How to wash a llama sweater
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get wool cleaned? How to remove the smell of llama from a sweater? The other webbies have done the funny remarks bit. Now for the washing advice:
You need three or four of those big beach towels like the surfer chicks have, down under. You know. Little, normal bath towels won't do for a sweater that size. When it's rinsed, it'll weigh a ton, right?
If you have bought new towels, wash and dry them first. The sizing in them is not good for wool.
Then you go to the chemist, pharmacy, drug store or whatever it's called, and buy some glycerine soap. If they don't have it, ask the pharmacist/chemist/whatever for "something like" glycerine soap. In sweden, it's a liquid called "green soap" (in Swedish, of course.) This should be a semi-liquid or sirupy or jelly-like clear goo. Yecchy.
Fill your tub halfway with body heat water. You don't have a *TUB*? Go visit that neat guy who'se been hitting on you. You can use his muscle and you'll get rid of him forever, after this. Make him do the hard work. If you do it, you'll be a pushover before you're done. Maybe a fallover.
Whisk a cupful of the goo into a bowl of water, then into the tub. Lower the sweater into the water. Open the windows. Phew. A sweater that size, you can walk on, carefully, in the tub. After 15-20 minutes, or if the stench makes you dizzy, let the water out (keep walkin'), put the plug in, fill the tub half, and repeat this paragraph three times.
Now the sweater is clean, but you're not done. Ya gotta rinse it too. Repeat the previous paragraph, without the soap, until the water is really clear, almost drinkable (bvladr!) and you may notice the smell is not so bad anymore, just wet wooly.
Now comes the hard part. Hehheh. don't lift the sweater up in the air, the weight of the water will pull it out of shape, permanently. First, you spread a towell on the floor. Then *push* the sweater slowly up the sloping end of the tub, pressing the water out with your palms while rolling it up from the bottom.
Put the sweater on the towel, unroll the sweater, then roll it up in the towel. Walk on it. Unroll the towel. Roll out a fresh towel. Roll up the sweater. Repeat this paragraph until three or four times.
The sweater should be really beautiful and almost smell good. Still damp though, so spread a towel on a kitchen table, spread the sweater on it, and let it dry. Don't use newspapers, the print comes off. Don't use your polished walnut antique table. I've done that. You don't want to know.
The glycerine soap doesn't take all of the natural oils out of the wool, just the dirt and smelly stuff.
If you take it to a dry cleaner, it'll get clean, but the wiool will crack, 'cause the oil goes too. The sweater will be ruined.
The next time you wash it, you will only need to use one cycle with soap. Rinsing doesn't get easier, but it's worth it.
I had two of those sweaters from Ecuador, 'till my mom put 'em in the laundry machine. "Just trying to help, Gordie." Ungh.
The above method is also good for Icelandic, Faroic and Norwegian sweaters. You can even wash an Alpaca coat that way. Pressing it is a real bitch, though. They used to have these funny guys, called themselves tailors, I think, right next door to the shoemaker....
Just keep telling yourself, "It's worth it. It's worth it. I'll kill Gordon. It's worth it."
© copyright 1998, Gordon Sorber