Wool is a popular fabric because it’s a natural insulator. It helps maintain the body’s warmth in winter and keeps it cool in summer. It also has excellent absorbency and good elasticity making it super comfortable to wear… but, it is prone to stretching and shining.
So to keep it in the best shape possible, there are a few ironing tips and tricks you can use. Much like any delicate fabric, you need to take precautions to maintain its original condition.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know, regardless if you’re ironing a wool suit, suit pants, a coat, sweater, jersey, jumper, or dress.
Can You Iron Wool?
Can I iron wool? Yes, you can iron wool. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric, then, set your steam iron to a cool temperature and press the item with your iron, then lift it up and place it down again. Avoid moving the iron back and forth as wool stretches easily and this could cause the item to lose its shape.
Simple! We have included a few easy steps below and covered ironing wool in more detail so you can avoid any accidental scorches. So, get your steam iron ready… and if you’re in need of a powerful steam iron that can tackle any and all fabrics, check out our list of top-performing steam irons.
What Temperature is the Wool Setting on an Iron?
When ironing wool, the temperature of your iron should be “cool” to “warm” ( 300°F / 148°C ). This is between a 1 and a 2 on most irons.
If your iron settings are unclear, always start with a low heat setting and check the results. You can adjust the heat slightly. The steam generated by your iron will have the most effective results when it comes to removing creases.
Note: If your iron only releases steam at higher heat settings, then turn up the heat so you get full steam. Don’t allow the soleplate to touch the garment directly. Let the steam relax the fibers by running the iron parallel to the item. Then flatten the fabric with your hand, being careful not to stretch or distort the garment’s natural shape.
How to Iron Wool
If you’re wondering how to iron a wool suit, wool pants or anything wool for that matter, all you need to do is have your steam iron ready and use the following few steps.
1. Read the Garments Care Instructions
For wool, the ironing instructions will generally recommend a low heat or the wool setting on your iron.
Some items, however, should not be ironed at all, in which case you’d need to use a professional laundry service or a garment steamer if you have obvious wrinkles or creases that need to be removed.
2. Iron Wool Slightly Damp
Before you start ironing, ensure the item is slightly damp or that your iron has water in the tank so you can use the mist spray or steam. If the wool item is dry, you will require more heat to remove wrinkles and this could result in compressing the fibers and leaving a shine.
3. Iron the Garment Inside Out
Because wool is prone to shine, it’s best to iron the items inside out to avoid marking the material. This way, even if it does get a bit too much heat, the marks will not be visible when you wear them.
4. Use a Pressing Cloth
A pressing cloth or ironing cloth as it is also known can be a cotton dishcloth or pillowcase. This acts as a barrier between the garment and the direct heat of the iron’s soleplate.
Any piece of clean cotton should do. Mesh-type pressing cloths can also be used and have the added benefit of letting you see through to the garment.
5. Place the Wool Garment On a Flat Surface
Because wool stretches easily, you’ll want to avoid ironing on an ironing board if it hangs over the sides. If you have a jersey, lay it flat on a mattress and smooth out as many of the creases as you can before steam ironing it.
6. Press Instead of Iron
Because of wool’s tendency to stretch when damp and warm, it is better to press down on creased areas with your iron. Repeatedly lift and replace the iron in a new spot applying steam as you go. Avoid large strokes and circular motions with the steam iron.
Controlled placement with the iron will prevent the garment from losing its shape and stretching out of proportion.
Note: Hang wool suits and suit pants, coats, and dresses after pressing to prevent creasing. Avoid hanging sweaters, jerseys or jumpers as they can stretch. Rather, fold them neatly and place them in a drawer.
How to Remove Iron Shine From Wool
There are 4 techniques you can use to remove shine marks from wool.
1. Steam the spot where the shine is. You can use your irons steam burst function. Be sure the soleplate does not touch the garment and risk damaging it further.
2. Apply vinegar to the shine mark with a clean cloth, then do the same with water. Alternate until the fibers are restored to their natural condition.
3. Soak the item in cold water. Leave it in the water overnight. This should be enough to relax the compressed wool fibers and they should bounce right back to normal.
4. Using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts detergent, wash the garment in your machine on a gentle wool cycle. Vinegar offers several benefits when used in the laundry cycle. It can be used to pretreat stains, it prevents colors from fading and softens the water.
For a more in-depth look into how to reverse shine marks, check out this article.
Is a Wool Pressing Mat Used to Iron Wool?
There is a bit of confusion regarding wool pressing mats. A wool pressing matt is designed for quilters and sewers, it is not a necessary item for ironing wool garments, although it wouldn’t hurt.
What is a wool pressing mat? It’s an ironing pad made of wool or felt and used for ironing or pressing quilting pieces. Because it retains heat, it has the effect of ironing the item from both sides. See our best wool pressing mat for quilting article.
Wool suits, slacks, jumpers, and jerseys should last as long as the other fabrics in your closet as long as they are cared for. Wool is expensive so it’s great to know that by using the above ironing tips, you can maintain that favorite item for years.