Do you purchase handmade items, wear them every day you can and then get disappointed when they start to look worn? Yeh me too. If you're like my kids and I in the fall and winter, you probably wear your items daily.
While Merino wool is stronger than all fibres and you don't have to wash it as much, even merino can do with some love and care. And especially other fibres. Pilling (you now those super annoying little balls that appear on your stuff?) and wear is just a part of life.
I thought I'd share what I like to do with my handmade pieces to keep them looking fresh and new every season. Let's be honest, we may even wear them more after we're done caring for them.
I'll go over washing, depilling/fabric shaving, and faux fur pom care.
Here's a topic that can bring about a lot of confusion.
As a parent, laundry is my nemesis. I swear it grows within seconds and it takes me a WHOLE week just to catch up. So I for one totally get NOT wanting to hand wash. But let me be honest, if anything is worthy of hand washing, it's your handmade pieces.
Why you ask? Well machine washing & drying can cause unneeded wear and tear with all the extra agitation, causing things like pilling to happen way quicker. Not to mention velcro and buttons that can accidentally snag your beautiful pieces.
Now let me clarify, I don't mean hand washing with a washboard and soap. NO NO NO. We've come a long way since then.
Meet, NO-RINSE Soap. What? Yep, you read that right.
I personally love to use the brand EUCALAN. I'm excited to say I've brought in some sample sizes for my customers to have the chance to try.
Check them out HERE on my website.
This is a soap that's designed perfectly for your handmade items. For woolens in particular, no-rinse is an important concept. Wool fibre has barbs on it that have a tendency to link together when agitated or washed in the wrong temperature of water. This leads to "felting" and shrinking. Using a no-rinse product ensures that the water temperature is not being changed between the wash and rinse water. It also means that you are handling the fibres less and decreasing the danger of "felting" it. The lanolin in Eucalan is a natural conditioner for wool, so it helps to increase the loft of the fibre and decrease the itchiness of wool by relaxing the barbs.
I experienced this recently when washing some hats. They got SOOOOO soft. Here's a before and after photo to peak your interest.
And no I didn't edit it or take this photo in different lighting. I'll share my steps below so you can care for your items too.
How to Hand Wash using Eucalan No Rinse Soap:
- Fill basin or bucket with tepid water (room temperature water, not hot and not cold)
- Add Eucalan to basin.
- Insert article to be washed and soak for 15 min. (minimum).
- Squeeze article gently to incorporate water and soap through fibres.
- No need to rinse.
- Pull article out of water and gently squeeze out excess water. Do not twist or ring.
Lay knit articles flat on clean dry towel. Roll article in towel to remove excess moisture. Lay flat to dry on drying rack or clean dry towel.
Important: Dry all items out of direct heat and sunlight. Never hang, as they will stretch and cause it to be misshaped.
I'm so stoked to now have Eucalan samples in stock to offer you guys the option to add it to your orders for only $1.30 Canadian.
Eventually, I'd love to stock some of Eucalan’s wash! So let’s see how this goes 😊 I've loved using their wash and have been SO surprised how soft my items are using it. And I love the no-rinse. It's so simple.
Even high quality cashmere, merino wool etc. may pill. Pills are the little balls of fibre that start to gather on your sweater typically in areas where there is friction. These can be quickly removed. SAY WHAT? De-pilling can make something old look absolutely brand new.
After spending the time to wash your beautiful item, why not give it a once over and take off all the fuzz and pills.
I found this one, Beautural Fabric Shaver on Amazon.
I went for this because it has quite a large lint holder, and it can work with batteries or plug in. That sold me; I hate needing to try find batteries, but wanted the option in case I needed it to be portable. There are lots of options out there, but I've tested and tried this one and really love it.
Now with any fabric shaver, be careful. You don't want it to cut into your items or the beautiful stitches. With this one it comes with a spacer. I actually didn't use the spacer at all for the chunkier knit items like the hats featured above, but once I needed it for finer stitch items, it became imperative that I used the spacer. I accidentally cut one of my hats and had to remake the top section to fix the cut stitch. SIGH. Thankfully it was at the top of the hat so it was an easy fix. Always follow the instructions.
I worked in circular motions over the item and lay it on a flat surface when doing it. The results were incredible and really breathed new life into so many of my pieces that I wear regularly. My kids had lots of velcro items snag their hats, and this fixed that right up. Think NO MORE FUZZ. WOOOOOT.
See example's below of the difference it can make to your beautiful items.
FAUX FUR POM POMS
Now we all know that you can't put these in the washing machine right? And they definitely cannot be put in the dryer. Unless you want frizzled ends and a pretty sad looking pom.
The first set of 3 hats at the very top of this blog post, if you look at the before and after photos, the poms look very different. I did indeed wash them. I removed them from their hats, took off the button and soaked them in the Eucalan wash along with the hats.
I then squeezed them out and hung them up. They took under half the time to dry compared to the hats. Once dry, I got my paddle brush and went over them to get out all the knots. I didn't do it too much because I didn't want them super fuzzy, and it does depend on how long the pile is. These ones are long pile, so they were worth brushing.
You can totally see the difference and how it really makes them look new again.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or questions below, I'd love to hear from you. And maybe let me know what you'd like me to write about next.
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Lynnie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. The pom care is definitely huge. I haven’t had to do it often myself, but I definitely know I’ve had a few customers who’ve sadly fried their poms in the dryer. I make sure to put care instructions on my product swing tags, but I love that I could also just put it all here in this post :) I was so amazed at how new they looked again. So cool.
I loved the tip about the poms! I really need that fabric shaver!