Merino wool being spun for clothing

Can You Wash Merino Wool?

Merino wool, a natural fiber known for its breathability, softness, and insulating properties, has long been cherished by those who value comfort and style. Extracted from the Merino sheep, this wool type offers wearers the advantage of staying warm in cold temperatures and cool during the hot months. While its unique properties are widely acknowledged, many often wonder about the right ways to clean and maintain Merino wool garments.

Merino wool requires specific care to maintain its quality. While hand washing with a wool-specific detergent is the gentlest approach, machine washing on a delicate cycle is also feasible. For stubborn stains or special garments, professional dry cleaning is advised. Proper care ensures longevity and preserves the unique properties of Merino wool.

The three mentioned methods of washing Merino wool are now discussed in much greater detail.

Hand Washing Merino Wool

Hand washing remains a gentle and effective approach for maintaining the vibrancy and durability of Merino wool. Following a few precise steps can ensure the longevity and pristine condition of your cherished garments.

  1. Prepare Your Setup: Fill a basin with lukewarm water, keeping the temperature consistent around 30°C or 86°F.
  2. Select the Right Detergent: Add a wool-specific detergent to the water, stirring gently. Regular laundry detergents might be too harsh and can damage the fibers.
  3. Soaking Time: Immerse your Merino wool garment in the prepared solution, allowing it to soak for about 10 minutes.
  4. Gentle Cleaning: Using your hands, agitate the garment softly in the water, helping to release trapped dirt or particles.
  5. Rinsing Process: Drain the detergent-filled water and replace it with fresh lukewarm water. Swish the garment gently to remove any soap residues. Repeat until the garment is free from detergent.
  6. Excess Water Removal: After rinsing, press the garment softly between your palms to release excess water. Avoid wringing as it can distort the shape.
  7. Efficient Drying: Place the garment on a clean towel and roll it up to absorb any remaining moisture. Unroll and reshape the garment, then lay it flat in a shaded area to dry.
  8. Storage Tips: Once completely dry, fold the garment neatly and store in a cool, dry place. Avoid hanging Merino wool to prevent stretching.

By adhering to these steps and avoiding common pitfalls, you can ensure that your Merino wool items remain fresh and beautiful for a long time.

Machine Washing Merino Wool

Machine washing offers a convenient alternative to hand washing, especially when dealing with multiple Merino wool items. With attention to detail and the right settings, you can achieve excellent results without compromising the quality of your garments

  1. Inspect the Label: Before anything else, review the garment’s care label to confirm that machine washing is safe.
  2. Preparation: Turn the garment inside out to shield the outer surface from potential wear and tear during the cycle.
  3. Select the Right Cycle: Opt for a gentle or wool-specific setting on your washing machine to ensure delicate handling.
  4. Temperature Matters: Always use cold or lukewarm water, making sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 30°C or 86°F.
  5. Detergent Choice: Pick a detergent formulated specifically for wool to maintain the garment’s texture and color.
  6. Load Thoughtfully: Avoid stuffing the washing machine. A spacious arrangement ensures less friction between items.
  7. Spin Cycle Caution: If possible, use a reduced spin speed. This minimizes the chances of the garment losing its shape.
  8. Post-Wash Care: Once the washing cycle completes, remove the garment promptly to prevent creases.
  9. Air Dry: Refrain from using a tumble dryer. Instead, place the garment flat on a towel in a well-ventilated area, ensuring it retains its original shape as it dries.

Adopting these machine washing practices for your Merino wool garments ensures cleanliness without sacrificing their intrinsic qualities.

Dry Cleaning Merino Wool

When it comes to preserving the pristine condition of Merino wool, especially for those special garments or stubborn stains, dry cleaning can be the optimal choice. It provides a professional touch, ensuring your items remain in impeccable shape.

  1. Choose Wisely: Research and opt for a dry cleaner with a good reputation and experience handling Merino wool.
  2. Discuss Specific Concerns: Before handing over your garment, communicate any specific stains or issues you’re concerned about.
  3. Inquire about Solvents: Some cleaning solvents might be harsh on wool. It’s always good to ask and ensure they use wool-friendly cleaning agents.
  4. Retrieve Promptly: Once the cleaning process is complete, pick up your garment as soon as possible to avoid potential damage from prolonged storage at the facility.
  5. Inspect Upon Return: Before storing, inspect the garment for any missed stains or potential damage. Address any issues with the cleaner promptly.
  6. Proper Storage: Use garment bags to protect your Merino wool items from dust and pests. Store in a cool, dry area, preferably in a closet that’s not exposed to direct sunlight.
  7. Regular Maintenance: Even if you resort to dry cleaning, it’s beneficial to air out your Merino wool garments occasionally. This keeps them fresh and extends the time between professional cleanings.
  8. Avoid Frequent Cleaning: Given the natural properties of Merino wool, it doesn’t require constant professional cleaning. Limit dry cleaning to when absolutely necessary to maintain the garment’s integrity.

Relying on professional dry cleaning for Merino wool ensures a thorough and careful treatment, keeping your items looking their best for years.


Can you use regular laundry detergent to wash Merino Wool?

No, regular laundry detergents can be too harsh for Merino wool. It’s recommended to use a wool-specific detergent to maintain the fiber’s integrity and softness.

How do you prevent Merino Wool from shrinking?

To prevent shrinking, always wash Merino wool in lukewarm or cold water and avoid high temperatures. Lay the garment flat to dry, and never use a tumble dryer.

Can you use fabric softener on Merino Wool?

It’s best to avoid fabric softeners on Merino wool as they can coat the fibers and reduce the garment’s breathability and moisture-wicking properties.

How do you remove stains from Merino Wool?

For minor stains, dab the area with cold water and a mild wool-safe detergent. For persistent stains, it might be best to consult a professional dry cleaner.

How often should you wash Merino Wool?

Merino wool has natural anti-bacterial properties, allowing it to be worn multiple times before needing a wash. It’s advisable to wash it only when necessary to maintain its quality and longevity.


Merino wool is a luxurious fabric that requires careful maintenance. By following the methods above, you can ensure your Merino wool garments remain in top condition. Whether you opt for hand washing, machine washing, or professional dry cleaning, the key is to use gentle, wool-safe products and avoid excessive heat. With proper care, your Merino wool garments will retain their beauty and functionality for years to come.