Caring for your Wool Coat

Posted by Elizabeth Williams on

Wool Coats are pretty low maintenance 

Wool has natural anti bacterial and anti microbial properties so unlike synthetic fabrics it does not require numerous washings in order to smell fresh. Most manufacturers suggest only 1-2 trips to the dry cleaner in the span of one year. 

I recommend that one those cleaning happens in the spring. 

As I write this post it's April in Chicago. On my mind is shopping for swimsuits and sandals. The last thing I want to think about is my wool coat. But like most important items on a to-do list... timing is everything.

The fact of the matter is, you are about to forget about your wool coat in the coming summer months, thus leaving open a nice opportunity for moths and other critters to enjoy what you have left behind.

Undoubtably, wool's greatest enemy is the dreaded moth hole. Unfortunately, once a moth hole is discovered it is already too late. Prevention is key. Moths (or moth larvae specifically) love wool, but more importantly they love tiny bits of food particles left on wool clothing (including those beloved cashmere sweaters!) Keeping your wool clothing clean and properly stored is the best prevention for  moth holes over the summer months.

Additionally, no one likes to pull out a wrinkled, dirty coat on the first day of fall. By cleaning and properly storing your coat in the spring, your coat will retain it's best shape and feel amazing when you slip it back on year after year.

Proper care for your wool coat can add years to it's life.

I know there are many of us who would love to avoid the dry cleaners. However, dry cleaning is really the best method of cleaning for most Wool Coats including ours here at Coat Check Chicago, which are Dry Clean Only.

Unlike wool sweaters, most wool coats have numerous components. In addition to the wool outer fabric, a nicely tailored wool coat could also include a variety of interfacings, linings and paddings that give it a beautiful shape. However, these components can react to water differently and shrink at different rates. For this reason washing most tailored wool coats are not recommended. 

Before it goes to the Dry Cleaners.

Empty your coat pockets in order to keep them from stretching out. Plus - you may find a surprise 5 dollar bill!

Make a repair (if needed.) Most dry cleaners can tackle small repairs but if you are savvy with a needle and thread you can quickly enforce and repair any small holes at their seams. In either case, it's always important to make repairs before dry cleaning since dry cleaning can turn a small tear into a large one.

Give your dry cleaners good instructions. In general, wool should be steamed or lightly pressed since hard pressing wool can cause a permanent crease. Let your dry cleaner know how you like things pressed or if they should be pressed at all. I usually point out soft rolls such as draped collars and ask these areas not be pressed. 

After the Dry Cleaners

Check it over, make sure everything looks ok.

Replace the wire hanger with a padded hanger or suit hanger so that the shoulders do not stretch out over the summer months.

Store your coat hanging, sealed up in the plastic dry cleaning bag or a garment bag. Give your coat room in your closet so that it isn't squished where it could get wrinkled or flattened.

Hang your coat with a lavender sachet or cedar hang up to keep moths at bay and place a pheromone trap in your closet.

Throughout The Year

Steam, lint roll, or spot clean your coat as needed to keep your wool coat looking fresh. Trips to the dry cleaners are important once a year and after big spills, but otherwise a bit of water on the tip of a wash cloth can clean up most small spills and lint rollers can pick off bits of fuzz or pet hair. If you find that your wool coat is looking a little wrinkled, hang it outside your shower and let the shower steam do the work for you. 


A wool coat is meant to be a great investment piece that can be worn for years to come. Give it the love it deserves by wearing it often;)


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