With the winter chill still around us, many of us will be wrapped up in our winter clothing to stay warm. When it comes to cleaning our winter garments it can sometimes feel a bit of a challenge to ensure they stay in the best condition possible to avoid fabric snagging or fibre balls appear during a wash. In this article we look at the best tips for looking after the winter favourites; wool, fleece, silk and cashmere.
Note: Whilst this advice is great for general fabrics, remember to check the label on your garments before washing to give the best care.
Understanding winter fabrics
In the colder weather, wool and fleece dominate our wardrobes; from hats and scarves, to coats and jumpers. Luckily, most appliances will have a dedicated ‘wool’ setting. This setting caters to the needs of these garments by treating the wool fibres gently to keep them staying soft. In most cases the cycle will operate slower than regular settings to reduce any excess friction. It will also operate at a lower temperature to prevent the wool from shrinking.
Similarly, silk and cashmere make a solid appearance in the colder months. These fabrics are more delicate and can be recognised as being sensitive materials. A gentle approach should be taken when cleaning these materials to prevent any damage. You may find a ‘delicate’ setting on your washing machine, perfect for these materials. It isn’t just washing to consider with looking after silk and cashmere in the colder months but also storing the garments. Ensure they are stored in a dray environment and sealed aware properly in a drawer or cupboard to keep away from damp and dust.
General tips for cold-weather garment care
As a rule, for these materials, it is better to wash in colder water to work with the delicate fibres. Cold water can help to minimise the risk of fibres shrinking, which is important when we rely on our clothing in winter to keep us warm as we want these to be comfortable when wearing.
When washing on these cycles it is best to opt for a detergent which works well in cold washes and avoid any harsh chemicals. We recommend choosing a wool or cashmere cleaning detergent. Not only do they wash in the colder temperature, but the nature of this detergent helps to soften the clothes whilst cleaning. These can be found from most supermarkets and there are many brands available, but it is best to check the label to ensure it is suitable for your items.
The best drying techniques in Winter
Once all is washed and cleaned, it is time to dry. This can also be a challenge in the colder months as the weather outside is not always appropriate to hang clothes to dry. One method is by using an airier to air dry the clothing. Lay the clothing on an air dryer to dry and flip the garments periodically to help to dry evenly.
Alternatively, we also recommend utilising a tumble dryer for your sensitive garments. Most tumble dryers will have settings for specific fabric types to ensure they are effectively dried whilst maintaining the garment’s integrity.
You could also consider using a dehumidifier as a method for drying clothes. Put the clothes on an airer and place a dehumidifier nearby. They remove moisture from the air by drawing air from the room and collecting condensation in the tank. This means you don’t need to worry about any harsh wear of the fabric as they turn in a machine.
It is important to use these specific cleaning methods on these fabrics to keep them in the best condition all winter. Alongside keeping your fabrics in top condition, we shouldn’t forget that some of the tips for delicate fabrics, such as washing on a colder temperature, can reduce the energy used on each cycle. This means it can help to lower your energy bill, making it a possible laundry routine to use all year round.
For more on laundry care, check out our articles below:
- How turning down to 30 degrees can save energy on your washing machine
- Reducing the cost of drying clothes
- Cost-Effective Tips for Washing Machines and Tumble Dryers
- The Hidden Costs of Phantom Loads
- Washing Machines: What is an Eco-Cycle?
- Washing Machines: Detergent Drawer Troubleshooting
- Condenser Tumble Dryers: Troubleshooting Tips
- Tumble Dryers: Condenser Drawers Explained
- Washing Machines: Why isn’t the door opening?