No sweat! Dispelling The Myths About Cleaning Woolens
There are many myths created about cleaning garments and also some good advice too. I think I have tried or heard of every way possible to clean woolens and other sweaters. From using net bags in the washing machine to hand washing and drying on a bin liner for four days, and from silk wash programs to laying in a greenhouse after washing!
But there is more to perfectly preserving your pullover than cleaning alone.
Choosing the right program for your woolen… if it exists! Some people will use the wool program on their domestic washing machine at home and sometimes it works. There is also an expectation that when you wash an item, eventually it will lose color or shrink. Sometimes that’s fine for a standard pullover… but not necessarily for a high-end cashmere. Most programs will wash at a certain temperature, spin, and repeat. There is little consideration for the amount of detergent or water for that load, the optimal mechanical action, or how to get it dry afterward.
Dry cleaning machines do at least allow for the type of garment by having specific programs that admit for the correct flow during the cleaning process, the weight of the load and how to dry to correct level—setting a max temperature and having a built-in ‘dry control’ capability that will prevent the items being over-dried.
Also, when it comes to machine washing at home there are so many detergents and softeners that will promise cleaning capabilities, softness and smells of a summer meadow, but they themselves can have a negative impact on the garments. Many products will contain optical brightening agents (OBA), which can be great on keeping whites white but not good for colors, causing the color to fade. There are non-biological detergents, which are better than OBA products for specialist items. Liquids can be better, especially when soaking for long periods, although this will depend on the colorfastness of the garment.
But still, the user is left with the issue of drying and pressing. Using a domestic iron can get rid of creases but there is often too much heat and not enough steam. And how many times has the pattern of the ironing board appeared on the garment?! And of course, placing a hot iron onto a wool garment can cause ‘glazing’.
But the biggest difference is the GreenEarth difference. Dry cleaning has a bad reputation, but not all dry cleaning is the same. GreenEarth is not petrochemical-based. GreenEarth is made from liquified sand (siloxane). Liquid silicone degrades into sand (SiO2) and trace amounts of water and carbon dioxide if spilled or released to the environment. It is recognized as safe for air, soil, and water, not classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC) by the U.S. EPA.
Not only is it good for the planet but for clothes too! Liquid silicone is chemically inert, meaning it does not chemically react with textile fabric or dyes during the cleaning process. This minimizes abrasion to and/or swelling of fabric fibers, eliminates traditional issues with the removal of dyes and optical brighteners, helps maintain the soft hand of garments, and prevents shrinkage.
Therefore, a wider variety of clothes can be safely cleaned with GreenEarth. Woolens, delicate silks, suede and leather trims, beads, sequins, painted garments, specialty buttons and trims, couture garments, heirloom fabrics, and other “problem” items are no problem at all.
Our own experiences can be so valuable in terms of how we clean garments in the future, be they mistakes or trying great newly discovered ways. GreenEarth has 20 years of experience and also, its employees and 6,000+ Affiliates have seen pretty much every scenario, making our ‘cleaning family’ one of the most knowledgeable in the world of aftercare.
For the ultimate guide, GreenEarth has a technical handbook available that we helped create. To find out more, click here.