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You know we’re all about colsie self-care, and we’re all about wool care too! Here's our approachable guide to washing wool. It's easier than you think and can be done at home. Discover our best tips and tricks for keeping your blankets and scarves as beautiful as the day you bought them.
Caring For Wool:
Wool is naturally breathable which allows any moisture it may pick up to dissipate. Lucky for you, this means you can get away with washing it less than other fibres, and less washing prolongs the lifespan of the material and is better for the planet. So before you try washing, have a go at letting your blanket hang outside for a couple of hours on a dry day to refresh your wool.
If your wool is stained in one place, try spot treating with a bit of wool soap. Wet the spot, then gently work the soap in the stained area. Remove soap and dirt with a cloth that does not leave lint behind. Instead of sponges and paper towels, try soft towels or an old pillowcase. Be sure to remove all soap by dampening the cloth and repeating the process.
When wool fibres become loose, they form little balls or pills. Pilling is a direct result of friction (which naturally occurs with movement), so the more you use your wool, the more likely it is to pill. Good news is, pilling is easy to take care of with a depilling comb (also known as bobble remover). Just glide the comb in one direction over target areas to leave renewed yarns behind.
Most wool can’t be washed in a machine because heat causes shrinkage and spinning can cause loss of shape, but thanks to the 30% landfill-saved fibres in our Recycled Wool, the dense, twill weave stays tight and only gets softer with each wash. Make sure to separate darks and lights and add wool soap and fabric softener (optional) to the dispensing drawer rather than to the drum. Run the “wool wash” if your machine has one under 30ºC (or 80ºF for our friends across the pond). If not, run a 30ºC or less cycle with the lowest possible spin cycle. You want to avoid friction as much as possible. If there is a stain, let wool soap sit on the spot for 10 minutes before washing. We can’t guarantee every machine will be able to wash a blanket without problems, but when we tried it ourselves they turned out just lovely.
Hand washing wool is pretty straightforward, and for the most part, you just let water and soap do its thing. Fill your sink or bathtub with lukewarm water (30ºC or less) and add some wool soap, which is a gentle laundry detergent specially made for washing wool and delicates. Mix it in well before adding your wool to the water. Submerge your wool into the soapy water, then let it soak for at least 10 minutes. We also highly recommend using this 10 minutes for a nice cup of tea :)
Next, give your wool a gentle swirl and give any areas that need particular attention a gentle rub with your hands. Avoid rubbing the fabric together, like you might do when you hand wash other fabrics. Friction is the key thing to avoid with wool, as that is what causes shrinking and bobbling. Remove the wool and rinse twice with clean water.
The safest way to wash any wool textile is to have it dry cleaned.
Now, this is the bit where you need to take the most care. The last thing you want to do is stretch your wool by wringing it. Instead, press the water gently, and lay your wool flat to dry. To speed up the process, lay it on clean dry towels and roll your garment up like a swiss roll in order to squeeze out the excess water. Unroll your wool, reshape if needed, and lay flat to dry or hand on a line out of direct sunlight. Use clothespins or strong spring clips to allow the blanket's full length to hang from the line until it is completely dry. Try not to fold it over the line, as it may stretch. If you can't hang the blanket or lay it flat to dry, sread it across the backs of several garden chairs.
The best way to store your blanket is to fold it in a breathable container, like a cotton storage bag in a dark and dry place. Clean your blanket before you store it to prevent moths, which is especially important for cashmere. You can always pop some natural moth repellent into the container with your blanket and rest assured.
We have been working our hearts out behind the scenes on a new and exciting direction for this brand and community that we love so much, and now it’s finally time to invite you along on our journey and share our big plans with you!
2019 was a big year for The Tartan Blanket Co. family. We grew our team, created our first collaboration design, launched into Liberty of London and had an all around pinch-me year. Amidst all of the little victories, what we are most proud of is our decision to prioritise The Tartan Blanket Co’s positive impact on the people and the world around us. As well as a number of eco-friendly changes in our operations, we have built the foundations for launching TBCo’s biggest and most exciting project to date: 1% for the People + 1% for the Planet.
As The Tartan Blanket Co. has grown, so has our team, our customer base and our impact. This late night dream has grown into a real brand, with real soul and a real future. Seeing TBCo. flourish has filled us with awe and gratitude, but in order to take it to the next level, we knew we needed to take some time and space to really think about what kind of business we want to be for the next five, ten or fifty years.
