February 3, 2022
Fabric Care Guide: Wool & Cashmere
This Wool & Cashmere Fabric Care Guide will help you understand these cozy fabrics a bit more to help navigate how to care for your woollen products for the long term. Wool and cashmere are notoriously tricky fabrics to care for. If the water is too hot, you will shrink the fabric, and if you scrub too hard you will just set a stain. With the help of this guide, you will always know how to care for your fuzzy favorites.
First, let’s understand what exactly wool and cashmere are. Wool is a fiber derived from the hairs of various animals. While most people associate the word “wool” with sheep, there are, in fact, a variety of distinct types of wool that producers derive from animals other than sheep. Cashmere is wool fibers from a specific, high-quality breed of sheep.
Wool fibers consist of approximately 97 percent protein and 3 percent fat, which makes it uniquely suited for certain applications that lighter fabrics aren’t suited for, like insulating. Compared to cotton and other plant-based or synthetic textile materials, wool is highly flame-resistant. It doesn’t spread flame, and instead, it self-extinguishes. Therefore, this type of textile is highly useful in applications in which the reduction of flammability is desired.
Wool is produced in many different locations, but Australia remains the wool capital of the world, producing 25% of the wool in the world.
From sheep to sweater, there are many steps involved in producing wool and cashmere as the fiber or yarn we understand them as. Here is the process in four main steps:
- The production of wool begins with the shearing of wool-bearing animals.
- Next, the shorn wool is cleaned and sorted into bales.
- Once the wool fibers are clean and sorted, they are carded, which is the process of making the fibers into long strands.
- These carded strands are then spun into yarn, and after a final washing, this yarn can be woven into garments and other types of woolen textiles.
SUSTAINABILITY & ANIMAL WELFARE
Since wool and cashmere are natural textiles, they are inherently non-impactful on the environment. As long as wool-producing animals are allowed to live free, happy lives and they aren’t crowded or subjected to inhumane practices, it’s possible to produce wool sustainably.
However, just because wool production can be sustainable, doesn’t mean that it always is. In fact, the vast majority of wool production is either inhumane, environmentally degrading, or both. In search of maximum profits, wool producers everywhere disregard the effects that their industry has on the environment and the animals they depend on, and an inherently sustainable practice that human beings have pursued for thousands of years becomes harmful to both wool animals and their natural surroundings.
Also, keep an eye out for mulesing-free merino wool, harvested ensuring that no animals were harmed in the process of shearing. Mulesing has been a routine surgical procedure for a majority of sheep in order to prevent them from being killed by infections caused by insects. The mulesing procedure means cutting skin from around a lamb’s breech to create an area of bare, stretched skin. No animal should have to go through the pain and stress that this kind of procedure causes. Luckily, other alternatives are available, though perhaps more expensive.
Whether or not you have a closet full of wool or cashmere clothes, or you just have one special cashmere sweater, the following tips can help these pieces last a long time.
- Brushing: Using a soft garment brush, brush garments lengthwise after wearing to remove surface soil that might become stains later on. Dust and dirt can dull the appearance of wool fabrics. Also, use an anti-pill comb to remove the pills on your sweater to keep it like now. Check them out here.
- Airing: To remove cigarette or food odours, lay wool garments flat on a bed or towel for an hour. Woven garments may be hung in fresh air on a suitable hanger.
- Hang wovens, fold knits: Woven wool garments should be hung on shaped or padded coat hangers. Knitted garments should be gently folded and stored in drawers.
- Resting: Rest wool garments for 24 hours before wearing again. This gives the natural resilience and spring in the wool fiber time to recover and return to its original shape.
- Refreshing: Wool garments can be refreshed after unpacking or wearing by hanging them in a steamy bathroom. Moisture from the steam will remove wrinkles.
Wool and cashmere clothes require less washing and at lower temperatures compared to clothes made from other fibers. But if you do accidentally spill something on your favourite item of clothing and need to get rid of a stain, these handy tips will have your clothes looking new in no time.
Immediately dab the stain with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water (3:1 ratio)
COFFEE & CHOCOLATE
Mix alcohol and white vinegar in equal parts, soak a lint-free cloth in the solution and lightly dab the stained area before pressing gently with an absorbent cloth
If a greasy mark forms, firstly scrape the surface of the stain with a spoon or blunt knife to remove any excess oil. Use a hot iron over layers of tissue to soak up the excess oil/grease.
If required, soak a lint-free cloth in rubbing alcohol. Gently dab the area, blotting the solvent as much as possible. Repeat if necessary, then allow to dry.
Also, Try our Bicarbonate Stain Remover Soap to care for minor, everyday stains!