Woollens 101: How to Wash Woollen Knits and Stop Pilling - Clothes Doctor

Woollens 101: How to Wash Woollen Knits and Stop Pilling

Wool is notoriously difficult to wash - we all carry the trauma of our favourite jumper shrunk to a size too small for a two year old. In this guide we are teaching you the woollen basics - how to hand wash them and prevent pilling. This will keep your knitwear looking newer, smelling fresher, and wearable for longer. 

Cashmere and Wool Detergent


The most important thing to care for your woollens is washing them correctly. While a woollen or delicates option on your washing machine is fine to use - the best washing method is handwashing as it reduces the damage done to the fibres. 

Step one: 

Fill your sink or a bucket with warm (but not hot) water, and add 2-3 capfuls of detergent that is pH neutral (we have a scented cashmere and wool detergent perfect for this). 

Step two: 

Turn your garment inside-out and submerge it. Avoid agitating the material too much so the shape of the garment is not altered. 

Step three: 

Leave to soak for up to 30 minutes. 

Step four: 

Once it has soaked, rise it through with cold water to get rid of the detergent. Again, be careful not to stretch the yarn.

Step five:

Use a towel to remove any excess water and leave it to dry flat. 

In general, it is best to avoid continuous washing of your knitwear, as it causes strain on the fabric. To lengthen the time between washes, you can steam the garment to kill any bacteria - check out our steamer water, or you can use a clothing spritz to refresh the garment.

Use our steamer water or clothing spritz on knitwear


So we now know the best way to wash our knitwear, but how do we prevent our garments from pilling? 

Pilling, sometimes called bobbling, is when your woollen clothing gets fuzzy balls all over them, making your clothes look worn out. Pilling is caused by your clothes rubbing while your wearing it so it is more likely to happen around the elbows, armpits, and the sides of your woolly jumper. 

But, don’t stress as pilling in your knitwear can be prevented - and below are three tips on how to do so. 

Tip 1

Wash your wool garments inside-out to keep the visible part of the clothing from rubbing against other fabrics. 

Tip 2 

Wash wool garments separately, or even on their own, to reduce the chance of fabrics rubbing together - handwashing is also helpful for this. Using specialist wool detergents protects the fibres more than standard detergent, as they are more gentle and pH neutral - our cashmere and wool detergent is great for this. 

Tip 3 

If pilling sadly still happens, use a Cashmere Comb to gently pull these bobbles away from your clothes until they look like new again. For this, Clothes Doctor has cashmere combs in beechwood and red cedarwood.

Use our red cedarwood comb to get rid of the bobbles

There you have two step by step guides to keep your woollens clean, healthy, and bobble free! 

For products that help you with these processes and more - shop our knitwear care guide. If you would like even more tips on how to care for your wool, check out our Karen Millen blog

Basil & Mandarin Leaf Ultimate Duo Box
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Cashmere Comb in Beechwood
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