How Often Does Wool Need To Be Washed? (what you must know)

Don’t we love how stylish and warm wool garments can be?

Aside from being a natural fabric that’s environmentally friendly, wool clothes are popular due to their breathable properties and trendy appeal.

However, how many wears can we squeeze out of this garment before we’ll need to put them in the wash?

How often should you wash your wool garments?

Many of us like wearing wool garments.

Whether it’s the smoother kind known as worsted wool or the chunkier ones called woollen wool, it’s normal to find one or two of the pieces in the wardrobes of every household, especially in places with cold weather such as the UK.

Unfortunately, wool clothing does have the bad reputation of being quite exhausting to wash.

Wool blankets

This is exactly why many people are curious as to how often they really need to be washed. Is it after every wear? Or can we wear them lots of times before thinking about putting them in that hamper?

To answer the question, we recommend that you only wash your wool garments after wearing them more than 5 times. As long as the clothing is still smelling fresh, washing wool clothing after just wearing them once is such a waste of resources.

Of course, aside from the good ol’ sniff test, there are other factors that will determine if you need to get your laundry done. For example, certain types of clothing such as wool socks need to be washed immediately, especially if you used them for a physical activity.

If you wear an undershirt under your wool sweater, you can easily wear it multiple times without having to wash it until it gets a bit of a smell.

Reasons why you shouldn’t wash wool after every wear

Why do laundry experts and even clothing companies advise against washing your wool garments frequently?

Let’s find out the main reasons:

It has natural “antibacterial” properties

A study that has been conducted showed that wool fibres exhibit antibacterial properties. This is possible as the garment naturally repels the “excess bacteria” that may get in contact with it[1].

Wool socks

Because of this awesome property, wool doesn’t need to be washed after every use.

Did you know? Certain kinds of wool like Merino are actually odour resistant which is why they’re being incorporated in exercise wear.

It will require special care when washing to prevent damage

When wool garments are not properly washed, they have a tendency to pill or shed.

Did you know? Wool pilling happens when fluffy balls of fibres form on the garment due to improper washing or care. Wool shedding is when the fibres fall off of the garment due to natural reasons or damage.

A person wearing a wool sweater

To prevent pilling and shedding, wool garments have to be washed with care. There are three ways to wash wool clothing:

  • Dry cleaning

Professional dry cleaners exist for a reason. If you are unsure of how to clean your wool garments, taking them to a dry cleaner would probably be an option you want to look into.

Unfortunately, taking your fabrics to the dry cleaners does not guarantee that they’ll be in great condition after. If you don’t want to risk damage, you’ll probably be better off learning to wash your wool garments yourself.

  • Machine washing

Before anything else, let us tell you this: you should never, ever, use normal detergent to wash your wool clothing.

Why? Because the chemicals in the usual commercial detergents will not do your garments good.

Whether you use your washer or handwash the garments, make sure to only use pH-neutral and enzyme-free soaps. If you can find wool and silk shampoos, that’s even better.

When you’re putting your wool garments in the washer, make sure to read their care labels. This will tell you the recommended setting, temperature, and other important information you’ll need to follow to reduce the risk of damaging your clothing.

Always check the wash care labels

NOTE: Don’t put your wool in the dryer! It’s best to squeeze the garments gently, then lay them out on a flat surface or clothing rack to dry.

  • Handwashing

Finally, and non-arguably, the best option to wash your wool garments is doing so by hand.

Why? Because it is the gentlest way to keep your clothing in great shape!

Remember to use wool shampoos and to only use cold or tepid water when washing wool. Also, if there are stains, pre-treat the area by dabbing it with wool shampoo using a clean cloth.

Once you already have a mixture of wool shampoo in a basin of water, swirl your garment gently. Do the same method for washing the shampoo out, then squeeze gently and lay flat on a clothing rack to dry. If the product you’re using is rinse-free, proceed with laying the garment flat to prevent it from losing its shape.

Soak Soakwash 12oz-Lacey, Other, Multicoloured
  • Suitable for home décor
  • Suitable for arts and crafts projects

Wash your wool sparingly!

Who can resist the warmth and comfort that comes with wearing wool garments? Especially during cold winter nights, cosying up in a wool sweater while relaxing is one of the best feelings ever.

To preserve the lifespan of your wool clothes, refrain from overly washing the garment. After all, it doesn’t have natural, anti-microbial properties for nothing.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment them below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you wear wool before washing it?

It is okay to wear wool more than 5 times before you’ll need to wash it. You can even stretch this out by wearing an undergarment before the wool to prevent it from directly getting in contact with your sweat and oils.

Should you wash 100% wool?

Yes, it is okay to wash a garment that is 100% wool! Make sure to avoid using hot water and only hand wash or put in a delicate wash cycle.

Is it OK if wool gets wet?

Yes, it is okay for wool garments to get wet. Washing them using cold or tepid water would work best to prevent shrinking and damage to the material.

How do you stop wool from smelling?

You can get rid of the “wool smell” by soaking it in a solution of water and white vinegar. Allow it to absorb the moisture for around 30 minutes, then slightly squeeze the garment to remove the excess moisture. If you’re nervous about wetting your wool garment, try sprinkling the fabric with baking soda.

Can vinegar damage wool?

No, vinegar will not damage your wool clothing. In fact, it can help make your garment less itchy and even clean it out. Just make sure to dilute it in water when washing to avoid that vinegar smell.

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