Washing woollen garments will not kill moth larvae or moth eggs unless the garments are washed at a temperature of 60 degrees centigrade or above.  Only dry cleaning or placing woollen garments in a freezer for 72 hours or more will do it.

For more information and products to use when dealing with moths, please go to

Hand Washing Wool
Most woollen garments and blankets require hand washing, although be sure to check your permanent care label to see whether the item is ‘dry clean only’. Use a mild detergent or a specialist woollen laundry liquid. Agitate the detergent and ensure the item is thoroughly exposed to the solution through gently squeezing it through the washing stage. Loss of dyes at this stage may occur, especially in new garments, until the item has been washed a few times and the excess dye removed.

Do not be too rough in the wash to avoid distorting the shape of woollen clothes. Rinse several times in cool to lukewarm water to ensure the detergent is fully removed before the drying stage. To dry, it is recommended that woollen clothing is rolled in a towel and gently pressed to remove initial quantities of water before then laying flat and shaping on a clean towel to dry fully.

Woollen clothes should hold their shape well because of the natural elasticity in the fibres. Avoid direct heat and tumble dryers.

Machine Washing Wool
Only ever machine wash a woollen garment if it is explicitly allowed in the permanent care label of woollen clothes. Some woollen garments have fibres coated in a resin that prevents them becoming interwoven more tightly in the washing process (which would result in a loss of softness in the garment).

Always use a ‘delicates’ programme on your washing machine and a mild detergent. Try to avoid detergents that are described as biological or containing brightening agents. The wash temperature should be 30 or 40 degrees centigrade and the spin cycle should be kept slow and short in duration. For drying, follow the care advice for hand washing above.

Dry Cleaning Wool
Use a reputable dry cleaner that you have experience of or comes highly recommended. Many woollen garment care labels will specify ‘dry clean only’, in which case please do not attempt to hand or machine wash.

The dry cleaning solvents and process also eradicates any moth eggs or larvae that may be present on woollen clothing. Woollen blankets are always best dry cleaned – hand or machine washing can result in significant shrinkage and a loss of softness in the feel of the blanket. 

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