Does Merino Wool Shrink After Washing? – Read This Guide

Merino wool is an amazing material that doesn't shrink in the wash. Made from the wool of Australian and New Zealand merino sheep, the wool is incredibly soft, absorbs odors, and is amazingly durable.

A lot of merino owners say that the material is versatile, comfortable, and resistant to odor.

Used for wool socks, sweaters, and other merino garments, you won't worry about having to dry clean or tumble dry your merino stuff when it needs a wash. In order to best care for your garments, use this guide!

Why Use Merino Wool?

A merino garment keeps shape after wearing due to its naturally stretchy structure

Merino wool fibers are highly durable due to the merino's sheep hazardous home

Merino wool comes from a natural resource that does not damage the environment

It makes an excellent base layer in warm or cool weather as it keeps you warm when cold and wicks well when it is hot

It is resistant to shrinking and good long term care and leads to excellent long term base layers and garments

Will Merino Wool Shrink?

Merino wool pieces do not shrink in the washing machine due to the wool fiber's natural springiness. Your pair of hiking socks, sweaters, or any other garment can be washed like any other clothing without fear of shrinkage.

The top tip for best results, using the hand wash setting on a washing machine is an excellent idea. The low temperatures of the water will stop your clothes from becoming damaged.

Following instructions is important, but you shouldn't need to worry too much about shrinkage or the size of the wool changing.

How Much Does Merino Wool Shrink?

Merino wool garments will not generally shrink unless mismanaged, for example, put in for a tumble dry or being exposed to bleach.

The wool garment can withstand gentle washing at lower temperatures which won't destroy the fibers. There may be a bit of shrinkage for clothes which are put through a wash too frequently as they are exposed to excess water, but the springiness of the material should allow it to stretch back out.

Is flat drying safe?

Some users shared their experience online, saying that leaving it flat to dry can cause a small amount of shrinking that goes when worn. Replies to these comments disputed this, so it depends on the product.

Can I Wash Merino Wool Garments in a Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash merino wool fibers on a normal machine wash. A regular machine cycle is all that your garments need.

The springy wool makes a garment keep its shape. Some products state that the material should be hand washed in cold water, but for most merino wool this is unnecessary.

Follow the instructions that come with your garment. All garments are different, so check and check again.

What settings should I use on my washing machine?

Using regular detergent liquid or powder will be fine for a machine cycle and should not damage the garment. Keeping to a gentle cycle and a low heat is advisable for those who are worried about the product losing its fantastic qualities.

How often do you wash merino wool?

This wool does not need to be washed often at all. Even a merino base or a balaclava does not need frequent washing as it is very resistant to odor.

According to online users, this wool can last up to twice as long before it needs to be washed. One user shared that they had to clean their synthetics every 2 days, but our natural alternative lasts up to 5 days before it starts to smell! Only one time a week is impressive!

Your wool only needs to be washed when it begins to smell and the material will not generally shrink if cared for properly. Check the manufacturer's instructions before washing.

Should I be dry cleaning the wool?

You do not have to dry clean this type of wool. The best way to treat everything made out of it is to put it in for a hand wash setting machine treatment.

Detergent - Which to Use for Merino Wool

Merino garments generally do not need special detergents. In fact, they can cause damage. Use a regular detergent and avoid fabric softener for best results.

Wool detergent is designed for regular wool, which is heavier and coarser than merino wool. If you use it with your garments, the clothes can be damaged.

How can harsh chemicals affect Merino?

Using harsh chemicals with the wool will destroy the clothing. Bleach will break down every merino fiber and destroy the elasticity of the garments. Using fabric softener will cover the wool fibers and stop it from regulating warm or cool, instead of acting as a hair conditioner for the material.

How to Dry Merino Wool after Washing

Merino material really needs air drying to protect the materials and ensure that it does not shrink severely. For those still worried about any garment that they need to wash, proper care here will make sure the answer is no!

For most merino clothing like a base layer or any large garment, you will need to leave it to hang dry. This will allow excess water to dry off the material without having to expose the fibers to severe heat.

How do I wash 100% merino wool socks?

An exception to this, according to user experience, is a pair of socks. You can turn these inside out and tumble dry them. Other clothing in the dryer can damage the material, such as loose zips, so make sure that you check your dryer in order to protect your clothing!

Can I Leave my Merino Wool to Flat Dry?

If you want to leave the clothes to dry flat, expect a feeling of some shrinkage. This should be corrected by wearing as it expands comfortably up to 30% without damaging the garment.

Leave the clothes on top of a flat surface that is dry and warm. This is all you have to do until the garment is dry.


This material generally does not shrink in the wash, but you need to make sure that you follow the instructions that the manufacturers have given. The good general advice is to use a regular detergent and use the hand washing setting on the machine (if you do not want to hand wash).

Avoid using a tumble dryer and instead, hang to dry. This will help the clothes last longer and it will improve your experience with your new miracle material garment.

Andrew Mullen

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