Pure wool blankets can be machine washed. Start by checking your machine has a completely cold setting - on some machines the wool setting is not actually cold. Select the minimum spin. Wash your throw separately to avoid colour run and snagging. Choose a mild liquid detergent that is specially formulated for wool. Final rinse softeners may be used but keep the amount to minimum, as too much will exacerbate felting.
Fill your sink or bath with lukewarm water and add a gentle laundry detergent specially made for wool and delicates. Give it a mix, then add your blanket to the water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Then, gently swish and scrunch the blanket around with your hands. Avoid rubbing the material together as the friction can cause shrinking and pilling. Rinse twice with clean water and reshape whilst damp.
For the odd spill, spot cleaning is best. Use a detergent specially formulated for wool, moisten the affected area of your blanket with cold water and work the liquid soap sparingly into the area with a lint-free cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing too hard in one place as this can mat and stretch the fabric. It's better to be very gentle and repeat a few times if necessary.
Remove the blanket from the washing machine as soon as the cycle finishes and reshape whilst damp. Don't wring it out – instead, sandwich your blanket inside a couple of dry towels and roll like a Swiss Roll to gently remove excess water. Dry your blanket flat or line dry ensuring the weight is evenly distributed. Never tumble dry as your blanket may shrink. The texture of the blanket will change slightly after the first wash as the action of the machine causes loose fibres to mesh and felt together.
All our Finest Collection merino lambswool throws are suitable for dry cleaning only. You can also dry clean pure wool throws if you want to avoid the slight change in texture that machine washing will cause. Choose a dry cleaning company that is a member of the UKFT. Tell them your throw is made from wool or merino lambswool. If you know the cause of any stains it’s helpful to let them know so they can remove marks more effectively.
The surface of a wool blanket has brushed fibres which will mesh together with use, forming small bobbles, or "pills". Pilling is a direct result of friction so you are more likely to create bobbles if you use your throw in high-wear areas, and when your blanket is new and fluffy. Pilling is easy to take care of with a lint roller and a de-pilling comb every now and again. Use a self-adhesive lint roller to remove loose fibres, then gently skim the de-pilling comb over the blanket in one direction, or tease away by hand.
Wool blankets have an open weave and a brushed finish so they feel soft and drape well. They are perfect for snuggling under on the sofa or as a warm layer on the bed. However, it's important to understand that wool blankets are more delicate than upholstery fabrics, which are very hardwearing and specially designed for high-friction areas, including the seat and back of a sofa. We don't recommend using soft wool blankets as sofa / chair covers on top of upholstery fabrics as they are not designed to withstand the same degree of friction. Doing so is a bit like putting on a waterproof jacket, then wearing a pure wool jumper over the top to protect it!
Wool Laundry Detergents & Conditioners
Choose a PH neutral, mild liquid detergent that is specially formulated for wool. Avoid heavy-duty biological detergents containing enzymes, or any detergents containing chlorine or bleach. Final rinse softeners or conditioners can be used, but keep the amount to minimum. A lot of softener can actually increase the formation of bobbles because it acts as a lubricant, encouraging the fibres to move against each other more freely. This may result in shrinking or felting.
Before you start...
Did you know?
Wool is naturally self-cleaning? It sounds like quite a claim, but let me explain the science. The keratin in wool actually breaks down bacteria naturally. The core of each wool fibre strand is composed of two types of cells that absorb different amounts of moisture. One type swells more than the other causing a constant motion between the two. This characteristic creates a mechanical, self-cleaning effect. The natural breathability of wool means your blanket actually needs washing less than you might think and airing outside on the line is often all you need to freshen it up.