Merino wool is one of the most popular fabrics in the world, soft to the touch and extremely durable in nature. If your latest wardrobe addition is a Merino wool masterpiece, you’ll need to know everything about taking care of it so that it lasts for years to come!
We have put together a comprehensive guide Merino wool care instructions that list everything you need to know about the wool itself and how to go about maintaining and caring for your Merino woollies.
What is Merino Wool?
Merino wool is a fibre that comes from the Merino sheep. While this breed of sheep is found in many parts of the world, the vast majority of the Merino wool around the globe originates from the sheep found in the dreamy highlands of Australia and New Zealand.
The wool is highly absorbent while also having moisture-wicking properties and is especially good on the skin as it is finer and softer than regular wool. Since the fibre is porous, clothes made out of Merino wool are not only lightweight and breathable but are also perfect for regulating body temperature by keeping you dry and sweat-free.
How is Merino Wool Made?
Being made of completely natural fibre, Merino wool is produced around the year. A single Merino sheep can produce an average of 5 kg of wool per year.
Merino wool is produced through a long process involving different stages.
- It starts with the shearing of a Merino sheep after which, the raw wool is cleaned and sorted into different grades.
- This wool is then carded into long, thin strings before being spun and loaded onto reels.
- Next comes the weaving. At this stage, the yarn is either woven or knitted with the help of industrial machines.
- Finally, the woven/knitted fabric is dyed, and if necessary, chemically treated
Top Merino Wool Care Tips
There’s no easy way to say this: like all delicate things, clothes made out of Merino wool need a bit of TLC if you want them to last for a long time. If you’re one of those people who don’t know where to begin when it comes to cleaning or maintaining your woollens, we have the perfect list of tips to help you!
Follow these and you’ll be able to enjoy your prized jumpers, sweaters, scarves and other woollies for years to come!
How to Wash Merino Wool Clothing
It’s no easy task to wash any kind of woollen clothing, but it’s no rocket science either! Here’s a handy list of steps that should make washing garments made of Merino wool a breeze.
One of the saving graces of woollen garments is that don’t need to be washed as often as other clothes. Merino wool is especially resistant to staining and odours. The fibres absorb and trap body odour, preventing the smell from building further. You could essentially get away with wearing a Merino wool jumper throughout winter without needing to wash it at all!
So, if your woollens are not visibility dirty and don’t have an awful stench, it doesn’t need a wash! Choose to spot clean instead. The fewer spin cycles you put your Merino wool garment through, the longer it’ll last!
Soak in cold water
If you do need to wash your woollen clothes, soak them beforehand in cold water for a few hours. This will allow the water to saturate the fibres and prevent shrinkage to a certain extent.
Always use lukewarm or cold water
When it comes to any kind of wool, heat is often the main cause of shrinkage. While Merino wool fibres are fairly stretchable and often bounce back into shape, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Make sure to wash your woollens only in lukewarm or cold water.
Use the right detergent
Most of us are in the habit of using the same detergent for all our garments regardless of the difference in fabrics. However, if you want your Merino wool clothes to last for longer, use detergents that are specifically designed for washing woollen garments. If you don’t have one in the house, dilute your usual detergent to avoid excessive felting. If you want to be super careful and don’t mind going the extra mile, clean your washing machine every season to ensure that your favourite woollens don’t come out smelling mouldy.
Use the correct machine setting
If your washing machine has a different setting for wool clothes, use it! If not, use the lowest spin cycle possible on your machine. Wool fibres are prone to get damaged when put through high spin cycles. You can also gently handwash your Merino wool jumpers and sweaters instead.
How to Dry Merino Wool Clothing
Once your Merino woollens are squeaky clean after the wash, it’s time to dry them! While the hard bit is over, there are still things that can go wrong if you don’t dry your wool garments properly.
Here are a few tips to get things right:
Lay them out flat
Before you start drying your wool clothes, try and get as much water out of them as possible. Remember to be as gentle as possible. Harsh wringing might leave your favourite sweater looking all stretched and deformed!
When drying, make sure you dry your woollens by laying them flat on a towel and let them air dry (away from the Sun, of course). Shape them if necessary. You should also avoid using a tumble drier completely if you want to be extra safe!
