Can I wash wool?

1 February 2016

People often wonder if they can wash wool. The short answer is yes. Wool’s wonderful natural properties, such as odour and stain resistance, mean wool clothes do not need to be washed very often. And whilst many people remember tales from the yesteryear of shrunken sweaters and hours over the hand basin, innovations mean many items of wool clothing can be machine washed and tumble dried.

Can I wash wool?

You can wash your wool apparel with confidence at home if your Woolmark-approved garment’s care claim says ‘machine wash’. Thanks to modern technology, some care claims even say ‘tumble dry’, so you can dry your clothes and avoid shrinkage.

Don't understand the care claims on your clothing? Read our article on washing instructions explained.

Clothes carrying the Woolmark Machine Washable label can be safely machine washed in a washing machine multiple times, without shrinkage taking place. Ideally garments carrying such labels should be washed on the wool setting (usually gentle action at 40°C). If your washing machine does not have a wool cycle, then it is recommended to use the cold water wash or wash cycle for delicates. It is recommended that garments are flat dried after washing.

You may even notice that your washing machine or tumble dryer has the Woolmark Apparel Care symbol on it, which means that your machine has passed rigorous and independent testing and has been approved by The Woolmark Company.

If your garment states Hand Wash Only, then hand wash in clean, lukewarm water, approximately 30°C, using a mild and gentle detergent. Allow to soak for a period of 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly firstly in lukewarm water, then finally in cold water.

Remember, if in doubt, hand wash is the best option. It is also recommended to used a Woolmark-approved detergent where possible.

Find Woolmark-approved products in your country.

The Woolmark Company has released a Wool Care Guide app, placing information on apparel care at the tip of your fingers. Available for all Apple and android devices, the Wool Care Guide app can be downloaded free-of-charge via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.