First Wool Shirt questions

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by jordanzwon1, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. jordanzwon1

    jordanzwon1 Husband, Father, Christ Follower Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    so got my first wool shirt. Got the Lester River Boreal. It was recommended that I get a large because it would be big enough to layer, but damn this is big. You want it big though right? Or should I be going to a smaller size.

    Second, is there a way to soften up the wool....it’s itchy. I realize there will be little to no times that I will be wearing it without a layer on underneath but just curious.

    Last, is dry cleaning the best way to clean this? And how do you prevent moths?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  2. pellegrino

    pellegrino Much to learn... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have heard that Woolite can help soften wool, though be advised that I have never tried this. I have just recently got some wool shirts, and have not yet tried washing them. Also, wool blends can be less itchy than 100% wool. I'm sure one of our more northern brethren may have more input on this.
     
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  3. jordanzwon1

    jordanzwon1 Husband, Father, Christ Follower Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What about moths? How do y’all store them?
     
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  4. Togus

    Togus Echo of the Loon Supporter

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    These Boreal shirts are made with blankets which aren’t intended to be washed or laundered frequently. I definitely wouldn’t dry clean it. If you must wash it, I’d use wool lite and hang dry. Treating it with lanolin can make it softer, but wool was never worn against bare skin. Especially wool used in making blankets. IMO I’d just wear a midlayer hoodie under it so the wool isn’t against your skin.
     
  5. pellegrino

    pellegrino Much to learn... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    How about regular wool shirts like a Pendleton or Woolrich? Gentle wash with Wool lite? Does a normal detergent degrade the wool?
     
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  6. Togus

    Togus Echo of the Loon Supporter

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    If it were my shirts I’d avoid laundering them unless I absolutely had to and use cold water with wool lite. I have a Woolrich wool shirt I’ve owned for 3-4 years that I’ve never washed. I almost never wash any of my wool. Woodsmoke, ashes, day to day wearing generally doesn’t soil wool like it does other materials. Barring dumping coffee on it, milk, blood, or other obviously offensive substances there should be little need to wash them. Remember wool is hair/fur, whatever you want to call it, animal based product and as such can degrade and breakdown. Repeateded washings and exposures to detergents, chemical cleaners, solvents, and the like will only accelerate that process.
     
  7. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    I would email LR and ask what they suggest. They'll have the best answer for you.
     
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  8. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

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    I doubt you’ll ever need to wash your Lester River Boreal Shirt unless you just feel you “have to”. Not many people spill motor oil on their wool clothing. Most dirt/dust/ash etc comes right off with a damp cloth. For information relative to washing instructions, if you just feel the need to do so, you should call Lester River to get the real skinny.

    Not required by any means but I hang my wool coats/jackets using an oversized Western Cedar coat hanger and refresh the hanger every fall by lightly sanding and applying actual cedar oil to the cedar wood hanger. For spring and summer storage just place the wool clothing in an air tight container with the cedar wood hanger or cedar blocks.

    Keeping your closet clean is probably the best method of keeping moth damage to an absolute minimum, which requires weekly cleaning by someone in the home. My folks had 2 fairly large Cedar Chests where wool clothing, silks and fancy table cloths were kept but you seldom see them anymore, as modern day house cleaning methods are far superior to the methods and time required 100 years ago.
     
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  9. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    You can buy plastic, zip up garment bags from almost any chain store.
     
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  10. WisconsinEric

    WisconsinEric Scout

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    I personally would never use woolite. I'm not telling other how to live, just stating how I do it. My LRB is 7yrs old this month. It has never needed to be washed, but I did wash it in a lanolin bath with Euclan wool wash a couple years ago to incorporate lanolin into it. I also brushed it inside and out per Red Ochre's method he has posted here on this forum. Follow that Man's advice when it comes to wool. Red Ochre knows what's up. My 7yr old LRB is currently in better than new condition, and it has been both abused and neglected.

    ps. Another poster above stated that US wool blankets are not intended to be washed. That could not be further from the truth. Again I do not wash mine, but the lable on the real US blankets says they are both machine washable and machine dryable. As far as I know Jason machine washes and dries his blankets several times to preshrink them before cutting them to make his Boreal Shirts.
     
  11. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    Most woolen garments will shrink a LOT if you wash them in hot or warm water. DON'T DO THIS!

    If you do have them shrink substantially, there is a product available on Amazon called "Unshrinkit". It runs around $10 per bottle but that's cheaper than replacing an expensive woolen garment.

    I wish this stuff had been available when I turned a hand knit turtleneck cable-knit sweater that my Grandmother knitted for me back in the 70s. I turned it from a beautiful sweater to a sweater sized for a GI Joe doll. All because of the dumb-ness of youth.

    Steve
     
  12. funkja

    funkja Scout

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    to soften, hand wash in cold water with woolite, rinse, and then back in a soaking bucket with a few tablespoons of plain old hair conditioner . soak for 30 mins and rinse.
     
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  13. AdamD1776

    AdamD1776 Scout

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    I buy the majority of my wool second hand, so I wash everything at least once when I buy it (you never know where stuff has been). I use a front load washer with cold water and whatever detergent I have on hand. Shrinkage has been minimal, if any, as long as I don't put it in the dryer. I will say that I have had some blankets shed (trust me, its no fun to have to clean a bunch of wet wool fibers out of the washing machine), while other garments were just fine, so YMMV.
     
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  14. kevinkinney

    kevinkinney Current on Tetanus. Supporter

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    Wash the shirt if you need too. Use mild soap and a gentle cycle in a front loading machine. You won't kill it. The blankets are pretty stable.

    However, dry it carefully. Heat won't hurt the wool, but you could affect the thread and the nylon reinforcements. They will shrink when overheated. Spin it about 1/2 way dry on low, then air dry it the rest of the way on a good hanger. Wool will take a 'set' when it's wet, so don't throw it over the top of a fence post.
     
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  15. rockett88s

    rockett88s Scout

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    I use a slightly different cleaning method than Kevin suggests, but Kevin is definitely a bona fide wool guru who has forgotten more about wool than most will ever know....
    I use cool water in a big Tupperware storage bin... just enough water to cover the garment.... a capful or two of Euclan and I let it soak a bit....then gently agitate it.... rinse with fresh water in the same bin.

    I dry it flat, between two towels.... I press the excess water out gently... sometimes with a rolling pin, then let it dry flat....

    I have twenty year old woolrich buffalo wool shirts that look like new....
     
  16. The Pan

    The Pan Ironwood Lover Supporter

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    and do not wring it out as you wood a washcloth or t-shirt.......

    ..to keep from shrinking you can also while laying flat block it out in the shape you want. (maybe)..:41:.
     
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  17. Gii shi kan dug

    Gii shi kan dug Supporter Supporter

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    It might sound weird but I throw all my woollens in the snow when it is deep fresh an cold. Rub and sometimes even walk on them. Shake them out and dry flat. I own sweaters, blankets, and plenty of other garments that have not been washed for years. I also always air them out for a good while after wearing them.
     
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  18. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    I don’t wash my wool shirts, pants, or sweaters often,,, didn’t often wash my Harris Tweed coats, or wool pants when I was teaching. Put in rotation, aired well between wearings, and washed or cleaned once every year is plenty. Unless you plan on getting them really muddy or sweating in them like the proverbial horse.

    Traditionally there were frames for drying wool clothing, to avoid shrinkage...

    DBF1D38A-8679-4427-A2D1-ED0F73420C1A.jpeg
     
  19. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    Those frames are awesome. They look fairly easy to make, too.

    Steve
     
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  20. Portage_Monster

    Portage_Monster Experiencing Wanderlust Supporter

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    I only wash my wool gear once or maybe twice a year at most. Wash em cold, go sparingly on detergent and hang em dry unless you want to shrink it. When I'm not using them I hang em to air out. Good wool gear should come close to outliving you if you don't treat it too rough.
     
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  21. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Scout

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    my wool clothes get spot washed with tepid water as needed. when they REALLY need a good cleaning especially a bigger garment like the OP has, i fill nup the bath tub with barely warm water and leave it for 20 minutes or so to go tepid. i leave the coat or whatever in the room so the temperature equalizes. i then place the coat in the tub, put a litttle woolite on any spots, and then a half a capful in the water. work the garment around some and pull the plug, let the coat drain a bit too. put it in a bin or tote or something, refill the tub and repeat with no woolite top rinse. a thick heavy trench coat of mine that a cat peed on a stunk like hell was fixed using this method.
     
  22. Ith

    Ith Tracker

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    If you think that wool is itchy you could wash it gently to improve somewhat or use around your neck a piece of cloth (like buff, handkerchief or bandana).


    I don't think that it is to avoid shrinkage. I think that it is the last step when you make a knitting wool sweater : "You put it in form". Knitting people have a technical word for this (bloquer la laine = block the wool ?). When you do this right after knitting, the sweater will keep is shape during its life.

    I have washed a lot of thing of wool (include Filson Mackinaw or old swedish uniform) in a FRONT (european) washing machine with wool program (cold temp less than 86°F/30°C) and something like woolite. No problem.

    Never, never use dryer or soap (wool will felt and shrink. Modern powder will destroy the wool fiber). The warm is not so much a problem with wet wool, the problem came from "warmth& cold" shock.

    Don't spin a lot (specially with knit items) sometehing like 600rpm 30s. Lay FLAT (especially knitted items) without direct sun (direct sun is no good for wet wool) but a warm day is better. And give (adjust) the right shape to your wet gear (stretch gently as you need).

    If you hang a wet knitting sweater it will not shrink, it will expand and it will loose is shape

    (sorry for my bad english)
     
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