4 April 2022

How do I machine wash wool?

How do I machine wash wool? 

What could be warmer and softer than a woollen jumper in winter? Perfect for the colder seasons, wool is nevertheless a fragile material that needs to be cared for. So, when buying this type of garment, it is not uncommon to wonder how to machine wash wool. 

It is therefore important to be aware of the good practices in order to avoid mistakes and to know how to take care of your woollen clothes in general.

machine washing of wool garments

What is wool? 

Before we talk about how to machine wash wool, it’s worth remembering what wool is, because not all jumpers are made of this material, contrary to what you might think. Wool is a soft material obtained from the hair of specific mammals (usually sheep). Once these animals are shorn, the hair can be cleaned, dyed and woven to create wool yarns, which are then used in knitting to create jumpers, hats, scarves and more. 

It is not uncommon to find clothes that contain wool, but not only wool. This makes it possible to create more affordable textiles while benefiting from the properties of wool, which is particularly warm. Indeed, a woollen garment may be a little more expensive than a synthetic jumper, for example. So, knowing how to machine wash wool is all the more important in order to take special care of this type of garment, since wool is a fragile material and must be cared for. 

machine washing of wool garments

How do I machine wash wool?  

To wash wool properly in the washing machine, it is important to know that a wool garment should not be washed too often. Unlike a cotton T-shirt, for example, which you tend to wash as soon as you wear it, wool can wait a little longer to avoid premature wear.

When washing, care should be taken not to overload the drum of the machine. Wool tends to swell when it becomes soaked in water, so it must have enough space during the cycle. If you still want to wash a lot of laundry in one go, you can go to a laundrette to take advantage of the large capacity of the equipment on site.

As far as products are concerned, there are detergents designed to machine wash wool. These “special wool” detergents are particularly suitable for the delicate fibres of this material. It is therefore preferable to choose this type of product to wash your winter clothes.

Then it’s time to choose the wash cycle. Most washing machines have a special wool cycle, so don’t hesitate to choose this one. If this is not the case, we recommend a gentle wash below 30° and a gentle spin at 400 or 500 rpm.

machine washing of wool garments

The delicate drying stage

Once the process of washing the wool in the washing machine is complete, the next step is drying. Do not use a tumble dryer on wool, as the heat will shrink the garment. It is better to lay the garment flat on a towel, for example, to allow it to air dry (the towel will absorb the excess water). It is best to avoid hanging out a woollen jumper, as it will tend to deform under its own weight.

Once the woollen garment is perfectly dry, you can move on to the last step: ironing and storing!

Ironing and storing a woollen garment

While machine-washing wool requires some precautions, this is also the case once the garment is dry. It is not necessary to iron a woollen garment, as creases rarely form and the risk of burning should be taken into account. However, there are irons with a gentle heat mode just for wool if you want to do a little ironing. 

Then the garment should be folded for storage. Again, it is not recommended to hang a woollen garment (e.g. on a hanger), as it will often deform under its weight.

If pilling occurs over the course of several washes, there are so-called pilling trimmers that can remove the pilling without damaging the garment. A jumper can thus be given a new lease on life with a simple and easy gesture!

Here is another article that might interest you: How do I wash my plaid fabrics?