Check that wool can be washed and dried, some labels may specify dry cleaning. Measure a woolen blanket before washing. It should be blocked or stretched to original size after laundering.
Pre-treat spots and stains. If the binding is heavily soiled, brush it prior to laundering with a liquid detergent or a paste made of detergent granules or soap and water. Or use a pre-wash soil and stain remover. Wash only one large blanket at a time.
Fill the washer with warm or cold water depending on the degree of soil, and a cold water rinse. Add detergent or soap. Agitate briefly to dissolve the product completely. Stop the washer; add the blanket. Distribute it loosely and evenly around the agitator. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the amount of soil. Start the washer and advance the control until agitation stops and wash water has been pumped out of the tub. After about 1 minutes spin, slowly advance the timer to the deep rinse cycle. Allow washer to finish the wash cycle automatically.
Dry a woolen blanket on the high temperature setting. To absorb moisture and dry a blanket more quickly, place 3 or 4 dry towels in dryer. Preheat towels for 3 to 5 minutes. This helps absorb moisture, dry blankets rapidly and avoid pilling caused by long tumbling. Place the blanket in the dryer with the warm towels. Set dryer control for about 20 minutes. Check the blanket after 10 minutes. Remove wile still slightly damp to avoid shrinkage.
Place blanket on flat surface or over two lines to finish drying. Stretch it to its original shape. When the blanket is completely dry, brush gently to raise nap. Press binding with a cool iron, if needed.
Removing Mildew in Fabrics
Remove mildew spots as soon as you discover them. Do not give the mold growth a chance to weaken or rot the material. Brush off any surface growth outdoors to prevent scattering the mildew spores in the house. Sun and air fabrics thoroughly. If any mildew spots remain, treat washable articles as described below. Dry-clean non-washable articles.
Wash mildew-stained articles at once with detergent and water. Rinse well and dry in the sun. If any stain remains, use lemon juice and salt or another bleach. If you use a bleach, be sure to first test colored fabrics for colorfastness.
Lemon Juice and Salt
Moisten stain with a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Spread in the sun to bleach. Rinse thoroughly.
Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of sodium perborate or a powdered bleach containing sodium perborate or potassium monopersulfate with 1 pint of water. Use hot water if it is safe for the fabric; otherwise use lukewarm water. Sponge the stain or soak the stained area in the solution, or sprinkle the dry powder directly on the dampened stain. Let solution or powder remain on the stain 30 minutes or longer, then rinse thoroughly.
If mildew stains have been on the fabric for some time, it may be necessary to soak the fabric in the bleach solution overnight. Applying sodium perborate solution at or near the boiling point may remove stubborn stains. First be sure this treatment is safe for the fabric.
Mix 2 tablespoons of liquid chlorine bleach with 1 quart of warm water. Sponge the stain or soak the stained area in the solution from 5 to 15 minutes, then rinse. An additional soaking in weak vinegar (2 tablespoons to a cup of water) will stop further bleach action. Never use a chlorine bleach on silk, wool, or Spandex fabrics. Some fabrics with wash-and-wear or other special finishes may be damaged by chlorine bleaches. Articles with such finishes usually have a warning on the label attached to the garment when it is sold.
Anne Field, Extension Specialist, with credit to MSU Extension