You might be wondering just what makes merino wool different from regular wool. The term wool refers to a fiber produced from the hide of an animal. The most common sources of wool are goats, alpacas, and sheep. Merino wool is named for the animal this particular kind of wool is harvested from, Merino sheep.
As previously stated, Merino wool garments are hardy articles of clothing that last. The best way to make sure you continue to wear merino is to take care of it properly. In addition to all of the other benefits of wearing merino, there are also the perks of its low-maintenance care. This fabric is resistant to wrinkles and stains, anti-bacterial, and anti-odor. This means you can wear your favorite merino clothing a number of times before washing it. In fact, it’s best for the longevity of your garments that you don’t wash them after every wear. After engaging in low-impact activities, especially where you don’t sweat much, simply air out your wool by hanging it up for a few hours. Even if your garment ends up with a couple of spot stains, use a mild spot cleaner rather than washing the entire article. The only time you should wash these kinds of clothing is when you have worn it several times or used it during an activity where you sweat heavily. Due to its breathability, ability to manage moisture, and ability to fight odor-causing bacteria, your merino clothing will stay fresh and relatively clean no matter what adventures you put them through. Less washing not only means more time on your favorite trail but also less environmental impact from loads of laundry.
You might wonder does merino wool shrink? Does it need dry cleaning? Wool is often thought of as a rather high-maintenance fabric that has to be hand-washed, but this isn’t always the case. As stated previously, Merino wool specifically is rather low maintenance, requiring less washing than other fibers and doing just fine with machine washing. Just how we wash merino wool can depend on a couple of factors, including the mix of materials in the clothing. Merino wool garments are typically either 100% merino wool or 80% merino wool and 20% polyester. Wool/polyester blends are more common as they are usually softer and more durable than unblended merino, so blends wash better and last longer. Though Merino wool can be machine washed, hand washing is not only better for your clothes, it also helps them last longer and uses less water than a machine or dry cleaning. The reason dry cleaning isn’t a great option is due to the solvents and detergents dry cleaners use that will degrade the fibers in merino clothing.
STEP 1Gather wool detergent (or a mild detergent with no softener) and a washbasin or sink that holds water.
STEP 2Fill the washbasin or sink with cold or warm water, add 2 capfuls of detergent to the water and stir.
STEP 3Turn your wool inside out and submerge it in the water and stir to distribute the soap.
STEP 4Soak for at least 10 minutes then drain the tub and rinse the item well until the water runs clear.
STEP 5Press the water out of the wool and hang dry.