wool sweater in washing machine

Can You Wash Wool in a Washing Machine

At Charlie’s Soap, we are big fans of wool. Activewear made from materials like merino wool is extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts and athletes during all seasons of the year due to its breathability and durability – not to mention it’s naturally sourced! But wool gets a bad rap for being a difficult fabric leaving many people asking “can you wash wool in a washing machine?”

Charlie’s Soap puts such a high value on wool because it requires less cleaning than clothing made from synthetic materials or cotton. Because you need to wash wool less than other fabrics, you don’t consume as many resources in keeping it clean. As such, wool is great for the environment.

It can’t be denied there are many perks to purchasing wool clothing– but do you have to hand wash wool, or can you wash it in the washing machine? The answer is yes, machine washing wool can be perfectly safe, but it does take a special touch to machine wash this material correctly. While certain harsh detergents are known to damage wool, a gentle detergent like Charlie’s Soap does the job of getting it clean without harming the material.

Can You Wash Wool in a Washing Machine?

You can put many types of wool in the washing machine if you take the appropriate steps. However, before putting wool in the washer, have a look at the care label to ensure it is ok to wash the fabric this way. In fact, according to the New York Times, it’s actually better to wash your wool garments at home instead of having them dry cleaned. The exception to that rule is when the care label specifies dry clean only.

No matter what type of wool you are dealing with, it’s safe to assume you should always wash the garments on a gentle cycle with cold water. In like fashion, you should always plan on air-drying wool.

Does Laundry Detergent Damage Wool?

While this isn’t the case with every detergent, many laundry detergents use harsh chemicals, but don’t necessarily disclose to customers exactly what is found in their formulas. Please note that harsh chemicals and additives found in many detergents can cause severe damage to quality wool garments.

There are a number of chemicals commonly found in many leading laundry detergents (but not Charlie’s!) that will quickly degrade wool items. Solvents such as acetone, ethanol, and alcohol are common additives found in detergents that easily damage wool garments and knits. Due to their corrosive nature, solvents should never be used on wool.

Laundry detergents that use enzymes can do serious damage to your wool garments. In fact, just a couple of washes with enzymes will may the protein in wool and cause holes and pilling in fabrics. Unfortunately for consumers, many detergent brands simply don’t disclose exactly what is contained in their formulas. There are a few brands of detergent specifically designed for wool fibers, and you can absolutely trust the gentle cleaning power of Charlie’s Soap for washing wool garments.

Do I Need to Use Wool Detergent for Washing Wool?

The final piece to consider for cleaning wool in a washing machine is using a detergent free of additives, and enzymes. While specialty wool detergents do exist, Charlie’s Soap All Natural Detergent is a highly effective detergent that is 100% safe for wool.

Charlie’s Soap uses all-natural ingredients and smart science to get your wool clothing clean. Whether you have a HE washer or traditional machine, our natural detergent will get your wool clothing clean without causing damage.

Because wool requires less washing than other materials, the simple act of buying wool clothing helps conserve water and other resources. When combined with an eco-friendly detergent like Charlie’s Soap, spending your money on wool is a great way to help protect the earth.

Tips for Washing Wool with Charlie’s Soap

To get the best results when washing wool sweaters or wool blankets in the washing machine with Charlie’s Soap, you should follow a specific order of operations.

  1. Set your washing machine to delicate and the water temperature to cold or cool water
  2. If you are washing a wool sweater place the garment in cool water for 5-10 minutes before washing to prevent shrinkage.
  3. Before placing the garment in the washer, be sure to put it in a laundry bag to keep it from getting snagged – this is especially true of cashmere. Set the washer to the wool cycle if you have one, or the delicate cycle if you don’t.
  4. Add the appropriate amount of Charlie’s Soap detergent (we recommend liquid detergent for cold water cycles).
  5. Take the wool garment out of the machine immediately after the load is finished.
  6. Remove excess water by gently wringing the garment, arranging it in its original shape on a dry towel, and laying it flat to dry. We typically don’t recommend using a drying rack.
  7. Charlie’s Soap is extremely effective at removing dirt and odor from wool, and you should not have to wash your woolen fabrics often. However, we do recommend using a wool conditioner after every 6 washes or so.

Contact Charlie’s Soap with Questions 

If you have questions other than “can you wash wool in a washing machine with Charlie’s Soap” we are happy to help! Please contact us via phone or email with questions!

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