How to Wash Wool (and all of your Wool Products)

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Does the idea of washing your wool items send you into a panic? Do you worry about ruining them? Are you overpaying dry cleaners to launder your wool clothes when you can easily do it yourself from home? Check out this wool-washing guide to learn how to wash wool without stress.

​How to Wash Wool

​Washing a Wool Blanket

​There is nothing like a wool blanket to keep you warm on a cold winter night. Many people may own a wool blanket, but hesitate to use it because wool can seem difficult to wash. However, learning how to wash wool is quite simple once you know the rules.

Luckily, you can use the same general principles that you use when cleaning thicker carpet. You need cold water and gentle cycles. 

Most washers are equipped with a gentle cycle and allow you to choose only cold water. Using hot water can cause your wool items to shrink. ​

Related: ​​​Guide to Vacuuming Shag Rug and Carpet​​​

For wool blankets, place them in the washer and set the cycle. Make sure you are using a wool-approved detergent and wash your wool blanket alone.

Once the washer cycle has finished, hang up your wool blanket on a long pole or a drying rack to let it air dry. Using the dryer is a huge no-no because it can shrink, damage fibers, and ruin the softness of your wool blanket.

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​Washing Your Wool Socks

Wool socks are great for feet since wool is breathable and doesn’t trap in odors. Thick wool socks are also super warm for those cold-floor mornings or an evening by the fire, the same reason people love having wool​ rugs and carpet.

Surprisingly wool does not need to be washed as often. Even with socks, the first step in washing your wool socks is to not wash them. Simply hang them up to air out a little after wearing them.

After a few wears, or if you think it is time to clean them, you can choose one of two ways to wash wool socks. First, you can turn them inside out and use a gentle cycle with cold water in the washer. Make sure you hang them up to dry after washing.

If your wool is virgin or you have the spare time, opt to hand wash your socks with a natural cleaner.

  • 1
    ​Make sure that your sink or washing basin is clean.
  • 2
    ​Fill it will cool water before adding your socks.
  • 3
    ​You only need a teaspoon of detergent for a hand-washing. Too much detergent is too hard to get out and can leave residue. You can also​ add a disinfectant​ if you are dealing with any foot issues or have stepped in something gross.
  • 4
    ​Add in your wool socks last making sure they are fully submerged.
  • 5
    ​Don’t overfill the hand washing sink with too many items. You want to make sure there is room for your socks to be able to swish around after you let them soak for five minutes.
  • 6
    ​After soaking and swishing, drain the sink and lift away your socks. Do not wring them out
  • 7
    ​Fill the sink with clean cool water, and then return your socks to the new water and swish them around to rinse. Running water over your wool socks can agitate and break the fibers, so you want to remove the socks when water is running.
  • 8
    ​Repeat the rinsing step until no suds are present.
  • 9
    ​Finally hang up the socks without squeezing the water out. Squeezing and wringing will stretch the wool fibers and can damage them.
  • 10
    ​Once air dried you can put them away.

You can use this hand washing method for other small wool items like a shirt or gloves to ensure they are handled with the most delicate touch during the wash.

Related: ​​Our Top Cleaning Products ​To Use In Your House

​How to Wash a Wool Coat

​You will not need to wash your wool coat after every wear since wool is so breathable.  

You can wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water if needed. Just make sure you always read your label before you wash anything.

If you notice a stain or two on your coat, you don’t have to toss it in the washer right away. Instead, opt to spot clean it.

For spot cleaning a wool coat, use a mild wool-safe detergent and rub it onto the spot. Continue to gently rub the stained area with your finger until the dirt comes loose. This is similar to working with cleaning a carpet with vinegar or other natural products.

This method works well on new stains. If you have​ an old stain and won’t budge after a few spot cleaning tries, you may want to consult a dry cleaner to see if they can lift the stain.

​​For vacuuming heavy, thick products, you need the right tool.

​Properly Washing Wool Pants

​Wool pants may need to be washed a little more frequently than your other wool items, just because they have more of a tendency to get dirty throughout the day.

Hang up to air them out or spot clean if you see any stains to extend the time between washing your wool pants. You don’t want to wash them or dry clean them often. Wool was made to be strong and frequent cleaning can break down the fibers.

Knowing ​when to wash your wool clothes​ and when not to will help you extend the life and keep your wool clothes looking new for many years.

When you need to wash your wool pants, place them alone in the washer and turn on the gentle cycle. Use cold water and a wool-safe detergent. Once the washer is done, lay out your wool pants on a hanger or drying bar to let them air dry.

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​Washing Wool Jackets

​You can ​pocket a lot of money​​​ by opting to wash your nice wool suit jackets at home instead of sending them to the dry cleaner. Wool jackets really won’t need to be washed more than one or two times a season.

If you have a spot or some dirt on your wool jacket, you can use a wool brush like the ​​Kent Mahogany Clothes Brush to effectively clean it without washing.

When you need to wash your wool jacket, take a moment to spot clean it first with a wool-safe cleaner. Then, place it in the washer on a gentle cycle with cold water.

As soon as the washer is finished, hang up your wool jacket on a contoured suit jacket hanger to help it maintain its shape. Once thoroughly air dried, you can place your jacket back in the closet.

​Can you Iron Wool?

​If your wool coat, jacket, or skirt has wrinkles or if you want to press down any pleating or lapels, you can iron your wool. You just need to use a pressing cloth between your wool and the hot iron.

A pressing cloth is a must​ have because it will protect your wool from being scorched by the hot dry iron. Using a damp pressing cloth is a good idea because it will help by making steam. Steam helps get rid of wrinkles.

You can also opt to ​steam your wool​ which is much safer than using a hot iron.


Now that you know the rules of sticking to cold water, a gentle cleaning cycle, and the fact that you don’t always have to wash your wool, you can skip the dry cleaner and take care of your wool items at home.

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.

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