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How to remove any stain from your woolen handknits

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Are you a bit accident-prone? Maybe you walk into glass doors? Hit your head on the roof of your car just about every time you try to get out? Or you're someone who can literally fall without true cause? (I have a friend who can fall in any situation - it's actually impressive.)



If you're someone who is liable to spill frequently, you probably already have a go-to method for treating your clothes. A stain remover, maybe, and then pop in the wash. But what about your handknits? Especially the wool ones - you don't dare put those in the wash! There's still hope!


I've found the American Wool Association's guidelines for stain removal from wool. Many of these used a lot of harsh chemicals, so I've adjusted them to be eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly!), and added some of my own personal experiences as well. If you would like a .pdf copy of these instructions to hang in your utility or laundry room, click here and I'll email it to you. Ok, here we go:


Alcohol or Food: Place towel under area. Gently rub carbonated water toward center of the spot.

Blood: Pat with a damp sponge to remove excess. Then dab very gently with undiluted vinegar, followed by cold water or an ice cube.

Butter & Grease: Gently sponge with solution made of equal parts vinegar and water.

Chewing Gum: Scrape off excess gum then sponge with solution made of equal parts vinegar and water.

Chocolate: Sponge with soapy cold water.

Coffee & Tea: Sponge with natural glycerin. If none available, use cold water.

Egg: Scrape of excess then sponge with cold soapy water.

Grass: Soap very carefully using a mild bar soap or flakes, or dab gently with a cloth soaked in vodka.

Ink: Immerse in cold water.

Lipstick: Can often be removed by rubbing white bread over stain with a firm gentle motion. This is supposed to be a crust-removed slice, that you roll into a ball and effectively "blot". I've tried this, and I didn't find it to work at all, but there are many people who believe in the power of it, so I'm leaving it on the list anyway.

Make-up or Shoe Polish: Rub gently with a dishcloth soaked in solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Rinse with mild soapy water.

Motor Oil or Tar: Sponge with solution of equal parts vinegar and water.

Mud: Allow to dry and then brush off excess mud. Sponge from back with cold soapy water.

Red Wine: Immerse in cold water. Rub spot gently with an ice cube. I typically have found that you can rub with that ice cube consistently and physically watch the stain lift.


I hope that this will prove useful for you! Again, if you'd like a .pdf version just click here!

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