How to wash woolen clothes
Washing wool isn’t more complicated than washing your hair. Because wool is hair too - sheep hair.
Everything our hair doesn’t like during a wash, neither does wool e.g. using too hot water or too cold water for rinsing, an aggressive shampoo or long rubbing and grating. If you treat natural wool just the way your treat your own hair, nothing can go wrong.
Do I have to wash a recently bought disana woolen article before using it for the first time?
No, you don’t need to wash your disana woolen article before using it for the first time. Since disana articles are almost free of chemicals and don’t contain any questionable substances that could harm your child, there’s no need to wash them first. Wear them and feel comfortable.
How often do I need to wash my woolen article?
The least possible. Wool and water just don’t get along with each other and therefore a wash should take place infrequently. Wool is self-cleaning. Wool fibres have an extraordinary surface that rejects dirt particles, as well as bad odors and sweat and stops them from entering the fibres. Airing is enough to remove the dirt particles from the surface and to make the woolen article hygienically clean. You might saw the same effect when wearing a woolen jumper or ski underwear. Those articles only need to be aired overnight and are just as new the next day. Does this sound to you like magic? Yes, it might be. It works for sure!
Can I wash my woolen article in my washing machine?
Yes, but at your own risk. If your woolen article shrinked by 2 sizes and became “bullet proof” we will refuse to offer any compensation. Meanwhile almost all modern washing machines have a wool programme. However washing machines are differently designed. Some washing machines are programmed to automatically spin up to 1200 rotations during the wool setting. That’s way too much for wool. Also the temperature often varies between +/- 10c. A 30c wash can quickly turn into a 40c wash. Wool won’t hold out against such temperatures. Therefore we advise to handle a machine wash with care.
But I’m able to wash other woolen articles in my washing machine without any damages!
Yes, that’s possible. Nowadays many woolen articles are equipped with a “washing machine protection”. A lot of aggressive chemicals are used. The wool fibres are surrounded with an artificial resin cover. The characteristics of wool get lost. The naturalness is taken.
How can I hand wash my woolen article in the best way?
Infrequently and with care!
It’s best to do the hand wash in your bathroom’s sink. It has the right volume and an ergonomic working height.
You also need a mild wool shampoo, a terry cloth and a small tub for the wet wool articles. Add lukewarm water into the sink. Lukewarm means about 25c.Use a baby thermometer in case you can’t estimate the right temperature.
Add wool shampoo according to the dispense instruction on the package. Now you can put the dirty woolen article into the water.
Heavy stains can be carefully treated with ox-gall soap before, which is well known as the natural stain remover. Slightly push the article carefully and repeat the process a few times.
Don’t wring or rub it, simply push it a few times, max. 1-2 minutes, that’s all.
Take the woolen article out of the washing water and rinse it carefully with fresh water at the same temperature (also 25c, in no case colder).
To remove the rinse water off the article, squeeze it with utmost care.
Place the woolen article in the prepared tub and go to the drying area. Woolen articles mustn’t dry in a hanging position.
In that case the shape is modified. Therefore drying in a laying position is much more suitable. A drying rack will be perfect.
Pull the wet article carefully in shape and place it on the terry cloth. Leave it there ready to dry.
Don’t dry your woolen article placed on a heating or in strong sunlight. This will harm the fibres. A shady, well ventilated place is perfect.
That’s all! Not much more work compared with a washing machine wash.
Which wool detergent am I allowed to use for my disana articles?
We highly recommend the disana wool shampoo. It is perfectly adjusted to the care of natural wool articles. It is free of skin-irritating fragrances and preservatives and has its pH level adapted to the slightly acid pH level of natural wool. Also a pH-neutral baby hair shampoo can be used as a wool detergent very well. Never use a conventional wool detergent from your local drugstore. Most of them are alkaline and don’t mix well with the slightly acid natural wool. Furthermore a lot of fragrances and preservatives irritate your child’s skin. Also many organic detergents are not suitable for a wool wash. A use most likely leads to matting. Better pick the baby hair shampoo.
What about this ox-gall soap?
Ox-gall soap is a natural stain remover. It is indeed produced from a cow’s gall. Only apply the ox-gall soap on the stains. Its power can also remove the article’s colour. Therefore we recommend to test the soap on a not noticeable spot before the stain removal. You can apply the ox-gall soap on the stain with your finger. The article has to be dry yet. Slightly rub the soap into the fibres and allow to take affect briefly. After that wash the article as described above. Ox-gall soap can burn the eyes and mucous membranes. They must be kept out of children’s reach.
Help! My husband/ my grandma washed the woolen article in the washing machine at 60c by mistake….
Now the woolen article shrinked by two sizes and is totally matted. What can I do? Unfortunately matting and shrinking is a chemical and physical process that can’t be undone. The woolen article is broken and can’t be rescued anymore. Your only option will be to buy a new one. Let the person pay who did the washing? Woolen articles with a minor shrinking can be pulled carefully into shape again, in a water bath at 25c. Take care not to damage the stitches. Afterwards dry the article on a hanger. This method also often helps to rescue a slightly shrinked woolen article.
What's pilling and how to prevent it?
