We know you couldn’t wait to hear a bit of wool-sock history, so here it is: In the latter part of the 19th century, a pair of wool socks, estimated to be over 1,000 years old, were found buried on the banks of the Nile river. The socks were perfectly preserved. Ok, you won’t need your wool socks in 1,000 years, but here are a few tips to help take care of your woolens so that they’ll last for as long as you enjoy wearing them:

To prevent pilling of the wool, loosely put your woolens in a pillowcase and tie the case closed with ribbon or string. (Make sure the sweaters or socks aren’t packed together too tightly. You may need another pillowcase to accommodate multiple items.) Run this through your washer’s gentle cycle with your usual laundry detergent. (Specialty soap for delicates, such as Woolite, is OK to use.) If your woolens are feeling stiff or rough after storage (or after sitting on a store shelf), add one teaspoon of olive oil after the washer fills with water (with or without the pillowcase)—this will soften the wool. Cozy!

More money-saving laundry care…