Friday 7 July 2023

Why Woolens should not be washed using ordinary soap or detergent

Wool is a unique natural fiber that requires special care when it comes to washing. Using ordinary soap or detergent can be detrimental to wool fibers and may result in damage or shrinking. Here's why wool should not be washed using ordinary soap:

pH Sensitivity: Wool fibers have a slightly acidic pH, typically ranging from 4.5 to 6.5. Ordinary soaps and detergents are often alkaline in nature, with a higher pH. Washing wool with alkaline products can disrupt the natural pH balance of the fibers, leading to damage, fiber weakening, and loss of elasticity.

Protein Structure: Wool is composed of protein fibers known as keratin. Alkaline substances, such as those found in regular soaps and detergents, can break down the protein structure of wool. This can result in the loss of wool's natural properties, including its softness, warmth, and resilience.

Felting and Shrinkage: Wool fibers have tiny scales on their surface that can interlock and cause felting when exposed to certain conditions, including agitation, heat, and alkaline substances. Ordinary soaps can agitate these scales and lead to the fibers binding together, causing shrinkage and irreversible damage to the fabric.

Harsh Chemicals: Ordinary soaps may contain harsh chemicals, optical brighteners, enzymes, or bleach that can be damaging to wool. These chemicals can strip the natural oils present in wool fibers, leaving them dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

Instead of using ordinary soap, it is recommended to follow these guidelines for washing wool:

Use Wool-Specific Detergent: Choose a detergent specifically formulated for washing wool. These detergents are typically pH-neutral or slightly acidic, designed to protect the integrity of wool fibers.

Gentle Hand Washing: Wool garments are best washed by hand to minimize agitation and prevent felting. Gently swirl the garment in lukewarm water with a small amount of wool detergent.

Avoid Hot Water: Wool is sensitive to temperature changes. Use lukewarm water rather than hot water, as extreme temperatures can cause wool to shrink.

Rinse Carefully: Thoroughly rinse the wool garment in clean water to remove any detergent residue. Avoid excessive wringing or twisting, as this can damage the fibers.

Dry Flat: After washing, reshape the wool garment and lay it flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid hanging wool garments, as this can stretch and distort their shape.

By following these guidelines and using appropriate wool-specific detergents, you can ensure that your wool garments retain their quality, softness, and longevity without experiencing damage from ordinary soaps or detergents.

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