So, after hundreds of lengthy discussions and thousands of cups of tea, we made some big plans and got to work putting them in place. Our goal has always been to be a business focused on sharing warmth, and embracing the multiple physical and emotional meanings of that phrase by really taking care of our customers and giving them a truly special experience. However, after having children and feeling the uncertainty of their future due to the precarious future of our amazing planet, we’ve realised that we want The Tartan Blanket Co. to be more than that, or rather that it must be more than that in order to take care of our customers in the long run! Taking care of the planet is intrinsic to taking care of our customers.
Having a family has broadened our perspective on the reality of how holistic running a business really is. Not only do we want to bring warmth and happiness to our immediate family and community, but also to the planet and those in need around the world. And we want it to be built into our supply chain, so that every single purchase supports this goal.
As a business, we want to do more than neutralise our environmental impact. We believe replacing negative with neutral simply isn't enough! We want to leave a positive handprint on our planet and a bit more love in our wake, no matter where we go. Because we believe true happiness is only found in warmth and kindness.
So what does it all mean? Well, in terms of practicalities it means that we have been on a journey exploring our supply chain through many trips to our partner mills in India and Inner Mongolia, reimagining our packaging (hello, biodegradable tape and bubble wrap!), investigating our environmental impact and asking what more we can do to be a truly positive impact company.
We have refined our supply chain down to two main partners with whom we have fostered genuinely caring relationships and who are equally committed to supporting our positive impact vision. We have spent time at their mills and with their families in India and Inner Mongolia, and they have brought their families to spend time with us here in Scotland. When we say we’re a family business, we really mean it! Together with our Indian mills, we have traced where our recycled wool comes from and ensured that our recycled blankets are made from 100% recycled articles of clothing, such as jumpers and socks, and that each article contains a minimum of 70% wool content. Our lambswool and cashmere is gathered from family farms using the traditional farming methods of Inner Mongolia.
On this note, we are often asked why, as a Scottish company, we do not partner solely with Scottish mills. In all honesty, as much as we love working with Scottish and UK mills, we have found the traceability of the wool to be challenging. Though many mills use the phrase “made in Scotland,” the wool often does not come from Scotland, as Scottish wool is generally not soft enough to be used in clothing due to its adaptation to a windy and rainy climate. Because of this, we have focused on producing our textiles where we feel is the best source of high quality, truly sustainable and non-harmful wool production, with people we know, trust and most importantly, care about. Keeping our production at the wool source not only helps with traceability, but also helps reduce our carbon footprint as the goods do not have far to travel from farm to mill. These mills are now a key part of our supply chain as we work together to ensure our products’ journey is treated with the same care and respect we have for each other.
We are still conscious that our goods do have quite far to travel to reach us, so we have made significant efforts to not use planes for air freight, and use slower, but significantly lower impact, sea freight travel. With new legislation coming in, sea shipping costs are going to increase, but be far more environmentally friendly. Quality solutions are often more costly, but this is something we are very happy to support. Another place we have chosen the more quality route is through taking time to update and re-design our customer facing packaging with the aim to be completely plastic free by the end of the year. We have been making roads in reducing our shipping packaging and only using recycled and recyclable plastic where there is not yet an alternative, while continuing to research alternative plastic free packaging with our suppliers.
The biggest company change we are making, which ties together all of these efforts, is our commitment to go above and beyond in our positive impact. To not just focus on doing no harm, but to do some real goodinstead. Starting this year, we are committed to donating 1% of all our revenue to the planet and 1% to the people. How does this work? Well, 1% of every purchase you make with TBCo. will go to helping protect the environment and offsetting more carbon than we are producing, and 1% will go to charities and community projects around the world to help those in need. This means that each time you choose to buy from TBCo, you are also choosing to give to others. We are excited to see and share with you the positive impacts your investments are having each year!
Through this project, we set in stone a longer term positive impact plan for the planet and those in need. It means that with every order, every new product, every hour spent growing the business we will be having a bigger, more positive impact on the world and using our business to be a force for good. As small-business owners, it’s important to us that wherever this business takes us, it will always have real meaning because it will always be bettering people’s lives and our planet. We look forward to sharing this journey with you, knowing you are not only getting beautiful products made and sent with warmth, but that you are sharing that warmth a little bit further!