Use steam if necessary
If you’re worried about your Merino wool clothing ending up misshapen upon drying, you can use the wool or steam setting on your iron to ensure that your favourite winterwear stays as is!
How to Maintain Merino Wool Clothing
Pay attention to the upkeep
If you want your Merino woollens to have a long, happy life, treat them with care. If you see a loose yarn hanging out of your precious cardigan, take it to a tailor instead of fixing it yourself. Similarly, if you spill something on your sweater or jumper, try spot cleaning it first before deciding to wash the item entirely.
Wear with care
You can also prolong the life of your favourite Merino wool winter clothes by being a tad careful whenever you wear them. Here are a few things to remember:
• Don’t pull or tug at them
• Don’t roll up the sleeves
• Avoid wearing them in dirty environments
• Put them away after each wear instead of leaving them in a laundry basket or hanging them
Follow the instructions on the label
While most woollens may behave the same way, if there are particular cleaning, drying or storing instructions on your garment, follow them! No two woollies are the same and yours might just need some extra care. Following these instructions might go a long way in enhancing the longevity of your woollen garment.
How to Store Merino Wool Clothing
Now that you know how to clean and maintain your woolly pieces, it’s also important to know how to store them properly during the warmer months when they aren’t in use. These tips will ensure that your woollens remain intact for next winter! For starters, store them separate from your other clothes. If you can’t find a distinct space for them, you might need to start decluttering your wardrobe.
Fold, not hang
For shorter periods, when you’re not using your woollen garments, always fold them and put them away, preferably in a drawer. Hanging them can stretch the wool fibres and cause clothes to sag in odd places.
Ensure they are protected
For the spring and summer months, make sure your Merino wool clothes are stored away in a proper manner. You can use Ziploc bags, vacuum sealing or storage boxes with airtight lids. You can further protect your clothes by lining them up with mothballs, cedar, lavender or anti-moth paper.
Merino Wool Care FAQs
If you’re still scratching your head about how to care for Merino wool clothing, here are a few FAQs that should do the trick!
Can I machine wash Merino wool?
Most Merino woollens don’t need much washing. As the wool is made up of natural fibres, you can simply air out your woollens or spot clean them. But if necessary, yes, they can be machine washed. But don’t forget to soak the garment in cold water, use the wool setting on the machine and only use lukewarm or cold water.
Does Merino wool shrink?
While Merino wool fibres are fairly stretchable, there’s always a danger of them shrinking under high heat. Repeated washing can also cause Merino woollies to shrink a size or two. Again, wash sparingly and follow our Merino wool care instructions!
How to remove deodorant stains from Merino wool?
Use a mixture of 1 part water and 3 parts rubbing alcohol. Then dab, dab, dab! If the stain remains, soak a cotton pad in the solution and leave it on the stain. Keep replacing the pad as it dries out till the stain has vanished. You can also use the help of vinegar or lime juice if rubbing alcohol is not available.
How to make Merino wool less itchy?
Merino fibres are generally softer than regular wool but they can often seem itchy to many people. Wait to see if the fabric of your woollen softens after its first wash. If it doesn’t, soak it in cold water and add a few tablespoons of white vinegar or hair conditioner. Let the garment soak for 15-30 minutes. Then rinse it thoroughly in cold water and dry it as mentioned in our Merino wool care instructions.
Can you unshrink Merino wool?
At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of washing the wrong clothes in the wrong setting. If you’ve accidentally shrunk your favourite garment made of Merino wool, there’s still hope. Here’s how to unshrink your Merino woollen up a size or even a tad more!
• Fill a tub or your sink with enough lukewarm water to cover the clothing item you wish to unshrink.
• Add a generous amount of hair conditioner to the water and mix it thoroughly.
• Submerge your woollen garment into the water and gently knead it, ensuring that the water reaches all the fibres. Leave it to soak for half an hour.
• Press the excess water out of the garment without wringing it.
• Lay the garment on a flat towel and gently stretch it to the shape and size you desire. Remember to stretch the fabric evenly in all directions. Do this a couple of times before it dries.
• Hand wash the garment gently again to wash away the conditioner from the fibres. After which, follow the usual drying procedure mentioned above.
Once you know how to take care of them, Merino woollens will soon become the most prized possession in your wardrobe.