Can You Wash Wool Clothes In Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Wool Clothes In Washing Machine

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In our modern age of convenience, most of us don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to hand-wash our clothing. Yet, many of us still feel a sense of apprehension when we consider tossing our favourite wool sweaters into the washing machine. This is understandable, considering that wool has a reputation for shrinking and warping when exposed to heat and agitation. However, the question remains: can you wash wool clothes in a washing machine?

The answer, to the surprise of many, is yes. With the right precautions, you can maintain the quality of your wool garments while benefiting from the convenience of machine washing.

Dos and don’ts of When Washing Wool Clothes In Washing Machine


  • Always check the care label on your garment. If it says ‘machine washable,’ you can safely wash the garment in your machine. However, if the label says ‘dry clean only,’ it’s advisable not to risk washing it at home.
  • Opt for a gentle or wool cycle on your machine. This cycle is specifically designed for delicate fabrics like wool, using cold water and slow spins to prevent shrinkage and distortion.
  • Use a specialized wool detergent. Regular laundry detergents can be harsh on wool fibers, leading to damage. Wool-specific detergents are gentler and help maintain the integrity of the fibers.
  • Place your wool items in a mesh laundry bag before washing. This adds an extra layer of protection against the mechanical stress of washing.


  • Don’t use bleach or fabric softeners. These products can damage the wool fibers and affect the garment’s texture and color.
  • Don’t wash wool with heavy or zipped garments. These could cause friction and pull the wool out of shape.
  • Don’t tumble dry wool garments. The heat and agitation can cause the wool to shrink or warp.
  • Don’t wring out wet wool clothes. This can stretch the fibers and distort the shape of the garment.

Steps to Wash Wool Clothes in the Washing Machine

Follow these steps for optimal results:

Step 1 Check the Care Label:

Always read the care label first. If it specifies that the garment is machine washable, proceed with the following steps. If not, consider alternative washing methods or professional dry cleaning.

Step 2 Prep Your Woolen Garment:

Brush the wool garment gently to remove surface dirt and dust. Pre-treat any stains with a gentle stain remover suitable for wool.

Step 3 Use a Mesh Bag:

Place the wool garment inside a mesh laundry bag to protect it from the harsh washing process.

Step 4 Set Your Machine:

Choose the gentle or wool cycle on your washing machine. This will ensure the machine uses cold water and spins slowly to protect your garment.

Step 5 Use Wool-Friendly Detergent:

Add a wool-friendly detergent to the machine. These detergents are designed to preserve the integrity of wool fibers.

Step 6 Dry Properly:

Once the cycle is finished, gently squeeze out excess water without wringing the garment. Lay the item flat on a clean towel and reshape it carefully. Let it air dry away from direct heat or sunlight.

Alternative Washing Methods

If you’re not comfortable washing your wool clothes in the washing machine, hand washing is a gentle alternative. Fill a basin with cold water and a small amount of wool-friendly detergent. Gently swirl the garment in the water, let it soak for up to ten minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out excess water, lay the item flat on a clean towel, and reshape it before air-drying.

Professional dry cleaning is another option for garments labelled as ‘dry clean only.’ Dry cleaners use specialized processes and chemicals to clean wool garments without damaging them.


Can all wool items be washed in a washing machine?

Answer: Not all wool items can be machine washed. Always check the garment’s care label first. If it states ‘machine washable,’ then it’s safe. If it says ‘dry clean only,’ it’s best to adhere to these instructions.

Can I use regular detergent for washing wool?

Answer: It’s better to use a wool-specific detergent as regular detergents can damage the wool fibers. Wool detergents are gentle and help maintain the garment’s structure and softness.

Why should I use a mesh bag for washing wool?

Answer: A mesh bag provides an additional layer of protection for your wool clothes. It reduces friction and prevents the garment from being pulled out of shape during the wash cycle.

Can I dry my wool clothes in the dryer?

Answer: No, wool garments should never be tumble-dried. The heat from the dryer can cause wool to shrink or warp. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water and lay the garment flat to air dry.

What if my wool garment has a stain?

Answer: Treat stains before washing with a gentle stain remover suitable for wool. Don’t rub the stain, as this can cause it to spread or set further into the fibers.

Final Words

Washing wool garments need not be a daunting task. With the right knowledge and techniques, you can easily maintain your wool clothes’ appearance and longevity. Even though machine washing is convenient and time-saving, always ensure you follow the appropriate steps to safeguard your garments. Remember to check care labels, use a gentle cycle, and opt for wool-specific detergents. By doing so, your woolen wear will continue to provide the warmth, comfort, and style you cherish for many years to come.

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