You speak of pilling when small beads form on the surface of woolen articles. Pilling is a normal effect that natural wool articles show, sometimes more and sometimes less. Pilling is perfectly normal and can be recognized as a “proof” for a true natural woolen article.
How does pilling form?
If you have a close look at your woolen article you’ll see small fibre s standing out of the stitches. Those are the ends of the wool hair. Since we process our wool absolutely natural, we don’t use synthetic resins to cover the wool hair in plastic. We also don’t use formaldehyde to cut surplus ends. We leave everything the way Mother Nature intended it to be.
Those wool hair ends have something such as small barbs. If the woolen article is rubbing in one place e.g. against another garment, the fibre ends interlock and are pulled out of the yarn a little. This process repeats and repeats. Eventually the complete wool fabric is pulled out of the stitch and formed into a small bead with the fabric from the other garment. Yet you can see pilling.
How to prevent pilling?
As mentioned before pilling is a perfectly normal effect of natural wool. Pilling can’t be avoided completely. But there’s a way to reduce it:
A dry woolen article is more likely to pill than an article that is sufficiently supplied with moisture. Wool can dry out very quickly. Therefore we recommend to treat your wool articles with a moisturising “shower”. For example use a hanger and hang the wool article outside on a fogy day. Or hang it in the bathroom after a hot shower, when there’s still a lot of steam in the room. 1-2 hours should be enough. You can also use a flower spray filled with clean, lukewarm water and moisten the article carefully several times.
Pilling is forming after friction, either on the woolen garment itself or on other garments. If the other article has a structured surface, it’ll have the same effect as sandpaper and leads to pilling. Structured blankets or terry cloth sheets in your child’s bed are proper wool killers. Also really bad are rain and mud clothing with a slightly structured inner surface.
Can I remove pilling again?
Yes, with a little skill and a dry, simple wet-razor pilling can be removed very well.
Put the affected article on a table in front of you. Try to tension it a little e.g. clamp it against the table with your upper legs and on the other side lengthen it by pulling with your hand. Or ask your partner for help – this is less acrobatic. Use a dry, simple wet -razor and scrape carefully over the woolen article’s surface. Please mind the stitches, otherwise the article is broken. Process the surface bit by bit. Thereby the razor cuts the woolen beads. You’ll get the same effect with a pilling razor from the shop. However the wet-razors are much cheaper and easier to handle. After 10 minutes a woolen leggings or a jumper, etc. is free of pilling and looks brand new.
There’s another advantage about this procedure. Since you cut all surplus wool hair with the razor, pilling won’t appear in a long time. Often it is gone for years.
Please don’t use a so called sweater stone or pick them by hand. You remove the visible pilling beads however at the same time you pull new fibre ends out of the knitted material. After a short time the pilling continues.
Can I simply demand compensation from disana for an article with pilling?
No, because Mother Nature made pilling. There’s nothing we can do about it. But we’re happy to give you advice how to get rid of pilling. See above.
I have an article that is pilling heavily. Other articles of the same material don’t. How’s that possible?
Yes, we know this phenomenon too well from our everyday professional practice. To be honest, we don’t know why. It could be because of the moisture content of wool? Your woolen article is one of a few dozen or a few hundreds made of the same yarn. They’re all the same. But still some are pilling more and some less. If we’d only find out why…..
Does Lanoline help against pilling?
An article sufficiently supplied with lanoline is pilling less. However please don’t paste up the article with lanoline. Add a few drops of disana lanoline into 1 Liter lukewarm-water and use a flower spray to moisten it. This is enough.
Which dyes are used for disana articles?
Does disana only use natural colours for colouring their products?
Colours out of plants, minerals or other natural raw materials are colloquially called “natural dyes”. No, disana’s articles are coloured with synthetic reactive dyes. The colours we use come out of a chemistry box.
Synthetic reactive dyes. These are artificially made dyes which are good for colouring woolen articles. But they are also used for cotton and other fibers. Reactive dyeing is based on a 1950’s discovery. Somebody found out, that certain dyes bind to the fiber through covalent bond under alkaline dyeing conditions. That’s why they provide a washable colouring.
Okay but why not natural dyes?
Colouring natural fibers isn’t that easy. Natural dyes often have to be fixed additionally on the fiber. Wool has a very dirt-repellent surface and it doesn’t differentiate between dirt, sweat or dyes. Wool repels them all.
How good a dye lasts on a fiber or a piece of fabric is described with the so called “Authenticities”. A 1 as authenticity means that the dye lasts very badly on the fiber but a 5 means that the dye lasts very well on the fiber. Therefore one proofs different parameters for example if an article fades by sunlight or if the dye runs through washing. With kids clothes it is also very important to know if the articles are saliva resistant. We require a minimum 4.5 authenticity for all our products to make sure that nothing stains.
That is a big problem with using natural dyes. Especially the saliva authenticity is a critical factor. It doesn’t matter for a mother of the articles has been coloured with blackberry juice or not but if her baby gets a blue tongue after having had a sleeve in its mouth she will become very angry.
What’s the ecological fact about it?
At least it is sustainable when an article can be use for more than 2-3 years because its colours are still intensive as on the first day.
