Style

How to: Care for Merino Wool (At Home)

By Style Girlfriend | Last Updated: Oct 18 2016

{Rapha merino wool sweater}

Why wool?

By now, you know how to care for cashmere, but what about wool? Specifically, merino wool.

Another winter staple in many men’s wardrobes, merino wool comes from merino sheep, considered to have some of the softest and finest wool of any sheep (a fact I’m sure they brag about when interacting with unruly, coarse-haired flocks).

If you’ve ever worn an itchy wool sweater, it definitely wasn’t merino wool, for a couple reasons. Like your skin, merino wool is made up of keratin, which is why it feels super soft when you wear something made of the fiber. Merino wool also distinguishes itself from traditional wool because the fibers are fine and don’t have “barbs,” responsible for that itch factor. Impressively, merino wool is also fire resistant and moisture-absorbent, so whether you’re wearing socks, sweaters or work out gear, you will be  safe, soft and warm all day long.

Of course, because it’s a natural fiber that does all those great things, when it’s made into clothing, it can cost a pretty penny. So it’s worth taking the time to make sure it’s cleaned in a safe, gentle way.

Below, the super simple way to care for your merino wool at home:

When to wash it

Like cashmere, wool does not have to be washed each time you wear it. It will stay nicer longer if you wash it every 2-3 wears and spot clean as needed in between.

How to wash it

In order to keep you wool soft and fresh, it’s best to hand wash it. Yes, ignore the tags that say dry clean only. By hand washing your merino wool you can save some money and prevent contact with unnecessary harsh chemicals. Merino wool is made up of woven fibers and the chemicals could get caught in the fibers. The chemicals also sometimes have a weird reaction and make the wool shiny and weird.  And avoid machine washing, which can cause pilling. Fill a sink or bowl with warm water and a mild soap like Woolite. Soak for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to rub the wool against itself because it pills very easily. Gently, rinse with warm water to get the soap out.

How to dry it

Lay the item on a towel and roll it up to get the excess water out. Reshape the item and lay flat so it dries unwrinkled. Keep away from heat so it won’t shrink.

Tell us:

Does your closet boast much merino wool? How do you care for it?