Pool PartyApp is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Just bought your first item of Merino Wool? Follow these washing instructions to make it last a lifetime.
We all know and love Merino Wool – but especially we hunters. It’s soft against our skin, it’s moisture wicking, it’s odor resistant. When it comes to garments suitable for long periods in the field, there is no better material. It is as fine as you will get. Take care of it properly, and your Merino Wool garment will last for years to come, even decades.
However, this type of wool isn’t like ordinary material. You can’t just throw it in the wash cycle and hope for the best. It could snag or lose its pattern. It might become stretched out of shape if you wash it at too high a temperature, and so on. Wool is fickle. You must care for it properly or you will need to replace it.
Here is our list of warnings about how to take care of your Merino Wool to make it last forever. First, let’s recap on what Merino Wool is and why it is the hunters’ number 1 base layer wear of all time.
What is Merino and Why do Hunters Love It?
Merino Wool is a specific type of wool that comes from the Merino species of sheep. Merino sheep originated in 12th century Spain, although sources believe they were Moorish to begin with. The wool is so valuable because of its fine, crinkly fibers that interlock to create a dense material.
Hunters love Merino Wool products and usually use them as base layers, making the foundation of their clothing. It is super soft, warm against the skin, moisture wicking, odor resistant, and will last for decades if you treat it well. The trick lies in taking good care of your merino garments to help them last the distance. Here’s how you can do this, without destroying your wool.
The 5 Things to Avoid When Washing Merino Wool
Don’t just toss your new Merino in the tumble dryer. Stop what you are about to do and read this first.
1 – Keep the Temperature Low
You do not want to wash any kind of wool at a high temperature. Make sure it is cool, although a warm (not hot) wash cycle is acceptable. If you put any wool items in a hot wash, they will either shrink or become incredibly baggy. Either way, you will be out of pocket and out of style. Nobody wants to spend good money on a quality item only to wreck it before they even get to wear it, so make sure you keep that cycle turned down. Bonus: it’s good for the environment, too.
2 – Don’t Use Softener
When we apply fabric softener to our wash, it coats the fibers of the material and makes them soft and slick. If we do that with Merino wool, we get soft, slick wool that doesn’t hold together as well. Since the fibers are less crinkled, they don’t tangle together. This can lead to rips and snags long term. Fabric softener can lessen the effects of moisture wicking and temperature regulation in Merino, too. Just avoid it. It’s for the best.
3 – Air Dry it
Your new Merino Wool gear should be air dried to extend the shelf life of the product. Putting wool in a tumble dryer is never a good idea anyway. As we already mentioned, heat can distend the garment or even make it shrink. Ideally, hanging your new wool garments on the washing line will allow a breezy finish that makes your wool smell nice. This is far better than risking damage by drying it in the dryer.
4 – Don’t Iron the Embellishments
If your merino wool is an outer layer garment, it might well come with patterns, labels, or other embellishments on it. If you want it to last a long time, you need to avoid ironing these. Often, they are iron-on in the first place. This means that it will peel off when you put the iron on it a second time. Avoid ironing and this shouldn’t happen.
5 – Don’t Leave the Zippers Open
If your new Merino Wool garment comes with zippers or buttons, make sure they are all closed when you put it in the wash. Merino Wool fibers can become torn or snagged in the open zips if you are not careful. Close them up before you put them in the wash – and for goodness’ sake, empty the pockets.
Treat Merino Right and it will Last a Lifetime
If you start off with a high-quality Merino Wool piece and you wash it properly, you should still have it for years to come. Remember to turn it inside out when you are washing it too, as this will help protect any patterns on the surface.