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How do you wash a wool blanket? What if it’s very old? How do you spot-treat stains? How do you dry it without shrinking?
Fear not. Washing a wool blanket is actually a very easy process. I’ll take you through it step by step, until your blanket is like new!
Wool Blankets Can Last a Lifetime
I received this lovely blanket almost thirty years ago as a wedding gift. It was purchased in Ireland during a friend’s vacation. The quality of the yarn and pattern are beautiful. It’s a gift I treasure and use often, so I really wanted to get it clean and fresh again.
Over the years, it’s been in heavy use during cold winters, as I or another family member snuggled under it while watching tv, reading, or napping.
Occasionally the family member has been one of our dogs.
Since we have moved so many times over the years, this blanket has also seen its share of storage in cardboard boxes.
Because of its age and the age of some of the stains, I’ve been more than a little nervous about tossing it in the washing machine. With a little research, however, I was able to restore it to like-new condition with very little effort!
Before you begin, check any tags to see if your blanket is labeled dry clean only. If so, you should take it to a reputable dry cleaner for washing.
Supplies needed: club soda, a gentle soap (I’m partial to Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap), washing machine, drying rack
Step 1: Examine the blanket first for holes, tears, unraveling threads, or other repairs. Do these repairs first, before washing.
Step 2: Over a sink or tub, slowly pour club soda on any stains until the fabric is saturated. Rub the fabric gently together to loosen the stain. Rinse under cold water until the stain is mostly gone. Repeat as necessary. (I was surprised how quickly my stains came out with the club soda!)
Step 3: Place the blanket in the washing machine and set it to soak in COLD water for 15 minutes. This will further help with stain removal.
Step 4: Run the washing machine on the delicate cycle, using cold water and a gentle soap. Do not use the spin cycle.
Step 5: When the cycle is complete, squeeze excess water out of the blanket, but do not twist. It helps to wrap a towel or two around the blanket to prevent accidentally twisting it.
Step 6: Hang the blanket to dry. It will still be very wet and drippy, so the ideal arrangement is to place a clothes-drying rack in a bathtub so the water goes down the drain. The blanket can also be hung outside. Wool dries surprisingly fast – my blanket dried overnight, indoors!
Step 7: Once dry, rub your hands lightly over the blanket to smooth any wrinkles and remove the loose bits of fluff – there may be a good handful! Your blanket is now soft, fresh, and ready to snuggle under once again!
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These steps did wonders for my thirty-year-old blanket, and I’m sure they will work for you as well. They can also be applied to sweaters, scarves, and other wool products – just be sure to check for that dry-clean-only label before you start. Sweaters should dry flat and be reshaped while wet, so they don’t become distorted and stretched once dry.
If you were once hesitant to clean some good wool blankets, follow these directions to make them fresh again.