Nothing ruins the cozy warmth of wool like a whiff of body odor. Whether you've purchased a less-than-fresh vintage sweater or sweated in a new one, white vinegar will help remove armpit odor and leave the wool smelling fresh again. Because wool is prone to felting, the shrinking of the fibers from agitation and heat, machine washing can be dangerous. Dry cleaning, on the other hand, may not completely remove the smell. Hand washing is your best bet when dealing with stinky wool.
Things You'll Need
Wool wash or mild shampoo
Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Spray the armpits of the sweater, saturating them thoroughly. Lay the sweater on a sweater-drying rack or hang it on a fabric-covered hanger in a well-ventilated area for 30 minutes.
Run cool water into a clean sink. Fill the sink halfway and add 1 tablespoon of wool wash or mild, clear shampoo, such as baby shampoo.
Add the sweater to the sink and gently squeeze the suds through. If necessary, add an extra drop of soap to the armpits and work it through by squeezing. Do not rub the wool, as this can cause felting.
Allow the sweater to soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water and refill the sink with cool water to rinse. Swish the water with your hands to help get the suds out of the sweater. Lift the sweater from the water and gently squeeze out as much water as you can, being careful not to wring or twist the wool.
Lay the sweater on a clean bath towel and roll the towel from one end, pressing as you go. The towel will absorb most of the water.
Dry the sweater flat on a sweater-drying rack or a dry towel. If possible, allow it to dry outdoors in the sun for a few hours, as this can help remove any remaining odors. If you can't dry it outdoors, speed the drying time by setting up the sweater rack in front of an open window or a fan.
Do not use regular laundry detergent on wool garments, as it is too harsh.