When winter rears its frozen head, you’d better be well-prepped with some warm layers. For that, a good wool sweater needs to be a part of your defense.
Types of Wool
There’s a handful of different types of wools on the market, each one with its own characteristics. Some are itchy (mohair). Others are hypoallergenic (lambswool). Most wools come from sheep, but others come from goats or even muskoxen. Cashmere is, or was, the king of wool for its incredulous softness and warmth, once requiring a weighty credit card if you wanted a cashmere jumper of your very own. Today you can find cashmere sweaters well-under $100 easily, but merino wool remains the most common.
- Merino Wool
- Shetland Wool
- Camel Hair
If you want to learn more about each one, read our dedicated guide to all 10 types of wool.
How to Wash a Wool Sweater
Most wool sweaters should be washed by hand. Some, however, can be washed in a machine — on the “wool,” “delicates” or “cold/cold” setting. If you opt to wash yours by hand, first fill a tub up with cold water. Next, submerge your sweater. Add a wool-safe laundry detergent. You won’t need as much as a full load, though, so be conservative.
Next, swish the garment up, down and around, creating suds as you go. Pretend your hands are the washing machine. There’s no official way of doing this, so get creative. Next, dump out the soapy water. Refill the tub with more cold water. Rinse your sweater clean.
If the tag says it can be machine dried, do it. If not, let it lay flat for a few hours, if not a whole day. Don’t hang it dry as it’ll become misshapen.
If you want more detailed instructions, read our guide to hand washing your clothes.
How to Store a Wool Sweater
When you aren’t wearing it, which is probably the spring and summer, it’s best to fold your sweater and place it in a moth-free bag. It doesn’t have to be one you can compress, but it shouldn’t be too bulky either. This is the best way to protect your beloved knit from nosy bugs.
The Best Wool Sweaters for Men
Whether it’s a wintry gift for a loved one or yourself (hopefully you count yourself as a loved one, too), the bales of wool to comb through is, as far as we can tell, endless. But along the woolen way, our search has led us to some fine and superfine wool options you can and should consider.