textile Care Symbols.
Machine Washing Felt: Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle with items which do not attract fluff like Jeans. Spin dry. Reshape and air dry. Take note of felt in drain openings and clean out after each wash.
Machine Washing Wool Garments: Wool Garments labeled SUPERWASH can go right from the washing machine to the dryer without the worry of felting shrinkage. The SUPERWASH label, is a certification mark of The Wool Bureau, Inc. It indicates a certain standard of machine-washability performance. For the best results for woven washable wool or felted woolens: Set the machine for gentle action at a short cycle. Set the water temperature at cool or lukewarm. Use a mild soap or detergent which contains no bleach. If it's the powered variety, make sure it is completely dissolved. Wash each garment separately. Garments identified with the SUPERWASH label can be dried by machine or hung carefully on a padded hanger. Shearling bedpans may also carry the SUPERWASH certification allowing them to be washed and dried by machine. Once clean, they should be lightly brushed to restore their original appearance. (Back to top)
Hand Washing Wool: Follow these suggestions when laundering wool garments labeled hand-washable. Make a paper pattern of knits by tracing the outline of the garment. Wash in lukewarm or cold water using a mild soap or liquid detergent (which contains no bleach) according to directions. Soak for 3-5 minutes, gently squeezing suds through without twisting or wringing the garment. Rinse twice in clean water that is the same temperature as the wash water. Gently squeeze out excess water and roll the garment in a towel and pin the garment to the pattern, smoothing to its original shape. Dry away from sunlight and direct heat.
Dry Cleaning: If the label indicates the wool garment should be dry-cleaned only, take it to a reliable dry cleaner. Identify any spots or stains for special treatment.
Moth balls are a left over from the "chemicals are good for you!", "Better living through chemistry!" era. Including liver and kidney damage, Moth Balls cause health problems as they are made from paradichlorobenzene. They're hazardous to children if swallowed and they smell awful.
To battle moths, humans have successfully used herbs for ages. I find natural ingredients work very well.
Moths rely on their sense of smell to find the wool or felted wool where they lay their eggs. If you use a natural moth repellent however, rather than smelling wool or felted wool the female moth will smell herbs and will not land there. She'll be on her way.
NATURAL MOTH REPELLENTS:
Dried lavender, Cloves, Rosemary, dried Mint, dried Thyme, Cinnamon sticks, Eucalyptus, Peppercorns, Dried lemon peel, Cedar (chips, balls, planks or essential oil)
MOTH REPELLENT RECIPES
Create your own recipes based on your favourite scents by mixing above ingredients, or just use 100% one ingredient if you like. Replace sachets with fresh ones annually.
. Equal parts peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary, 1/2 part thyme
. Equal parts dried lavender and dried lemon peel, 1 broken cinnamon stick
. Equal parts dried lavender and rosemary, 1/2 part dried lemon peel, 1 TBS cloves
. Equal parts whole cloves and whole peppercorns, 2 - 4 broken cinnamon sticks
. Equal parts cedar shavings and thyme
. Equal parts rosemary and mint
Bruise all ingredients together in a bowl then put the mix into small cotton bags, tie with ribbon and hang in your closet to keep the moths away and your closet smelling wonderful! Replace sachets with fresh ones annually. The stronger the scent, the better it repels moths.
MOTH PROOFING TIPS AND TRICKS
To help protect your wool or felted woolen items from moths...
. Stronger fragrances repel moths better.
. Moths are attracted to food stains, body oils, etc. Ensure items are laundered before storing.
. When storing, seal wool or felt in plastic if possible.
. Kill larvae by dry cleaning, freezing items for a few days or washing then tumbling in the dryer on high heat (if possible). Clean area thoroughly.
. Keep your closet clean. Vacuum the corners and shake out the blankets.
. When you purchase clothing from a thrift shop or garage sale, send it to the dry cleaners or place it in the dryer on hot. This kills eggs or larvae that may have come along for the ride home.
. Place moth repellent sachets around your home or right inside the storage bags. Change every 6-12 months as needed when scent begins to fade.