How to wash merino wool

Written by sarah emerald
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How to wash merino wool
Items made from merino wool need to be handled with care. (wool cloth image by Yury Shirokov from

Merino wool is soft and plush and used for making fine clothing and home accessories. Merino is most often used to make sweaters, suits, coats and blankets; it is also a favourite yarn fibre for knitting and crocheting. When you wash merino, do not agitate it too much as excessive agitation can cause the wool to felt and shrink. Wash merino by giving it a gentle soak and allowing it to air-dry.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wool soak

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  1. 1

    Fill the drum of the washing machine with cool water and leave the lid up.

  2. 2

    Add 1/4 cup wool soak and swirl the water around with your hand to blend.

  3. 3

    Place the wool item in the washer and press it down until it is completely submerged. Merino resists water, so it will take a minute or so to become saturated.

  4. 4

    Leave the washer lid up and allow the item to soak for 30 minutes.

  5. 5

    Close the lid and advance the washer setting to "Spin."

  6. 6

    Wait next to the washing machine while it spins and removes the water; then remove the merino wool item promptly.

  7. 7

    Lay the wool garment on a flat surface to dry. Pat it into the correct shape if needed and allow it to dry completely before storing.

Tips and warnings

  • If you prefer not to wash your merino wool at home, take it to a dry cleaner instead.
  • Baby shampoo or mild soap can be used in place of wool soak if desired.
  • Soak your merino wool item in the sink or tub if you don't have a washing machine.
  • Never use hot water or agitation to clean wool as doing so will cause it to shrink.
  • Don't put merino wool items in the dryer.
  • Never hang a wet woollen garment to dry; it will stretch out of shape.

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