The wool fibers found in merino wool have dozens of tiny crimps that, when woven together, create tiny air pockets that trap body heat and keep it close to the skin. However, because merino wool is so great at temperature regulation, it also tends to be a little delicate. This article will be your guide on how to wash and care for your merino wool clothing, helping you care for your clothing the right way.
What To Avoid
The structure and properties of merino wool are very different from those of other fibers and fabrics, such as cotton or polyester. Every care guide will tell you not to use bleach or fabric softener on your wool. Bleach will destroy the fibers, and fabric softener will coat the fibers with chemicals and ruin their moisture-wicking abilities.
Every fiber of merino wool is covered in a coating of lanolin, a natural oil found in a sheep’s coat. The lanolin naturally repels water, such as sweat. Due to its ability to keep you warm and dry, merino wool is one of the warmest fabrics to wear in the cold. By taking away its moisture-wicking abilities, you’re essentially taking away half of its ability to keep you warm. Additionally, you don’t have to wash your merino wool very often, as it’s also antimicrobial and odor resistant. The longer you go between washes, the longer it will last.
How To Wash Merino Wool
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, you have to know the secret behind washing and caring for merino wool clothing—check the care tag first. This may sound silly, but if you don’t follow the care tag and end up destroying your clothing, you likely won’t be able to return it.
Care tags and merino wool enthusiasts generally agree upon the rules of washing merino wool clothing. Turn the clothing inside out and wash it on cold with similar colors. However, don’t use just any detergent to wash your wool. You want to use a wool wash that’s free of bleach and softener.
The good news is that it’s safe to use wool detergent on all your other clothing, so you don’t need to worry about ruining your other clothes. Additionally, if you want to prevent pilling, you can wash your merino wool with denim jeans and other garments with rough fabric—just be sure to close the zippers first.
How To Dry Merino Wool
Unless the care tag states that you can put your merino wool in the dryer, don’t do it! Don’t twist it, don’t wring it, and don’t pull your merino wool, either. Doing so will damage the natural structure of the fiber. If your care tag doesn’t explicitly tell you to put the wool in the dryer, you can either line dry or towel dry it.
If you line dry your wool, don’t put it on a hanger, as the weight and pull can warp the shape. Instead, drape it over whatever is available and let it dry. If you choose to towel dry, place it flat on a clean, dry towel. This may take longer, as you’ll have to flip it over occasionally, but towel drying is the best way to keep the garment’s original form.