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How To Wash Merino Wool

How To Wash Merino Wool

29.01.2015 | Outdoor How to Guides

Wool is often considered to be a high maintenance fabric that needs to be hand washed, which is not always the case. Merino wool garments are in fact quite easy to take care of and as they are naturally antibacterial they prevent odours so require less washing than cotton or synthetics. Merino wool is also highly resistant to stains.

A merino wool garment can be made of 100% merino wool or can be a mix of merino wool and polyester (normally 80%-20% respectively). A mix of wool and polyester tends to be less itchy than 100% wool and will make the garment more durable so it will wash better and last longer.


With this in mind, how should you wash your merino items?

  • Do machine wash on a low to medium heat (30 degrees) on a cold cycle or use a wool wash/delicates option if available. Always check the garment label for specific temperature guidelines.
  • Do wash with like for like colours. Merino wool should be colour fast but washing dark or bright colours separately from light colours and whites will avoid any damage should the colour bleed.
  • Do wash inside out, especially if the garment is printed. This will help prevent bobbling.
  • Do use a mild detergent. If using a powdered detergent you may wish to dissolve it in a little water first to prevent large flecks of the detergent settling on the fabric which can stick or cause holes.
  • Don’t not use fabric softeners because these will coat the merino fibres limiting the wool’s natural ability to actively managing your moisture and body temperature. Softeners can also encourage bobbling by helping the fibres move to the surface easier.
  • Do wash separately where possible. If not, then wash with ‘harder’ garments, such as denim, which will reduce piling.
  • Do tumble dry on a low heat (if garment care instructions allows) or dry lying flat.
  • Do iron your garment on a cool or wool setting (if the garment care instructions allow). You may find your garment doesn’t need any ironing at all.
  • Don’t dry on or near heat or in direct sunlight as the heat may cause it to shrink.
  • Don’t dry clean or use bleach. A lot of bleaches will use chlorine which can destroy the merino fibres.
  • Don’t wring out the garment as this will stretch the wool.

If your merino garment states it should be hand washed

  • Do hand wash in a basin with warm water and soap but do not allow to soak for too long to avoid shrinkage.
  • Do use a soft cloth to take care of any stained areas and carefully dab the affected area, do not rub! If the stain is stubborn use a chlorine free bleach if necessary. Be careful not to stretch the wool.
  • Do dry on a flat surface, preferably on a towel. Merino garments can be heavy when wet so drying on a line or hanger can stretch the garment and cause it to lose its shape.
  • Do reshape whilst still damp.
  • Don’t wring out the garment as this will shrink the wool.

You can find out more about merino wool and its benefits in our guide – What Is Merino Wool?