Take Care when Caring for Wool Sweaters

November 30, 2022

Wool sweaters are a staple in Boston. We wear them everywhere, in school, at work, at home, and on many occasions. We even love ugly Christmas sweaters. Wool is a popular sweater fabric because it is durable, comfortable, and an excellent insulator. Here are a few tips on how to care for your wool sweater.

Avoid washing wool sweaters as much as possible. A gentle brushing of wool sweaters with a soft garment brush after each wearing will help to remove surface soil. Let the sweater rest between wears for a day or so to give the wool fiber time to recover and get back to its original shape. Just hang it over the back of a chair to breath. Then carefully fold it and put it away in a drawer. Give it a little room so that it doesn’t get wrinkled. Do not put a wool knit sweater on a hanger because it would stretch the garment.

woman in wool sweater

Washing Wool Sweaters

Wool has natural anti-bacterial and odor-resistant properties which makes washing for the most part unnecessary. You can simply air it after each wear, as said above. If your wool sweater is damp, let it air dry at room temperature. Do not dry it near a heat source, as this will promote mildew.

If you do need to wash your sweater, say there is sweat or stain, make sure you follow the care label. If the care label suggests hand washing, use cool water with mild soap or bleach-free detergent. Soak up to five minutes and rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out excess water, but do not wring or twist the fabric. To dry, lay the sweater flat, away from sunlight or heat. If using a plastic sweater board as a drying surface, covering the board with a towel (under the sweater) will help prevent snagging. Do not tumble dry as it will cause severe shrinkage and dry out the fibers. Make sure the sweater is fully dry before storing it.

If the care label suggests machine washing, use the gentle cycle and wash separately with similar color wool garments. If your wool sweater has stains, whether it’s food stains, ink stains, paint stains, wine stains or sweat stains, bring it or any sweater with a dry-clean-only label, to Utopia Cleaners for stain removal.


Never put stained sweaters to storage, as the warmth and atmospheric exposure in the closet may set the stain. Wool sweaters should always be cleaned before storage to prevent the mildew and insect bites. When putting your wool sweaters away for summer storage, store them in natural material bags that breathe. Don’t use plastic bags as they may attract moisture, build up static or even discolor the garments. 

How to handle pilling in wool sweaters 

When wool is spun into a yarn, the fibers can be of different lengths. The shorter fibers tend to crawl out on the surface in those parts that are subject to friction during wearing.  These pills can be easily removed using a pilling comb. Alternatively, you can swipe a fabric shaver carefully over the wool fabric. Don’t rub too hard or it may damage the fabric and create more pills.  Dust rollers should not be used on wool garments because the sticky side can pull up the fibers and cause even more pilling. 

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and laundry services to the communities in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Wellesley, Belmont, Winchester, Arlington, Woburn, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea, Medford, Lexington and nearby areas. You can conveniently get your wool sweaters and garments cleaned by scheduling a free laundry drop off service with us. We also offer shirt laundryalterations, and wedding gown preservation services.