Did you treat yourself or get treated to an Aran Wool / Mucro or Irish Sweater over the festive period? Not only are they beautiful but are a great investment for winter (especially in Ireland), The majority, if not all Irish Sweaters are 100% wool and need a little extra TLC when it comes to washing them. It also mean they don’t have to be washed as often than other fabrics but don’t worry, this isn’t a daunting challenge. Here are our essential tips to washing and caring for Irish sweaters and what pitfalls to watch out for.
Washing Your Irish Sweater:
Presoak your sweater in slightly warm water (86F / 30C) with some mild detergent for at least 30 minutes up or overnight. Never machine wash your sweater as hot or cold water may cause the wool to shrink! Gently rinse the sweater out, don’t pull at it or wring it out as this can affect its shape. Take a little extra care on the neckline and cuffs of your sweater as these may need to be rinsed out more due to the doubling of wool.
Rinse out the sweater a few times to make sure that there isn’t any residual detergent. The next step which we recommend is the ‘blocking technique’, this is when the sweater is pressed out and towel rolled. This way you aren’t wringing out or pulling at the sweater, causing the shape to be deformed. With this technique, you roll or fold the sweater into a shape that can be squeezed or pressed within the protective layer of the towel. Do this several times, until you’ve gotten rid of as much water as possible.
Removing Stains from your Irish Sweater:
It doesn’t matter how careful you are, you’ll always be likely to spill something or get a stain on your new sweater, what now? Stains can be spot cleaned without having to wash the entire sweater and this is what we would recommend doing as overwashing can be damaging. Wet the area with some lukewarm water and rub in a circular motion some mild detergent onto the stain and then rinse underneath the tap.
Drying Your Irish Sweater:
As your sweater is 100%, it will be heavy and it’s advised to not hang it up yet, instead lay it out flat on a clotheshorse or on a towel in an area that has both good air circulation and some ambient heat. No direct heat such as radiators as this will damage the sweater. While the sweater is slightly damp, try to reshape it back to its original form.
Storing your Irish Sweater:
Now that your sweater is clean and dry, storing your sweater is the easiest part, simply just fold the sweater. Hanging sweaters is not recommended as the shoulders can stretch and the weight can also distort the body. If you are going to put the sweater away for a long period such as summer, put them into a breathable bag and this should avoid any mildew
*extra special tip! Add a sachet or small packet of Lavender into the folded sweater, this will keep moths and other bugs away during the summer months and give the sweater a fresh smell when unpacking it for the winter months.
Caring for your Irish Sweater:
A battery-operated lint shaver is your friend with chunky sweaters. The small blades will cut off any small balls of fluff that may appear from general everyday wear and tear. The lint shaver will remove only the balls of fluff and shouldn’t damage any of the wool or stitching. It’s better to regularly de lint (as they appear) instead of them pilling up and spreading.