How to remove a stain from wool

Have you spilt something down the front of your favourite woollen sweater? Stains are an inevitable part of wearing clothes and wool can be a tricky prospect to clean. Wool sweaters need extra attention to retain their shape and colour – it is not just a matter of throwing them in a washing machine. Applying heat to a stain in wool will leave a permanent mark, so you will need to know the best ways to handwash your wool before you fill your wardrobe with cosy sweaters.

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Let’s take a look at how to remove a stain from wool.

Get rid of excess

Remove anything chunky from the stain with a spoon or a blunt edge. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and soft wool soap with one litre of warm water to blot the stain from the outside. Don’t be tempted to use a biological detergent – according to the experts at Persil, a bio-detergent will just eat away at the wool.

Handwash your wool

A washing machine is too powerful to prevent woollen garments from getting damaged or knocked out of shape, so handwashing is the way to keep them looking fresh. Fill a sink with an equal mix of hot and cold water and add soapflakes. Once these have dissolved, place the wool sweater in the mix and allow it to soak.

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If you have a mens Irish Aran sweater in white, cream or beige, perhaps from a stockist such as, add two capfuls of ammonia to keep the colour crisp. Once this is done, rinse the sweater until the soap is removed and add one-third of a cup of white vinegar to the remaining water. Swirl the sweater in the vinegar solution. A little dye might come out, but the vinegar should make sure the dye stays fixed in the fibres and prevent bleeding.

Careful drying

Letting a wool sweater air dry on a line or putting it in a dryer will ruin the wool, making it shrink or warp; instead, wrap the sweater in a towel. Twist the towel until it is sopping wet, repeat with dry towels until the excess moisture is gone, and let the sweater dry naturally on a flat surface.

Follow these steps to make your wool last for many years to come.

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