Reactive dyes are environmentally friendly in their use because 90% of the dye is absorbed by the fiber. Not many rests of the dye can be found in the sewage and the ones that are in can be filtered easily.
Reactive dyes are classified harmless according tot the eco-social GOTS and IVN BEST standards. Other dye groups cause a main part of environmental pollution and health hazards with their production.
Where and when are disana textiles coloured?
The dye houses of our yarn supplier are located in Central Europe. One part of our wool is coloured in Stadtallendorf in Nordhessen. The other part is coloured in Hardt, near Bregenz at the beautiful Lake Constance.
We fully count on European Standards and the knowledge of longtime partners with this chemical process.
The wool is coloured long before it becomes yarn with top dyeing. The advantage of top dyeing is that the colour can get deeply into the loose tops.
We at disana knit, cut and sew our articles out of the coloured yarn.
Some people colour wool with natural dyes!
Yes, that’s possible but not in industrial scale and not with all the beautiful colours that we offer. We use 100 tons of yarn every year and we can not imagine that there are so many dyeing plants to get dyes for this huge quantity.
How to use and treat disana's woolen overpants
Do I have to treat my woolen overpants with lanoline before the first use?
No, you don’t! The natural wool we use for our disana woolen overpants still contain enough natural lanoline. Each additional drop would be too much. If the woolen overpants are soaked up with lanoline the wool fibers will be completely coffered and won’t be able to absorb any moisture. Exactly the opposite of what the woolen overpants suppose to do.
Do I have to mat the woolen overpants before the first use?
No, you don’t. Indeed matted woolen overpants have a larger surface which is able to absorb more moisture but the daily use is automatically doing the job for you and makes them become more absorbent each time. Felting only shortens the durability of woolen overpants unnecessarily.
How do I wash the woolen overpants?
With the utmost care and infrequently – that’s the rule for all articles made of natural wool. You can read more about this topic by clicking on “Washing wool”.
What about the brown stains?
A diaper system can be applied perfectly fine and still something can leak through and dirtying the overpants. Then the article has to be washed. Persistent stains can be pretreated with ox-gall soap. It is the perfect natural stain remover for all woolen articles. Attention! Always store ox-gall soap out of children’s reach. We recommend to test it at a not noticeable spot before the first use to see if the article’s colour strips away.
The woolen overpant doesn’t keep dry. Why?
Mostly the nappy system is the reason for it. Nappy and inlays should absorb much moisture and pass it slowly to the woolen overpant. If the nappies and inlays are not absorbent, for example they haven’t been washed with 90°C for 2-3 times before the first use, the woolen overpant will not catch up the moisture.
Nappy and inlay must be “measured” correctly. A knitted nappy absorbs about 80ml moisture, a brushed cotton inlay about 40-60ml. That is 120-140ml in total. The absorption capacity is exhausted quickly with less nappy changing at night. Redundant moisture leaks and can’t be stopped by the woolen overpant. Better use a muslin nappy instead of a brushed cotton inlay, because it is more absorbent.
Too much lanoline avoids the moisture absorption. The wool fibre is totally wrapped by lanoline and so to speak “waterproofed”. It can not absorb moisture anymore. This can happen with a new woolen overpant that contains too much lanoline by nature. It can also happen after having used too much lanoline with the last washing. In this case, please wash the woolen overpant once again with disana’s wool shampoo and do not use any lanoline. Just let it dry. The shampoo removes the lanoline from the fibre and makes it absorbent again. There is still enough lanoline on the fibre to neutralize urine. Eventually the woolen overpant has to be washed several times to remove the lanoline from the fibre.
Woolen overpants that have been stored for a longer period absorb moisture badly. It sounds paradoxical but only a woolen overpant which is provided with enough moisture can absorb really much moisture. So in this case please wash the woolen overpant like recommended. The wool fibre absorbs enough moisture again with the washing.
What is the lanoline for?
Actually lanoline is a wax. It protects the wool from the sheep against environmental influences like dirt or moisture. Lanoline has nothing to do with the tightness of the woolen overpants, but it neutralizes dirt like urine. The main part of the wool’s self-cleaning comes from the lanoline. With drying in the air, the lanoline combines with the urine in the wool fibre. A chemical process of saponification occurs which neutralizes the urine and cleans up the woolen overpant hygienically after drying. Is it magic? Yes, a little bit. But completely natural.
How often should I use lanoline?
With normal using of the woolen overpant (3 pieces of one size in alternating use) every 8 to 14 days. Some of the lanoline is used every time due to the neutralization of urine with drying. Sometime nothing’s there anymore. Then you notice that the woolen overpant smells of urine and doesn’t absorb moisture anymore. It is about time to wash the woolen overpant like recommended and to “grease” it with a lanoline bath.
When do I need the next size of the woolen overpant?
The woolen overpant shouldn’t be too large to absorb enough moisture. A too small woolen overpant is not only inconvenient for your child but it can also deform your child’s hip which is still developing. Due to that, change the size of the woolen overpant in time. Always when it becomes heavy to pull the overpant over the nappy package, then it is about time for a new one.