Our colder months are just around the corner, Tracey Topp, owner of online retail store Cosy Toes, which specializes in warm merino socks and clothing, thought it might be timely to share some of her top tips to keep your merino garments looking great and lasting well. Tracey knows wool well as her childhood was spent wearing, playing and working in wool while growing up on a North Canterbury sheep farm. She now runs a successful business from her home which all revolves around this beautiful home grown natural fibre. Tracey says, “Ideally, there is no reason why you can’t pass your garments down through your children or pass them on to others still looking like the day you bought them if a little bit of care is taken.”
It was once a standard dress code that every Mum dressed their child in home grown, hand knitted wool jerseys. Tracey can still remember the scratchiness around her neck from her jersey, if the neck band had been made too tight and high. Our wool clothing has thankfully progressed from those days and we are spoiled for choice as the finest merino wool garments are softer than they have ever been.
Some things haven’t changed though, since those chunky jersey days and a certain amount of care is still required to get the best out of your merino garments. Merino is the wool fibre of choice for manufacturing wool garments and is a surprisingly tough. By following these tips you will have garments that last and last and still look great.
1. Merino is “a mother’s best friend” and one of the great properties merino offers is it naturally repels dirt. Your garments don’t need washing every day. An airing out between wearing can be enough. So don’t wash for the sake of washing because you may not have too.
2. A good rule is to always follow the instructions on the garment’s label. Look out for instructions that tell you to dry clean only or hand wash only, for example. This might seem a really obvious tip but 2 out of 3 people don’t read the manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Merino garments should be ideally hand washed by turning the garment inside out first or you can use the hand wash or delicate function on your washing machine. Using a light weight, mesh garment bag is always a good idea to put your garments into if you decide to use the washing machine. This is a very important tip for the longevity of your garment.
4. If hand washing merino, do not allow the tap water to run directly on the wool, as this can damage the fibres. Fill the tub or the sink with warm water and then add the garment. Do this for rinsing too. Don’t use hot water just warm is the best. By washing this way it actually softens the fibres even more.
5. Always use a product especially designed for washing wool or a fabric softener is great.
6. NEVER use bleach or products containing bleach. Bleach will dis-colour your garments and will put holes in them. Bleach will totally destroy your garment.
7. Be careful to avoid using a detergent that contains enzymes. Wool is a protein fibre and protease enzymes may attack the wool fibres and damage the woollen fabric. Using a detergent like this could also destroy your garment by putting holes in it and also hardening the fabric.
8. Do not tumble dry garments. They will shrink and the fibres could mat up.
9. Do not dry garments in direct sunlight. You can lay them flat to dry in between two towels or place a towel over a heated towel rail and hang the garment over the towel to dry. By taking care with this tip your garment won’t go out of shape or fade.
10. And another great, “mother’s best friend” tip is merino does not require ironing as creases naturally drop out.