How to wash Merino wool to keep it soft and fresh

Once you learn how to wash Merino wool, you'll never stress about laundry day again

Close-up of three folded gray wool sweaters stacked
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Learn how to wash Merino wool properly to keep your luxe garments soft and cozy. If you've invested in a gorgeous sweater or scarf, you certainly don't want to damage or shrink the material.

You may be thinking you have to run out to the dry cleaners every time you want to freshen up, but think again. It's actually easier than you think to wash Merino wool at home.

We spoke to laundry experts who shared the best ways to do laundry so you won't have to splash out on professional services.

How to wash Merino wool

You may be wondering if you can even wash wool in a washing machine in the first place, but rest assured, you can wash your garments safely if you follow a few precautions.

Before you get started, you going to want to make sure you're stocked up on laundry room essentials, such as mild laundry detergent and stain removers (we like Miss Mouth's stain treater available on Amazon) so you don't run out mid-way through laundry day. 

Close up of woman wearing cream wool chunky knit long-sleeved sweater

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 1: check the care label

It may seem like an obvious step, but the care label contains essential information you'll need to know before washing your Merino wool. Look at the laundry symbols to determine if you should hand wash, use the washing machine, or if the garment is dry-clean only. 

"Before washing any garment, always check the care label for specific
instructions from the manufacturer. Merino wool items may have unique care
requirements, such as temperature limits or special detergent
recommendations," says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid.

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services.

Step 2: treat stains

Before washing, it's important to evaluate and treat any stains on your garment. If you've spilled a little of your morning latte, you'll need to know food stain removal.

If you don't have a stain remover, you can use a gentle detergent like Tide Free & Gentle detergent, available on Amazon to avoid harsh chemicals (a common laundry mistake).  

"If your merino wool garment has any stains, spot-treat them before
washing. Use a gentle stain remover, or a mixture of mild detergent and
water to dab the stain gently. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can damage
the delicate fibers," says Angela.

Step 3: wash on gentle cycle

If you're using a washing machine, set it on a delicate or gentle cycle and use cold water. "Washing merino wool requires special care to maintain its softness and
integrity. If machine washing is permitted, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent for wool or delicate fabrics," says Hashi Mohamed, President of Ivy Cleans.

You may want to use a detergent specifically designed for wool such as Outback Gold Wool Wash available on Amazon. Place your garments in a delicates bag (we like this durable laundry bags from Amazon)to protect them from any damage the machine may cause.

Hashi Mohamed
Hashi Mohamed

Hashi Mohamed is the president of Ivy Cleans, a premier cleaning and lifestyle solutions company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Specializing in cleaning, organizing, and promoting a holistic lifestyle, it is passionate about transforming spaces into clean, organized, and vibrant environments.  

Step 4: towel dry

Avoid placing Merino wool in the dryer as the heat and agitation may cause it to shrink. Once you remove your garments from the wash, you may be tempted to wring them out, but it may not be wise. 

"After washing, never wring or twist merino wool garments to remove excess water, as this can distort their shape," says Angela.

Instead, the most gentle solution is to use a towel to absorb excess water. "Carefully press the garment between clean towels or roll it up and gently squeeze. Reshape the garment to its original size and lay it flat on a towel to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight," adds Hashi.


Can I hand wash Merino wool?

If you'd prefer to play it safe, you can definitely hand wash your items instead. This collapsible basin from Amazon makes the job pretty easy and comes in 11 colors.

"Fill a basin or sink with cold water and add wool detergent. Gently agitate the water to create suds, submerge the merino wool garment, and soak it for 10-15 minutes," says Hashi.

Once you've soaked your item, rinse it off with cold water, and dry it using the towel method.

What is Merino wool?

Merino wool comes from a special breed of sheep called Merino. Their wool is known to be softer and more luxurious than other types so it is often used to produce high-end garments. 

The main takeaway is to wash your Merino wool delicately and keep it away from heat sources to avoid shrinking it. We would advise against using bleach in laundry such Merino, as harsh chemicals can damage the soft fibers in the wool. 

Don't be intimidated by the process, it's easier than you think!

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.