How to Care for Merino Wool

Written by mimi abney
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How to Care for Merino Wool
Before storing your merino wool fabrics, have them cleaned thoroughly. (wool image by Zbigniew Nowak from

According to Denver Fabrics, "merino wool fabric is made from the fleece of the merino sheep." This soft and luxurious fabric requires special cleaning and storage methods to extend the life of the material. Using the proper techniques to clean this natural fibre properly will keep your wool hats, mittens and scarves looking fresh each winter season. Whether you own a sumptuous pashmina scarf or a cable-knit merino wool sweater, you can launder or dry clean your merino wool garments without damaging the fabric.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mild liquid soap
  • Small basin
  • Large towel
  • Detergent made for woollens
  • Cedar chest
  • Plastic container
  • Cloth sachet
  • Cedar chips
  • Cedar shavings

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  1. 1

    Hand-wash your merino wool garment using cold water and mild liquid soap. Put a cap full of liquid soap and cold water into a small basin. Swirl the wool fabric into the soapy mixture. Submerge the garment for three to five minutes maximum to clean.

  2. 2

    Rinse the wool garment with cold water thoroughly. Roll the wool item in a large towel to remove the water. Squeeze the towel gently; do not wring to remove excess water. Shape garment back to its original size.

  3. 3

    Blot the garment dry with a towel. Dry the garment flat on a towel in a well-ventilated and cool area.

  4. 4

    Follow the manufacturer's suggested cleaning directions for cleaning your machine-washable merino wool garments. Use a detergent made for woollens with a warm wash and gentle rinse cycle. According to Morehouse Farm's website, "strong alkaline solutions, such as laundry detergents, will damage wool."

  5. 5

    Store your merino wool clothing after cleaning. Moths are more attracted to soiled woollens. After folding your merino wool fabrics, store in a cedar-lined chest or in an airtight plastic container, with a sachet filled with cedar chips or shavings.

Tips and warnings

  • Dry-clean any heavy sweaters and woven merino wool garments.
  • According to Ohio State University's website, "wool or silk can be severely damaged by liquid chlorine bleach, so this bleach should be avoided."
  • Do not put moth repellents or cedar chips directly onto the wool fabric. Place in a fabric bag with a drawstring before storing with your merino wool garments.

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