Storing your Winter Woollies

    09 Nov 2015

    When it’s time to swap your snuggly merinos and woolly jumpers for t-shirts and summer dresses, a little extra time invested will make sure they come out of storage looking as good as they did going in! Tiny little moth holes nibbled into the front of your favourite knit is enough to make anyone cross, so here are a few ways to keep the little beggars at bay over the summer months:

    Mend before you wash

    Fix any loose threads, breaks in the yarn or little holes. These defects will only get worse with washing so put in a stitch in time now!

    Wash before you store

    Moth larvae feed on unseen proteins like hair, skin and residual perspiration on clothes so make sure that you wash your woollies before you put them away for summer.

    • Pre-treat any stains by applying a gentle stain remover like Earthwise Fabric Stain Remover Spray on the reverse side of the stain. Handle carefully and avoid rubbing or squeezing the fabric to remove marks – this can cause pilling and could pull the garment out of shape.
    • Use a mild detergent like Earthwise Wool & Delicates Wash - wool fabric fibres are very delicate. Turn your woollen inside out and then carefully machine or handwash, following the label instructions. Cold water washing is always best with knits and woollens.
    • If you’re tempted to use your standard laundry liquid, be aware that while the formulation should be OK with wool/merino, it could contain high levels of carbonates instead of phosphates. This can result in calcium deposits, making fibres feel hard. (The Earthwise laundry liquid formulation contains citric acid which should reduce that problem.)

    Dry in shape

    Roll the woollen in a large absorbent towel to remove excess moisture without wringing it. If it’s knitted, lay it out on a flat surface indoors, away from direct sunlight or any heat source. It will dry over the next 24 to 48 hours. If it’s woven, you can hang it on a shaped coat hanger at room temperature.

    Reshaping

    If woollies have been incorrectly washed or stored, you can recover the shape of a knit by placing them inside out in warm water with a small amount of detergent. Leave to soak for 15 minutes then drain, gently pressing the water out of the garment. Arrange the knit flat on a towel and allow to air dry.

    Iron with care

    If your finer woven woollens need an iron, always use steam on a woollen setting. Place a dishcloth over the top and iron inside out while the garment is still slightly damp.

    Store airtight

    Make sure that jumpers are completely dry before storing them in air-tight or sealed containers. Mould can grow if woollies are put away damp and this provides a great environment for moth larvae to incubate. Protect from moth damage by storing with natural repellents like cedar balls or lavender oil sachets. The lavender oil component in fragranced laundry liquids is not enough on its own to deter our flying foes.

    If after all your efforts, those pesky moths still manage to sneak into your woollies, all is not lost. Fold them up and place them in a sealed bag in the freezer for two weeks. This will kill any larvae. When you remove them from the freezer, place garments in a warm place to encourage any live eggs to hatch - then pop them back in the freezer to kill the newly emerged larvae. (Thanks to thegoodwardrobe.com for this invaluable tip!)