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Wet Clean Wool – DIY Directions

Submitted by on Tuesday, 19 January 2010No Comment

sweatersIf you live in a large metropolitan area you likely are able to find greener “dry” cleaning establishments, those that don’t use perchlorethylene, a highly neurotoxic chemical and possible carcinogen that also damages the environment. Many greener “dry” cleaning establishments also offer “wet” washing of wool, silk, and other clothes that have labels that say “dry clean only.”

Those living in rural locations tend not to have such an environmentally safer option, and given that clothes dry cleaned with polyethylene don’t belong in a healthy home, alternative ways of cleaning wool are needed. Fortunately, wool clothing can easily be “wet” washed at home using the following guidelines:

Wool Washing Rule One: No agitation, wringing, twisting, or squeezing. Any agitation can cause shrinkage by causing the fibers to contract.

Wool Washing Rule Two: Wool is acidic so alkaline detergents and soaps will destroy the fibers. A neutral pH is 7, so avoid detergents (and soap) with a pH higher than an 8. Buy a green detergent especially designed to be be non-caustic and pH neutral, such as the Natural Choices brand of Allergy-Free laundry products, such as Natural Choices liquid laundry detergent. Another option would be Seventh Generation’s Delicate Care Laundry Detergent.

Wool Washing Rule Three: When washing wool the water temperature should be 100 F or cooler. This temperature is just a bit warmer than body temperature.

Ironing Rules: Use a medium-hot iron with steam, not dry heat. Wool recovers very quickly from wrinkling because the fibers are very resilient, so consider hanging the wrinkled wool clothing before ironing.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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