Will Merino Wool Shrink? How To Preserve My Merino Garment

Will merino wool shrink? Merino wool is the most coveted fiber out there. People love merino fiber for its softness to the skin, warmth, and luxury. 

As with every garment, you may wonder about the durability of your merino wool after a wash. Will merino wool shrink? What can you do to ensure your merino wool doesn’t lose strength?

First, you need to know how to wash your merino wool properly. You need to understand what is good or bad for your merino garment, which you will as you continue reading.

Table of Contents

Why Use Merino Wool?

(natural merino wool fiber)

In addition to its soft fibers and temperature-regulating features, merino is also durable, thanks to its elasticity. Environment enthusiasts will also find merino wool a good choice of clothing as it is eco-friendly

Naturally Stretchy

Merino wool is spring-like in structure, which makes it stretchy. Your merino wool will return to its original state after wear. Merino wool fibers are very durable, too, meaning that when the material is stretched, the fibers do not break. 

Naturally Durable

Merino sheep come from regions with harsh climates and hence have the right kind of fur that helps them adapt quickly. Merino sheep wool is long-lasting and a good choice for wear under harsh weather conditions.

Naturally Sustainable

Merino wool is a natural resource from the merino fleece; hence little to no synthesis is required for its production. A merino wool garment is good for the environment as it is renewable and biodegradable.

Will Merino Wool Shrink?

Merino wool does not shrink due to its natural composition and elasticity. You can wash your merino wool under the proper temperatures, and it will remain intact.

In The Washer

Merino wool will not shrink in a washer because of its stretchiness. Use the hand wash mode under low temperatures to wash your merino wool in a washer. However, the safest way to wash your merino wool is by hand.

In The Dryer

The best option is to hang your merino wool and expose it to natural air to dry. Using a dryer for your merino wool could affect its elasticity. If you use a dryer, your merino wool might lose some of its stretchiness because of heat from the dryer.

In Cold Water

Using cold water to wash merino wool is a good option, as hot water can alter its elasticity because of heat. However, it is essential to note that merino wool does not require you to wash it after each use. Merino wool is moisture-wicking and odor-resistant; hang it to dry after use. 

What Makes Merino Wool Shrink?

Merino wool has high elastic properties that prevent shrinkage, but if not appropriately managed, the material could shrink. Wash your merino wool by hand with a simple soap using room-temperature water to avoid damage to the material. If you must use a washing machine or washer, set it at a low temperature and use the hand wash setting. 

How Do You Prevent Merino Wool Garments From Shrinking?

colorful merino scarves

(colorful merino scarves)

Merino wool still needs proper maintenance care if you want your wool to last long. The instructions in this section will help you know how to handle your merino garment to maintain its durability.

Use a Normal Machine to Wash

Merino wool can only withstand mild temperatures, so use the cool or warm wash cycle when using a washing machine. 

Don’t Use Bleach/Softeners

Bleach and fabric softeners contain chemicals harmful to your merino wool; hence refrain from using them to wash.

Bleach destroys the fibers that make your merino wool elastic; softeners coat your merino fiber’s ability to regulate body temperature. Your best option is to wash your merino wool with a simple detergent or soap. 

Hang to Dry

Avoid using a dryer as heat could damage your wool; hang it to dry instead. Merino wool is known to dry quickly, so your garment should be ready for use in a few minutes. Leaving the merino wool to air-dry also ensures it retains its spring-like structure.

Limit Ironing

Merino wool is wrinkle-resistant thanks to its elastic properties; therefore, you don’t have to iron it. If you need to iron the merino material, turn it upside down and use the appropriate ironing settings.

Treat the Garment According to the Instructions

Some merino wool garments require specific special treatment to maintain. Look for the instructions on the label attached to your merino clothing and follow them accordingly. 

How To Unshrink Merino Wool Clothing

knitted merino wool blanket

(knitted merino wool blanket)

If you made a mistake with your merino wool and it shrunk, follow the steps below to restore your garment.

Add Plenty of Warm Water to fill your Sink or Bathtub.

Warm water is okay for merino fiber and will not damage it. Fill the bathtub you want to use for laundry with warm water. The water should be full enough to cover the merino garment completely.

Avoid hot water because the heat molecules will damage the merino wool.

Dissolve Merino Wool in a mixture of Water and Conditioner.

A mixture of water and conditioner is perfect for merino wool. Create an emulsion by adding detergent to the conditioner and water mixture.

You will find some conditioners designed explicitly for wool in the market. You can also use your hair conditioner.

Allow the Merino Wool to Soak for Several Minutes

Soak your merino wool inside the emulsion you made with water, conditioner, and detergent for about twenty minutes. You use conditioner because it passes through every layer of your merino wool, making it easy to reshape.

Press it against the sides of your bathtub or sink to squeeze out water from the wool. Do not twist or wring your merino outfit.

Squeeze out Any Excess Water and Lay Your Garment down on a Towel

Lay your merino wool flat on a towel; lay another towel on top of your merino wool and press. You squeeze out of your merino wool by pressing, not by wringing.

Wringing the merino garment can have the opposite effect of breaking down its elastic properties. Do not leave excess water in your merino wool because it doesn’t help it regain shape.

Ensure that the towels thoroughly absorb water from your merino garment.

Reshape the Object as Needed

Pull back your merino garment until you get your desired shape and size. Target the neck, sleeve, armholes, or other areas that need to be reshaped. 

Wash and Dry Your Merino Wool a Second Time

Rewash your merino wool to remove the conditioner and detergent altogether. After the second wash, reshape the wool to a desired state, then air-dry.


mother and daughter under merino wool blanket

(mother and daughter under merino wool blanket)

Merino wool will not shrink as long as you follow the instructions. Wash it with your hands using low-temperature water and regular soap, and then hang your wool to dry.

Bleach and fiber softener will harm your merino wool, so do not use them.

Since merino wool clothes are naturally stretchy, restrain from ironing them. Also, avoid regularly washing your merino wool because excessive water can remove its stretchiness. 

Finally, follow the instructions given on the label of your garments. Merino from different brands is unique and requires some specific method of maintaining its longevity. If the instructions say to ‘dry clean only’ or ‘hand wash only,’ do so. 

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