Washing your Woolies
Most people think that washing wool is extremely challenging, and in most cases this is the truth, but not Bumby. The wool that we use is special, it was designed especially for cloth diapers and contains lycra. The lycra allows the wool to felt or shrink only so much, then it is hard to make it continue to felt further. With mild temperature changes and gentle agitation your wool should not shrink, if you dump it in a vat of boiling water and beat it with a stick I am sure you could felt it if you tried.
But lets keep it simple, Bumby wool can go in the machine on gentle with cold water with most regular detergents, just avoid heat and the usual culprits like bleach. It is recommended that you use a gentle spin cycle as the high spin can cause wear on the seams. If you want to hand wash, you are more than welcome of course. Always wash alone or with like colours. Inside out is recommend and always lay flat to dry.
Hot or warm water, some water types, some soaps and some oils can be mean to the wool dyes. It is all about the chemistry, and not everyone gets along. Cold water is always best. The less additives the better, fragrance and essential oils are not recommended. Lots of people use regular laundry detergent or dishsoap to wash wool. Just because it says wool wash doesn’t mean it works. I have found personal success with Unicorn Wash.
Adding a splash of vinegar or a pinch of citric acid to the wash water can really help with the chemistry, wool likes an acidic environment
Always wash each item separately or like colours together in the machine
Colour Catchers from your local laundry department are handy
Dish soap works well to get out stains and dirt from your wool. It does wash out the lanolin though. Lanolin can be a dirt magnet so this can be a good thing. It just means that you need to add it later, but you can have control on how and where you apply it.
Some water types and soaps can cause wool dyes to break the bond with the fabric causing bleeding. We heat set everything and check it for bleeding before it gets shipped.
If the dye does bleed, follow these steps to re-set your dye:
This is for interlock wool from all brands. Thankfully Bumby doesn’t usually have bleeding issues as we have gotten it all down to a science, because it is.
Semi-stovetop Resetting Wool Dye
1 Put a large pot of water on to boil
2 Clean out the sink really well with warm soapy water
Do this step just before adding boiling water so the sink is still warm
3 Put dry or warmed wet wool into sink
Wool should be clean
To prep you may want to wash with dishsoap and spin out in the washing machine to remove excess dye and oils.
Pouring boiling water over cold wet wool can cause felting. The wool is best to be warm if wet, or dry
Wool should be inside out
5 Add about 2 tbs of citric acid or about ¼ cup of white vinegar
6 Add boiling water to the clean, warmed sink to cover wool and allow movement
7 Gently swish the wool in the water for about 1 minute, the water should start to fade in colour
8 Let sit for a couple minutes and swish again.
9 More acid can be added if the water is still coloured
10 Let sit in the water for at least 10 minutes, as the dye needs time in the heat to properly set
you may swish every so often to complete the process
11 Drain the water and let the wool cool
12 Rinse in cool water, I usually wash with dishsoap and rinse and spin in the washing machine to remove the acid
If the water was still coloured, you may repeat this process, but make sure the wool is a bit warm before adding the boiling water.
Some tips for multicoloured items such as Bolds, two toned wool or other brands
1 I recommend washing the wool in dishsoap then spinning out in the machine. This will get out the unset dyes from the wool rather than setting them somewhere you don’t want.
2 Do these ones right side out as the insides will run together as the transferring of colours might happen, however it is less likely if you machine spin first.
3 Add a drop of dishsoap the water, it will allow the water to penetrate into the wool faster and reduce the chance for problems
4 Do not let it sit, keep it moving slowly
5 Have a sink of hot clean water beside the dye setting sink. Hot tap water should be fine. If there is an excess of dye that comes out of one colour, take it out immediately and get it in the not acidic water to stop that from getting into the other colours. Rinse and drain and start over. If you machine wash first this is less likely
It is not recommended to use food prep utensils to dye wool, use your own discretion.