Did you know …
Wool should never be washed in regular laundry detergent? This is because it is too alkaline for wool and over time will cause fibres to break. Wool likes to be washed in a detergent with a low pH (on the acid side) which is why there are special detergents for wool.
Did you know that fabric conditioners are bad for wool? This is because fabric conditioners are designed to remove the static from synthetic fibres. Wool is a natural fibre and does not produce static, but more importantly, wool fibres will absorb fabric conditioner which will then make it hard for the fibres to “breathe”.
Washing your felted fleece rug is easy, just follow these steps:
- Fill a tub with lukewarm water (no hotter than 30’c).
- Add a wool/silk detergent, it’s a good idea to do this after you’ve run the tap, this will prevent big bubbles from forming and will be easier to rinse out afterwards 😉
- Take your rug and gently immerse it in the soapy water.
- Leave to soak for an hour or so, swish it around a little but don’t agitate too much.
- Optional step: drain the soapy water and refill the bowl with lukewarm water and a big squeeze of sulphate free, organic hair conditioner (ie “Faith in Nature” Coconut conditioner). You could use any hair conditioner as long as it’s sulphate free. Don’t worry too much if the conditioner doesn’t completely dissolve and stays in little clumps in the water, it will still work. The conditioner isn’t a crucial part of washing wool but it makes the wool a bit softer, smoother and less fluffy.
- Leave to soak for another hour or so.
- Drain and replace with lukewarm water and a generous splash of vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar). The vinegar will remove any soap residue and also restore the wool back to its preferred pH which is slightly acidic. Repeat the vinegary rinse until the water runs clear. For the final vinegar rinse, add some drops of essential oil to deter moths, these will all do the trick: lavender, cedar wood or tea tree.
- Alternatively, it is possible to wash your rug in the machine although there’s a slight chance the rug might shrink a little. Be sure to wash it on the delicate wool/silk cycle at no more than 30’c and don’t forget to splash some vinegar and essential oil in the rinse drawer to keep the wool happy. Sometimes the spin cycle on machine washing can cause the wool to go a little fluffy, if this happens, soak it in a hair conditioner solution and rinse in a vinegar solution (as above) and leave to drip dry, flat and face up. The conditioning treatment and air drying will encourage the locks to re-form and remove a lot of the fluffiness.
- Once the rug is completely dry, gently go through the wool with your fingers, teasing out any locks which might have gone into hiding and separating any clumps which may have formed.