Washing a Mohair Throw

chisue

While I was in the attic today, I rediscovered a pretty mohair throw that DH and I brought home from the fair in Montreal as a gift for his mother. It looks like it had been poorly laundered -- not as 'lofty' as I remembered. Is there a way to restore it? Maybe wash it in cold water and stretch it? The label says "Montrose from Scotland" and what looks like "70% Mohair and 30% Wool" -- I can't quite make out the percentages.

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maifleur01

First you need to understand that Mohair is wool. Not certain what lofty is so need a better description. If by lofty the individual threads are not a puffy as you remember them being it is unlikely that anything can bring it back to looking new as the fibers gave the puffy look have probably been worn off.

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DawnInCal

I'd probably take it to a dry cleaner and ask them if it can be restored to it's former state. You could also consult someone who is knowledgeable in textiles, particularly wool.

Whether or not the throw is worth the time and expense to do those kinds of things is another thing to consider. It may have sentimental value to you that exceeds it's actual monetary value. Sometimes we do things that others don't get because it's important to us.

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georgysmom2

You might take it to a yarn shop. They may have some advice for you.

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patriciae_gw

Mohair is in fact goat hair and not wool but that is not particularly important. They both wash the same. WARM WATER !!!!!!!!!!!!. Fill a basin or sink with warm water with some sort of mild detergent-any old laundry or dish soap. drop in your throw and gently squish it around. If you have an old fashioned washing machine toss your soggy throw in and spin out the soapy water and then take out and squish around in warm clean water-spin out-repeat. Your now fluffed out throw can be dried by hanging it up.. Critical is to not shock by rapid temperature changes-don't toss a warm mohair throw on a cold surface. Cold is NOT the appropriate temperature to wash such things. If you don't have a washer that can be set to spin and never ever agitate then squeeze it out, rinse twice squeezing in between and roll in a towel to soak out the extra water. It wont be as fluffy but shaking it out while damp will restore fluff. I have fifty years of experience with wool, mohair and silk and other fibers.

Dry cleaning is not your best option. It really isn't hard. No agitation, no extreme temperature changes, don't use a lot of soap. Mohair does felt more easily than wool but healthy mohair is easily washed.

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chisue

I didn't describe this very well. I suspect the throw was washed in too warm water or dried with heat, causing the wool to shrink. It's still soft, just smaller and more dense -- not 'ruined'. I'd hoped there was a way to reverse the matting. (Yes, I *doubt* it, given the wool content, but maybe?)

It's a pretty muted plaid, with light blue, green, red, black, and even yellow. I bought this one and a bolder red plaid for my Scots grandmother. I think they were about $30 each back in 1967. Both older ladies loved these for the lightness and warmth. Now *I* am the older lady!

patriciae -- I have a front load washer with 'Delicate' and 'Handwash' cycles. Both cycles wet, then minimally 'toss' the item for a short time, then spin, rinsing three times. You think 'Warm' is better than 'Cold'? My dryer has 'Air Dry', but you think I should drape this over a line? And pull/stretch?

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Lars

I would not put it in the dryer, even on "Air Dry", as the dryer is generally where damage is done. Don't hang it on a line, as that will make a crease - instead you could drape it over a dowel to dry and maybe put a towel under it.

I don't think you can stretch it after it has been shrunk.

I have more experience with silk and linen than I do with wool or mohair.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

Wool is any material spun from animal hair - sheep, goats, rabbits, Highland cattle, various camelids, like llamas and alpacas and vicunas. Even dogs and cats!!

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Anglophilia

Mohair doesn't clean well, regardless of method used - hand washing or dry cleaning. It will never again be as "fluffy" as it first was. If mine get a lot of dog hair/dust on them, I put them in the clothes dryer on AIR ONLY - NO HEAT for about 15 minutes, with a few tennis balls. Gets out the dust and some of the dog hair and fluffs it up some. At some point, one simply replaces them.

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chisue

Thank you all. I guess this is as good as it will get, which is going to have to do!

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

Saw some lovely mohair throws at Maison Du Midi, sadly only 50 percent mohair, the rest regular wool. https://www.maison-midi.com/collections/mohair-throw-blankets

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patriciae_gw

Warm is a yes. Front loading washer is a no. Because this throw has already partially felted it will continue to felt with any agitation or contrast of temperatures when it is wet. A delicate cycle would work on a hard spun closely woven wool but not the fluffly spun open mohair. Mohair moves a lot and when spun has no fluff. The fluff is from the ends creeping out of the spun fiber. Rabbit hair (angora rabbit) does the same thing. An old top loader that you can set to spin is what gets the water out and fluffs the fibers. It is my favorite way to wash fleece.

Felting is the result of the fibers moving and entangling closely eliminating the air spaces around the fibers and an intermeshing of the scales on the shaft of the hair.

So you can put this throw in warm sudsy water and with someone's help stretch and pull it to open it up, it may help but probably not. I was once fulling a hand spun mohair throw I spun and wove and I over processed it-eek. I was able to get it to reshape to some degree but it will never be what it was supposed to be.

Interesting thing about wool, Cold is way more of an issue. You can bring it up to boiling and as long as you don't agitate it or dump it in colder water it wont be hurt. Really.

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chisue

Zalco -- Gosh, $350! I can learn to love my poor, shrunken, partially felted *antique*!

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patriciae_gw

Oh, this is funny, I opened my computer this morning and it was still on your OP and I realized you said it came from Montrose Scotland. I think I have been there to the place it came from. I was Traveling in Scotland many years ago and went to a weaving factory, they made Mohair throws among other things and they had this big machine that brushed the throws to pull out the ends after they were woven. All sorts of fluff was pulled out and I still have some of it as they sold bags of it to people. I looked up the location of the town and it looks right. Wouldn't that be a hoot.

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