Wool is fantastic fabric with wonderful benefits that other fabrics may not match. However, the downside is that wool can be scratchy and irritates the skin. While many scientists claim that the prickly nature of wool is therapeutic, the scratchy wool’s discomfort is something you don’t want to experience. So many people have been trying different ways to try and soften the itchy wool.
Why is Wool Itchy?
Wool, mammalian, and human hairs have something in common—they are scratchy and irritate the skin. Wool, like hair, has a lot of bounce and doesn't flatten or bend when worn. It tends to split, forming split ends that can irritate the skin. You don't want to experience that, especially when trying to relax and keep warm during winter. Good news is that there are some ways to make wool softer.
8 Ways to Make Wool Less Itchy
Here are different tips on how to make wool less itchy:
- Wash using a special detergent
- Use Shampoo and Hair conditioner
- Steam the wool item
- Use mustard powder
- Vinegar and Salt solution
- Use Baking soda with ammonia
- Use Glycerin
- Freeze the Wool
You can check all these options below. You’ll find a detailed explanation of each.
1. Wash using a special detergent
Washing your wool item using a special detergent is one of the tips for making wool less itchy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Soak, wash and block the wool.
- Fill a container with tepid water.
- Add a small amount of special detergent: While purists are against soaking the wool in a special detergent because it might dull and fade, using small amounts will cause no harm. Also, wool garments are not the kind of fabrics you're going to wash often. So as long as you use a little special detergent to wash the wool, it will not fade.
- Swish the wool item gently and let it soak: Some people prefer letting their wool soak for a couple of hours for desired results. However, you should be careful not to overdo it! Soaking the wool for an extended period may cause it to relax, making your garment stretch when you lift it out of the water. So don’t oversoak your wool item.
- Use tepid water to rinse out all the special detergent and washing water.
- Roll the wool item in a big fluffy towel and press the extra water.
- Lay it to dry on another big towel.
2. Use Shampoo and Hair Conditioner
Learning how to make wool less itchy is a must if you want to make your clothes soft and comfortable to the skin. Therefore, you don't need special wool products such as the wool conditioner to soften your clothes. The shampoo or hair conditioner you use to wash your hair is an excellent solution to your “biting” garment. They are more effective when used together. However, you should ensure you use shampoo or hair conditioner for dry hair and split ends. Also, shampoo for softening long-haired animals has an excellent effect on wool.
Shampoo and hair conditioner can still work as laundry detergents, as they soften the wool and add a good scent to your clothes. Your clothes will feel comfortable on your skin and smell nice.
Wash the wool item in cold water using shampoo to make it less itchy. Press a little to remove excess water, and apply the hair conditioner uniformly on both sides. Leave it on for 5 minutes, rinse out the conditioner and let the wool item dry.
3. Steam the Wool Item
Another way to make a wool sweater less itchy is by steaming it. For this procedure, you need an iron or garment steamer, a large piece of cloth bigger than the garment, and citric acid. The acid will soften the fabric, while steam will enhance the softening effect of lemon.
Follow the steps below:
- Place the item on the ironing board.
- Set the iron at a high temperature or the “wool” mode.
- Prepare a citric solution (1 pinch per 1 liter of water).
- Place the wool item in the solution.
- Put the wet cloth on the wool item.
Once you're done, you can start the steaming process by carefully pressing the iron on the wool surface. Iron the wool item gently and lightly to avoid causing the wool item to stretch. Once you’re done steaming one side, moisten the cloth and begin the process on the other side of the wool item.
4. Use Mustard Powder
This method of making wool less itchy has been used for many years, before the invention of special detergents. Mustard powder helps soften the wool fibers, making the wool clothes comfortable and soft to the skin.
The process of softening wool sweaters using mustard powder is easy. You first need to put two tablespoons of mustard powder in a basin of warm water. Then immerse the wool item in the solution of warm water and mustard powder. Please leave it in the solution for an hour and rinse thoroughly. Pour out the mustard water and rinse the clothes. Squeeze gently and let it dry.
5. Use vinegar and salt solution
Vinegar is one of the most effective methods of making wool less itchy. It makes the fabric soft and comfortable for the skin. First, you must prepare a vinegar solution by mixing the main ingredient with salt in equal proportions. One teaspoon of vinegar and salt requires 5 liters of cold water to make a perfect vinegar solution.
You should rinse and let the itchy sweater soak in the vinegar solution for 30 minutes. It’s necessary to rinse the clothes thoroughly because the vinegar has a strong smell. Wash the wool item using running water and hang the item to dry.
6. Use Baking Soda with Ammonia
If you're looking for how to make a sweater less itchy, baking soda with ammonia can come in handy. You will need 10 liters of water, one teaspoon soda, and five drops of ammonia. Mix the contents thoroughly to create an effective solution for wool softening.
You should put the itchy blanket in the solution and leave it to soak for about 30-40 minutes. Then remove the item from the solution and rinse it using cold water.
7. Use Glycerin
Glycerin has the same wool softening effect as vinegar solution. The only difference is that glycerin doesn’t have a strong smell like vinegar. It would help if you used a proportion of 1 teaspoon per 1 liter.
8. Freeze the wool piece
Exposing the wool item to cold temperatures is one of the best ways of softening an itchy fabric. The cold temperatures cause the split ends on the wool item to fall away, leaving it soft and comfortable to the skin.
Using this method would help if you had a freezer and a plastic bag. Then put the wool items in the plastic bag and place it in a freezer for a day. Remove the items from the freezer, let them unfreeze, and rinse them in cold water.
What type of wool is the least itchy?
While there are many types of scratchy wools out there, you can still find wools comfortable and soft to the skin such as merino and alpaca wool yarns.
We talked about eight most common types of making the wool less itchy. You can choose one of it or several and use it every time when you’ll find out you have an itchy wool garment. Itchy wool is not a problem anymore!