Could you wash wool without shrinking? Well it is a great question to know whether you can wash rather than dry clean wool. A few points to consider are
- Is it woven or knitted
- Whether it is blended
- Is the fabric bulky or thin and smooth
The above questions will provide a clear insight on whether wool should be washed or dry-cleaned. You need to be aware of the fact that wool shrinks more than fabric and you should the instructions on the clothes and follow them. Say in case you want to wash wool knit wear, then you should be aware that woolen sweaters are more likely to shrink than any woven woolen fabric. This is more so as the yarn is bulky and is prone to twists as well as turns.
Woven fabric could also shrink, but it will be not that commendable as a knit. Wool could also be treated during the finish stages to avoid shrinkage. If you want to wash woolen suits, then it is a strict no. The reason for it is that the suits have silver linings. This lining though might be washable would be difficult to iron if it is washed by hand. There is no way where one can get the iron nooks into a jacket lining and make it good looking. If one has a steamer they can do it, but both the fabric and the lining could be prone to shrinkage.
Is washing by hand an option?
Do you want to wash your woolen garments by hand? You need to check the fiber content and find out whether it has more than 50 % wool or animal content? If so there is still a chance of shrinking. Not as much as 100 % wool, but there is considerable risk of sorts.
Say if one is washing a winter acrylic woolen cap, and then chances are there that it is less likely to shrink. But consider the other side of the coin as well. If the wool content is low and the acrylic content high, one cannot wash the sweater in a hot wash. The reason is that with time acrylic losses its memory, when it is heated. A spring sweater would be looking sagging after a wash. Always try use a mild detergent which is suitable for wool.
To sum it up, lukewarm water should be used at all stages during washing clothes. It feels warm on your hands and you should squeeze as much water without wringing. It should be dried in direct sunlight. Various websites provide information on how to dry woolen clothes and it is suggested that you read them before you eventually wash clothes.