Good morning, everyone!
As the temperatures drop, we have been seeing lots of wool items coming in! Wool is one of the most popular seasonal fabrics for colder weather, and we always see a huge influx of wool items around this time of year.
As your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner and resident garment care experts, we get a lot of questions on how to care for wool, and how to retain the life of your favorite garments, so we wanted to take a second to let you all in on a few important details about this cozy fabric.
1) Wool comes from many different animals – Not just sheep!
The most popular type of wool comes from the shearing of sheep, but woolen items that are cashmere or mohair actually come from goats; there are also other types of wool that comes from camelid animals (think llama and alpaca). In some cases there is even fur from other animals mixed in with the wool to create a variety of textures, such as qiviut from muskoxen, fur from yaks, and angora from rabbits.
2) Boiled wool is a special kind of wool that is usually used to make those wool coats you all love so much!
The difference between regular wool and boiled wool is that boiled wool has been, well, boiled! (We know right… Duh!)
Manufacturers use knitted or woven wool (or wool blends) in hot water; the wool is agitated, and effectively shrunk. This shrunken wool creates a very tight texture, which is sort of similar to how felt appears.
Compared to regular types of wool, boiled wool doesn’t typically require any different sort of care process in terms of cleaning; this, of course, brings us to our next point…
3) Wool items are made of natural fibers, so they should be brought to a professional for cleaning.
Wool gets weakened in water. Unlike linen, which gains strength when it’s wet, wool fibers often shrink in water, and they become brittle and often break. This shrinking effect is what prompted the old joke, “Does a sheep shrink when it rains?”
To prevent wool items from shrinking, we recommend a gentle cleaning in a cold process – if the wool is laundered, it should be cleaned with lukewarm water and mild detergent, and it should NEVER be placed in a dryer. Contrarily, it can also be dry-cleaned to avoid submersion in water.
Mulberrys uses Cold-Clean technology to dry clean items in a very cold process using CO2, so if you have your wool items dry cleaned with us, rest assured they won’t be damaged with heat (and for the record – we always follow the procedures that are best for the care of each garment to help retain the item’s longevity!)
Stay warm out there, Twin Cities!
Love, Team Mulberrys