Sweaters from angora fibers are very warm and perfect for the autumn and winter months. The fiber is actually harvested from the Angora rabbit, which is considered a painless process for the animal. The rabbits molt, or shed, their fur every three or four months, or the hair is cut with shears. Angora sweaters require special care when laundering because they will shrink and fade. Proper care will ensure your sweater lasts for years.
Dry cleaning is usually the recommended way to clean angora sweaters, but check your label. If it states the sweater can be hand washed, take extra care and use a large mesh bag to wash the sweater. These have a zipper enclosure and the mesh allows the water and detergent to flow through the garment. Turn the sweater wrong side out and place in the mesh bag. If you have a collection of light and dark angora sweaters use a separate, mesh bag for them and wash separately. This will prevent colors fading or mixing onto your other sweaters.
In another options, fill a basin with lukewarm or cool water. Do not use cold or hot water. Room temperature is desirable, so you cannot detect any heat or cold. According to experts at the Angora Yarns company, add a mild detergent (Woolite, Eucalan, Dreft), or a mild shampoo such as baby shampoo, or any that is PH balanced or acidic. Angora is a protein fiber and mild shampoos are perfect for it. You can add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the wash water to prevent color fading.
Let the sweater soak for about 20 minutes, turning the mesh bag a few times while soaking. Drain the sink, and again use only lukewarm or slightly cool water. Fill the sink to rinse, repeat this action until the water is clear. You can also use a small amount of a mild hair conditioner in the rinse water to soften and relax the fibers.
Never dry your angora item in a dryer or sunlight. This will cause shrinkage and fading. Let it drain in the sink for about half an hour and then roll the sweater into a dry towel and press gently on the roll to absorb the water. Dry your sweater naturally by laying it on a clean towel to air dry or putting it on top of a clothes-drying rack for ventilation.
Only wash your sweater when it is soiled. Repeated washings will cause the fibers to mat up or release from the garment. To store your sweater, make sure it is dry and fold it. The best place is a ventilated shelf in your closet. Use cedar or mothballs with a cedar scent to store the sweater in the warm months to prevent moth damage.
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