Old wool blankets

PatJune 22, 2012

I have 2 very old wool blankets that were my Mother's (I'm 71, so go figure) and I have kept them in a cedar chest for many years. I now want to use them or donate them. They have always been dry cleaned, I'm sure my Mother did not launder them. I do not want to dry clean them. I know I need an enzyme-free detergent, so my question is: what laundry detergent would you use to launder them. I'm thinking Vaska or All Free (or Tide Total Care if it does not have enzymes, can't remember). I do not want to use any fabric softener. What do you think?


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Definitely Vaska. I use it to wash all my wool and cashmere sweaters and it works great. Are you planning to machine wash them? Make sure to use a special wool cycle (delicate cycle is typically too vigorous for wool) and keep the temps consistent between wash and rinse. And dry them outside but not in direct sunlight.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:14PM
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izeve, sounds good. I have no wool cycle so will use delicate and definitely plan to dry outside in shade. Thank you much.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:40PM
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@patann - All Free can have enzymes; check the label and call the company. The All Free Small & Mighty does not, but I think the basic All Free might. When I called the company, they wanted the UPC/SKU number on the bottle so they could give me a correct answer.

Bio-Kleen makes a powder detergent, safe for 'he' washers, that has no enzymes. It is the one that is not 'premium'.
Bio-Kleen liquid has no enzymes.

Woolite Darks has no enzymes.

If you have (or can use someone's) an old-fashioned top-loader (water hog), you can use Orvus paste or even baby shampoo for the wool blankets. The pH of Orvus, a livestock shampoo and perfect for protein fibers like silk and wool (and no OBAs), will be better for wool than the alkaline base of most laundry detergents.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Wool needs very minimal agitation ... more soaking, less action ... but can be spun at higher speeds (maybe not maximum depending on how high the machine can go).

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I used regular shampoo in a front loader many times before... Some people also recommend vinegar in the rinse cycle.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Alex - yes, vinegar in the rinse makes the pH more acidic, which is good for protein fibers. Seems like regular shampoo would suds up too much for a front loader.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 2:42PM
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No, it works just fine - much like Perwool. One just has to figure out how much to use.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 10:03AM
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I use a product called Eucalan - fine fabric wash. I use this on my 60+ year old woolen blankets that I inherited and also all my fine wool, cotton and silk sweaters. You could find this at a quilting store, yarn store. Some fine lingerie stores also sell it for washing fine undergarmets. You wash but not rinse out Eucalan. It has a mild eucalyptus scent and repells moths as well. I can't say enough good things about this product. IT WORKS!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:23PM
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sailski, I have a question about Eucalan. I now want to wash my Dad's 1942 (sic) Navy blanket, which is really a very heavy, green wool Army blanket for some reason. Anyway, you say you wash but not rinse out Eucalan. How would one not rinse in an automatic top loader?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 7:28PM
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Let the washer go through the wash, drain and first spin. Before it fills to rinse stop it, take blanket out and dry as needed?.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 7:38PM
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How would one not rinse in an automatic top loader? By stopping the machine after, or shortly into, the first spin, before the rinse period begins.

If the machine of use runs a brief spray during the first spin, avoid it by manually stopping and resetting the timer into the final spin. Or if the final spin has the spray, then let it go on into the first spin and stop before the rinse as above.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 7:41PM
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