As a keen knitter (could you tell?), it’s important to me to take special care of the garments and accessories I’ve invested countless hours in creating. Wool washes are particularly useful, formulated for the maintenance of natural fibres so fantastic for keeping your lovely knits clean (and therefore less likely to be attacked by bugs!). Unfortunately in Australia, there seems to be a lack of access to wool washes specifically marketed towards knitters. Then when the Australian dollar is performing badly, it makes it difficult to justify not only the cost of the product, but also the shipping, from international sellers to us.
In my search for something “nice” for some new shawls, I finally found a few Aussie-based online retailers who stocked Soak.
According to Soak’s main website, the company is based in Canada, and are an “eco-friendly” rinse-free wash.Whilst not organic, the product is biodegradable, and the bottles are recyclable and printed with water-based inks. It can be used in the machine, and for really any fabrics, but my main purpose in buying it was for soaking wool garments and accessories prior to blocking. I ordered three scents from a very lovely Canberra-based online store with a focus on ethical knitting supplies (visit Ecoyarns here).
Celebration -“sweet, delicate and absolutely delicious.”
Fig – “fresh-picked clean.”
Lacey – “pretty, gentle and totally sweet.”
In the past I had only tried Eucalan wool wash. So, to be honest, I was a bit concerned when I first saw Soak in person as I wasn’t expecting the liquid in the bottle to look so runny. I began to think – had I just spent over $30 on some sort of flavoured water? However, it was only a consistency I wasn’t used to. When using Soak, it was actually more substantial than it looked, and still poured out relatively. nice and gooey.
After giving each bottle a good sniff, I had decided Celebration would probably become my favourite scent. It had a lovely fruitiness to it, and whilst fans of earthier scents may find it a little too sickly, it was right up my alley in terms of sweetness. I thought Fig had quite a genuine smell, but was a bit strong, and Lacey was sweet, but to me also a little bit detergent-y. However, the interesting thing was how different these scents were straight out of the bottle compared to when added to water and wool. Lacey became very delicate and lost any sort of chemical subtleties, and Fig became a real winner, the bowl giving off a lovely version of the original smell!
To use, I added a few squirts to a bowl of tepid water, gave my knits a good squeeze in the water to remove any air bubbles, and left them to sit for 15-20 mins. I really enjoyed the soaking process as the water became a little, but not at all overly, sudsy, whereas with Eucalan I sometimes couldn’t really tell if it was having any effect. It was really satisfying to me as even though I hadn’t agitated the knits in any way, it looked like my knitting was getting a nice, thorough clean.
After my shawls had finished soaking, I squeezed out all the excess water (no rinsing!), rolled them gently in a towel and laid them out flat to block. I found that once the shawls were dry they felt clean, and there hadn’t been a lot of change to the touch and feel of the yarn. The Soak was obviously very gentle, so I was able to conclude it was a good long-term care option.
My only small gripe was this: none of the Soak really left my handknits smelling significantly like those nice scents afterwards. I could smell them, but only if I inhaled quite deeply, and personally I would have liked just a little more “oompf”. However, Soak clearly state on their website that their product was developed to not leave a strong fragrance on your garments. They pride themselves on their formulation which makes them a more delicate choice than other market leaders, so I feel like it would be a fantastic option for anyone with sensitivities.
The ethos of Soak distinguishes them as a fantastic choice in my eyes, and it would be lovely to see more companies share similar concerns over the potential environmental impact of their packaging choices and the chemicals they use. I know my knits will be well-looked after and continue to enjoy their baths into the future!
Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram!
(This review was independent and not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned)