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February 28, 2022 4 min read

Let’s be honest, Merino wool can be a little more expensive than synthetic garments on the market, making it all the more important to try to extend the life of your awesome Merino gear. The team at Roman Trail would like to share four ways to make your Merino wool last.

Don’t Wash After Every Use

Yes, you read that correctly above that you shouldn’t be washing your Merino wool after every use, especially if it is a base layer. Don’t worry; you will not turn into the smelly kid due to some of the incredible Merino wool features. Since Merino is naturally antimicrobial, it doesn’t need to be cleaned after every time that you wear it. This feature helps make Merino garments perfect for multi-day hiking and camping trips.

Wool Detergent for the Win

Did you know that the wrong kind of detergent can ruin your Merino? People often mistake unexpected holes in their Merino wool garments due to it being a low-quality product when it is the detergent used during the washing process. Not sure if you have a suitable detergent? Well, have no fear; we will break it down, so you know exactly what to select. Unfortunately, detergents that include bleach, detergents that are considered “heavy-duty stain lifters,” or contain bio enzymes destroy the Merino fibers. So instead, focus on choosing a mild detergent. They have a more neutral pH level that is easier on the wool. If you are unsure if your detergent is considered a mild-detergent and prefer to be extra careful, wool-specific detergents are also available.

How to Wash Your Merino When You Do

Washing your Merino wool can usually be done by hand or tossing your garment in the washing machine. However, it is essential always to read the label to see what the manufacturer recommends. For example, the label could indicate handwashing, machine washing, or even dry clean only. If your Merino garment allows hand or machine washing as an option, you will want the water temperature to be either cold, cool, or warm. Next, you will want to make sure you use a mild detergent, as discussed above. Since most washing machines do not have agitators these days, the standard wash setting is sufficient for getting rid of the detergent while still being gentle enough on your clothes. Next, let’s talk about the drying process.

Dry the Right Way

The safest way to dry your Merino wool is by air-drying. However, even if you put your dryer on delicates or tumble dry low, you still risk the possibility of your Merino garment shrinking. So instead, we recommend placing your damp garment flat on a towel to air dry.

Potential Merino Wool Problems & How to Fix Them

Shrinking

Did you accidentally switch over your laundry, and your Merino wool made its way into the dryer? Have no fear, as that can happen to anyone. Your item isn’t ruined but might require a little extra TLC. Follow these simple steps to restore your Merino wool top or bottom to its original size.

  1. Place your garment in a tub of lukewarm water
  2. Add a few drops of a gentle soap such as baby shampoo
  3. Allow your garment to soak for 20-30 minutes to begin to loosen the fibers
  4. Gently remove the excess water by placing the garment flat on a towel. Gently start to roll the towel and press lightly to eliminate excess water.
  5. Lay your Merino item flat on a new dry towel
  6. Allow to air dry completely

Pilling

Pilling can be another issue that you might encounter. Pilling is where little round balls of fiber form on the garment, usually in high friction areas. First, we recommend washing your Merino wool items after about the third time you have worn them. Next, about every six months, it is safe to wash your Merino with a more abrasive material such as denim which will help to remove the pilling. These tips will help keep your Merino looking its best.

FAQ

Can you wash 100% merino wool?

Yes, you can and will want to wash your 100% Merino wool garments. Using a mild wool detergent and cold, cool or warm water will help clean your Merino item but help to increase its longevity.

How often do you need to wash merino wool?

Depending on how much you sweated while wearing your Merino wool, we recommend that you wash your base layer after every 3-5 times wearing it. If you plan to store your Merino wool clothing for a longer period before wearing it again, make sure to wash it first.

Does merino wool shrink when washed?

Merino wool can shrink if the incorrect detergent, washing method, or drying technique is used. Simply follow our instructions for the best results with our base layers.

Do you need special detergent for merino wool?

A special wool detergent that does not include fabric softener is recommended to prolong the life of your Merino clothes, but many mild-detergents can also be sufficient.

The Bottom Line

How you care for your Merino wool top or pants significantly impacts how long they last. We hope that by following our tips and tricks, your Merino will continue to perform during all of your adventures.


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