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Our winter clothes and accessories are used repeatedly throughout the cold season, but we may not wash them often.
And let's be honest, our winter accessories like scarves, gloves, hats are never even given a second thought when it comes to washing. Many times, they can't be found in the laundry basket because they are lying stuffed somewhere in jacket pockets or handbags, making them easily forgettable.
But, we have seen that these items are not only exposed to snow, dirt and cold, but even facial oils, sweat and germs build up on them if they are not washed and cared for at regular intervals.
Thankfully, we are here to help you make this winter season the season of fresh and clean woollen accessories.
Myth Busting- Woollens Should Not be Washed
We have spent a considerable part of our life fearful of washing our woollens, thinking they will shrink, lose colour, or get deformed if exposed to water and detergent. But, experience has taught us that this is just a misconception. Even if a garment is made of 100 % wool, it can be washed safely at home in most cases.
But, we must remember that there are different types of wool like the sturdier ones made of merino, mohair and the more delicate ones like cashmere and pashmina, which all need to be dealt with differently.
Hence, it's always a good idea to check the garment care label to ensure it's safe to wash.
When buying a detergent for your woollens, what is most important to you?
How Often Should You Wash Woollens?
One of the perks that we enjoy about our woollen clothes is that they stay fresh for longer between washes than our cotton and synthetic garments. This means that in general, they need to be washed less frequently through the season.
This, however, does not mean that we keep delaying their laundering until they start to stink and are absolutely unwearable. The fact is that much like summer fabrics, wool also tends to absorb dirt, grime, body sweat and oils.
So, how do we ensure our woollens remain fresh and smell fragrant? Well, remember to wash and air them on a regular, though less frequent basis, throughout the season. Twice or thrice a season is usually enough for garments like sweaters and coats, but your woollen accessories may need more regular laundering.
Let's see how you can wash different types of woollen accessories in your winter wardrobe.
When was the last time you washed your gloves? Even if the answer is never, we are not surprised as that’s the case with most people. Every winter, we wear our gloves and end up touching various bacteria-laden surfaces like door handles, lift push buttons, etc.
Hence, not washing our gloves could prove to be bad for our health. We recommend washing woollen gloves and mittens at least three to five times during the winter months. But, if you are wearing gloves and touching high contact surfaces more frequently, then it's best to wash them after each use.
As wool gloves tend to absorb more moisture and lose shape quickly, we prefer to hand wash them. First, we fill a small basin with cool water and then add some Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent to this water. We have noticed that wool is vulnerable to high water temperatures and agitation. Hence, we use cool water and a mild touch.
We ended up zeroing in on Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent after a lot of trial and error with various detergents. On checking its label, we learnt that it has no bleach and no enzymes, no wonder the colour of our clothes remained intact and they didn’t lose their shape or form after washing! Another thing we noticed after using the detergent was that our woollens felt soft and had a nice shine to them, making them look almost like new.
We’ve been using Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent for a while now, and have noticed that it has helped elongate the life of our woollens with its gentle, pH neutral formula.
We then submerge the gloves, gently agitate the water to distribute the detergent and soak for about 5 minutes. To get rid of the excess soap, we gently rinse with cool water until the water is no longer soapy. We were greatly impressed by the Easy Rinse Formula of Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent, and were completely able to avoid over rinsing our gloves and ruining the fabric. In the long run, we saw that this helped ensure our gloves remained soft in texture.
After rinsing, we avoid wringing our gloves to remove the extra water. Instead, we press the water out to prevent them from losing shape.
While beanies, knit hats, etc., help keep our heads warm during winter, they are also exposed to sweat, makeup, and hair products. We suggest that if your knit caps or beanies do have any embellishments, always hand wash them as the sequins and jewels on them (if any) can be damaged in a washing machine.
We have seen that knit or crocheted hats made from natural fibres like wool, cotton or flax, or even blended fibres should be hand washed carefully with cool water. We have had accidents when even a single wash with bleach and enzyme-based regular detergents have wreaked havoc on our favourite woollen caps.
They leave a residue on the wool fabric, which causes fuzzy pills or balls to appear on the cap. So, we like to opt for detergent formulas specially developed for wool, like Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent.
When it comes to our white colour caps, we have to resist the urge to use bleach even though it is an excellent stain remover. Experience has taught us that bleach can cause a yellowish hue to develop on the fabric which is irreversible. Hence, we always ensure that we steer clear of any bleaching agents when it comes to our precious wools.
After hand washing our beanies, we dry them on a clean towel by pressing out the absorbed water.
Do you suddenly notice wrinkles or some shrinking in woollen caps after a wash? No worries! Stick to the hand washing method and dry them by pressing the water in a clean towel.
Scarves do a fabulous job of keeping us bundled up and warm, but also tend to accumulate body oils, sweat, dry skin flakes, etc. In our experience, washing scarves about five to seven times throughout the season should be sufficient.
We have learnt that different scarves need to be handled in different ways. For example, our expensive pashmina and cashmere shawls can be hand washed using a few drops of Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent and cold water that will help keep their luxurious feel intact.
And, how do we go about washing and softening heavy wool winter shawls? Well, you can wash the heavy ones with towels or sweaters, but delicate chiffon and light cotton shawls need extra care.
For a wool scarf, we wash and dry it by following the same procedure as we do with our woollen gloves. Even if your scarf’s label says you can use a dryer, remember that air drying is always gentler on the fabric.
We know that woollen socks keep out sweat more efficiently than cotton socks and even remain odour free for a longer time. But, that doesn't mean they don't require washing. So, what is the right way of washing woollen socks? We found that washing our woollen socks every 2-3 days works well.
Over time, we have seen that socks need to be washed with care, or they tend to lose their shape or shrink quickly. Washing them the right way is also crucial to extending their life.
If you are not sure about what kind of wool your socks are made of, hand washing is the safest bet. We always turn our socks inside out before washing them and it works especially well for socks with terry loops inside. A lot of dirt and debris tends to get stuck between these loops.
High heat can weaken the fabric and even cause fading of colours, which is why we always use cool water to wash our wool socks.
Do you need to wash your winter accessories?
The answer to this question is a definite yes. We have seen that caring for and washing our winter accessories is not only a great way to get rid of sweat and everyday stains but is also essential before storing them back in the closet for the next winter.
Soiled clothes can attract mildew and insects. Cleaning them before storing them will make sure they are in great condition to use for the next season as well. So, please do go ahead and give them that occasional wash!
These tips will help keep your winter accessories smelling and feeling great constantly.
You may also like to read: Tips to Keep Your Winter Wool Clothes Classy, Clean & Organized