How to Soften Wool
If you happen to have any wool knits that feel too itchy to wear, try this simple solution: Fill a basin with cold water and thoroughly soak the garment in it. Then drain the basin and gently press the water out (woolens should never be wrung). While it’s still damp, apply a liberal amount of hair conditioner and work it through the fibers. Higher quality hair conditioners will work better (I recommend Bumble and Bumble*), and make sure you’re not using one of those 2-in-1 “shampoos and conditioners” mixes.
Once you’ve really worked it through the entire garment, let it sit in the basin for about 30 minutes to an hour. When you come back, rinse the conditioner out, press it dry, and lay it flat on a towel for about 24 hours. Make sure it’s not placed next to anything like heaters, which can dry out the fibers again. When you come back, your garment should be considerably softer. Of course, this only works on very dry wools, and only goes so far. You’re not going to turn everything into cashmere, but you may soften things up a bit.
* This stuff, by the way, is fantastic. I strongly recommend giving a small bottle of their shampoos or conditioners a try. Windle & Moodie sell them at a 25% discount, but you can also find them at most higher end hair salons.