Softening wool with hair conditioner

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Mike K., Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Mike K.

    Mike K. One Too Many

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    I just picked up a new Woolrich shirt for those occasional nights here in Florida when it actually gets a wee bit cold. Of course, being a wool shirt (washable), it is quite itchy. I recently heard that soaking wool apparel in a solution of hair conditioner will help soften the fibers. Has anyone tried this, and if so, what were your results? I suspect that if it works, it might be good for those wishing to soften hats too.
     
  2. Marty M.

    Marty M. Vendor

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    That's a first for me Mike. I think that a product like Woolite would help soften the fibers.
    Marty Mathis
     
  3. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I received a very scratchy, gorgeous sweater in high school, monogrammed no less. I tried washing it several times with some success, and then I left it soak in the washer for about a week with a LOT of Downy fabric softener which did seem to make it softer and less scratchy.

    I've never heard of your idea, but using hair conditioner is an idea makes sense to me...it's made to soften hair and wool is, for all intents and purposes, hair. I say give it a go - what have you got to lose?

    But as for a hat - I don't know...it might be hard to control the degree of softness. A too-soft hat could be a disaster...but a shirt that's too soft, too comfy and warm on a cool evening? I don't such a think exists. :)
     
  4. Miss Brill

    Miss Brill One Too Many

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    I've used hair conditioner because I ran out of fabric softener & ended up having to rewash the things again--because it left a white film. I've found the best way to soften clothes (even heavy denim) is to soak it for a night in fabric softener (and water).

    I HATE the smell of most fabric softeners though, so I buy the cheap stuff from the Dollar General Store. It is quite thin, but I use less wash water with it.
     
  5. J. M. Stovall

    J. M. Stovall Call Me a Cab

    Maybe you could fine the conditioner that advertises the least amount of residue. I'm sure in that regard they are all over the map.
     
  6. dandelion-vint

    dandelion-vint One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    NJ
    There is a wool soak/conditioner called Eucalon that you could try. Most yarn shops carry it and it's also sold for washing cloth diapers for babies.

    It's a soft cleanser that you leave in to condition and soften the wool. I've bought it online in the past.
     
  7. Mike K.

    Mike K. One Too Many

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    Location:
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    Well gang I found a number of internet references to using hair conditioner to soften wool and make it less itchy; however, I got lazy and decided to exchange the shirt for the cotton version. Life is so much simpler. :rolleyes:
     
  8. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family

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    Location:
    Camarillo, CA
    Hair Conditioner for wool

    I've never heard of using it to soften wool; however I have heard it can help a shrunken wool sweater return to the original size.
     
  9. BeBopBaby

    BeBopBaby One Too Many

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    A lot of knitters use hair conditioner to soften their wool knitting. I've never tried it, but I know many knitters who have and they say it works.
     
  10. contentmentfarm

    contentmentfarm New in Town

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Try Euclan. You can find it on eBay and Amazon. It's made for washing wool. You don't rinse it out and it should soften your shirt. I use it in the washing machine for all my cashmere and wool sweaters and they come out soft as a baby's behind! Love the stuff!
     
  11. Mike K.

    Mike K. One Too Many

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    Location:
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    Does it take care of the itchy scratchies?
     
  12. contentmentfarm

    contentmentfarm New in Town

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    Location:
    Boston Area
    Hi Mike,

    I wish I could give you a definitive yes on that question but I'm not sure as I don't buy sweaters that are itchy to begin with. It may be that nothing will eliminate it altogether. The fact that you don't rinse this out tells me that it should eliminate some of the scratchiness just by softening the fibers. Euclan is hypoallergenic so you shouldn't get any itchiness from what it leaves behind, which you could from other types of detergents as well as hair conditioners.
     

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