Wool Stain Removal

Updated April 17, 2017

Even the most careful individual may have a mishap that leaves their clothing stained and unwearable. If this happens with your favourite wool sweater or other wool item, you may be able to remove the stain without taking it to a dry cleaner.

Choosing the Products

Many high-alkaline detergents and stain removers that remove stains from cotton or synthetic materials can harm the fibres in wool. So use a detergent or stain remover that has no alkaline. Before buying, check the label to make sure it is safe for wool. Test in an inconspicuous area of the wool first. Never use bleach or hot water on wool, as this can cause permanent damage to the fabric. Use lukewarm water only.

Treating a Fresh Stain

Treating a stain quickly will increase the likelihood of removing the stain. Immediately remove excess residue that has not yet penetrated the fabric by blotting the area gently with a white cloth. Never rub wool fabric; this can damage the surface. Apply water with a clean cloth and continue to blot the area, rinsing the cloth and repeating until the stain begins to lighten. If possible, place the fabric over a sink and pour water directly through the stained area.

Treating an Old or Severe Stain

If water doesn't remove the stain, cover the stain with a wool-safe stain remover, or a wool-safe liquid washing powder, such as Woolite. For extra stain-fighting power, a few drops of vinegar can be mixed with the detergent before applying. Allow the liquid to sit on the stain for at least half an hour. If the detergent is absorbed, apply more detergent. If the stain covers a large section of the garment, fill a sink with lukewarm water, add one ounce of detergent, and soak the garment for 30 minutes. Blot the stained area gently with a white cloth before rinsing thoroughly with clean water. Repeat if necessary. When finished, lay the wool piece flat to dry. Wait a minimum of one day before wearing the garment to avoid causing the wool to lose its shape.

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About the Author

Gail Logan is a magazine editor and freelance writer based in Atlanta, AL. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Patrick Henry College. For the past four years, she has written home design, travel and food features for national magazines, including "Coastal Living," "Texas Home and Living," "Log Home Design," and "Country's Best Log Homes." When not writing, she mentors inner-city children.