How do I wash wool correctly? What you need to know!

To help you enjoy your wool garments for a long time to come, we have compiled all the most important rules to keep in mind when washing them.  

by mey 23/04/2021

How do I wash wool correctly? | mey®

Wool is an animal product and refers to the soft hairs in the fur of animals such as sheep, goats or camels. As a result, wool is extremely delicate, meaning your favourite wool items need to be washed with care to ensure they do not shrink or become fuzzy.

As a rule, you should make sure that you always wash your clothes according to the most delicate material they contain. For example, if your shirt is made of a silk and wool blend, you should select a detergent and washing method that is suitable for silk, as silk is the more delicate material. In addition, you should always observe the care instructions on the label of your garment.

Which detergent should I use?

As mentioned, wool is an animal product. Wool is neither suitable for washing at high temperatures, nor should it be washed too often. Colour detergents or general-purpose detergents are specially designed for use at higher temperatures, making them unsuitable for use on wool garments. We recommend using a mild wool detergent. Alternatively, you can also use baby shampoo or a pH-neutral shampoo instead.

Hand or machine wash?

In principle, wool can be washed in the machine. Newer washing machines in particular tend to have special programmes, such as a delicate wash, hand wash or even a special wool wash. What differentiates these programmes from a “normal” programme is the speed and temperature settings.

Wool should never be washed above 30°C, to prevent shrinking and contracting of the fibres. In addition, you should keep the spin cycle as short as possible when washing your favourite wool garments. To avoid being too rough on the fibres, the machine speed should be no more than 600 rotations per minute.

If you wash your wool garments in the machine, you should turn them inside out and ideally place them in a closed mesh laundry bag or pillow case. This will prevent pilling and bobbles from forming on the fabric.

Nevertheless, you should always follow the care instructions on the label. Despite the capabilities of new machines, some manufacturers recommend hand wash only.

There are a few things to keep in mind when hand washing. Make sure that the water is not too hot, and start by soaking the garment with clear, lukewarm water. Then fill the basin with lukewarm water and wool detergent, so the garment can be fully submerged. If your garment has stains on it, try to knead them out of the fabric. Do not rub the fabric together, as this can cause fuzzing of the wool. Finally, the garment should be rinsed in clear water until there is no more foam or detergent residue left behind.

Our tip: Only wash your woolly jumper, shirt or scarf when it is really necessary. For example, if you have only worn the shirt once, it is sufficient to air it out.

How do I dry wool correctly?

Never dry your wool garments in the tumble dryer. Too-high temperatures will ruin the structure of the fibres and cause your garment to shrink. Likewise, you should never wring out your garments. This can cause the garment to become warped and lose its original shape. Instead, roll the garment up in a towel and carefully squeeze out the moisture.

Next, we recommend drying the garment lying down – not hanging up! If you hang a wool garment, it will become stretched and worn out by the weight of the water.

Wool garments should never be ironed. Instead, you should treat them with steam. If you do not have a steamer to hand, place a damp cloth on the garment and carefully iron over it.

How should I store my wool clothing?

Just as you shouldn’t dry your wool garments hanging up, you shouldn’t store them that way either, to prevent the garments from becoming stretched and warped. Instead, fold your wool garments and store them lying down.

The most important points in summary:

  • Always follow the care instructions on the label
  • Never wash at temperatures above 30°C
  • Never set the washing machine to speeds over 600 rotations per minute
  • Wash using wool detergent, baby shampoo or a pH-neutral shampoo
  • Dry garments lying down, not hanging up
  • Store garments lying down