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Does Merino Wool Shrink? Everything You Need To Know

Merino wool is an expensive fabric and needs to be handled with care. The material is a natural fiber obtained from the Merino sheep. This type of wool is characterized by its soft and thin feel. Most people prefer merino wool because of its many advantages.

If you own a merino wool clothing and you want to know if it shrinks, then this post is for you. In this article, we will cover the answer to the question, how to unshrink merino wool and maintenance tips for the material.

Does Merino Wool Shrink?

Normally, merino wool doesn’t shrink. But when it is exposed to a high temperature, it can cause the wool to shrink. This usually happens when you use a dryer to dry the material. To prevent the probability of that happening, it is best to avoid exposing the material to a high temperature.

How Much Does A Merino Wool Shrink?

A merino wool clothing can shrink down to a size or two depending on the degree of heat it is exposed to. The good news is that the material can bounce back to its original size.

How To Unshrink The Merino Wool?

Let’s assume that you already made the mistake. You mistakenly placed the merino wool clothes with other clothing items inside your wash and dry cycle. If that is the case, you don’t have to worry. There are steps you can take to unshrink merino wool clothing.

Step 1. Prep Lukewarm water

Fill a tub or big bowl with lukewarm water. Ensure the water isn’t too hot because heat will cause the clothing to shrink. Also, the water should be enough to completely soak the clothing item (s).

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Step 2. Add Conditioner

The next step is to pour a generous amount of conditioner in lukewarm water and stir to dissolve the conditioner. It is best to use conditioners specially made for wool materials. That is wool-specific conditioners. You can order one here on Amazon. If you don’t have a wool-specific conditioner, a hair conditioner can come in handy too.

Step 3. Soak And Leave

Soak the merino wool clothing inside the water mix and allow to soak for at least 20 minutes. You can turn the clothing inside the water after every 5 minutes to allow the conditioner to penetrate every part of the fabric.

Step 4. Squeeze Excess Water

You don’t have to rinse the clothing after you remove it from the water with a conditioner. Simply squeeze out the excess water in the clothing and lay it on either a towel or a blanket. If the clothing item is small, a towel is ok, but for bigger items, you need a blanket.

Step 5. Stretch To Correct Size

After you lay the clothing item on a blanket or towel, you carefully stretch the clothing to its original size. You have to do the stretching gradually and you have to complete it before the clothing dries out. Ensure not to clip the edges of the clothing as you stretch. Just lay it on the towel and work on it.

Step 6. Rewash The Merino Wool

After you are done with the stretching, you have to wash the item again and finally dry it. The purpose is to wash out any trace of conditioner remaining in the clothing. Check below to see the proper way to wash merino wool clothing.  Ensure you use cool water to wash. After that, air dry the clothing.

How To Wash Merino Wool Clothing To Avoid Shrinking

The merino wool clothing item is delicate. You have to be careful when washing to avoid damaging the fabric. This is the step-to-step guide on the right way to wash your merino wool clothing.

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Step 1. Prepare Wash Water

You can either hand-wash or use a washing machine for your merino wool clothing. Whichever one you use, ensure you use cool water. Using hot water to wash this type of wool will cause it to shrink. So you have to avoid hot water. Also, if possible, wash this material alone. Run cool water on your machine or big washbowl. Add a mild liquid soap or wool-safe detergent to the water.  

Step 2. Soak and Wash

Soak the clothing inside the wash water and leave for several minutes. You don’t have to use excessive force when washing the clothing. That is why it is advisable to soak the item to loosen the stain and dirt. After some minutes, gently wash the clothing.

Step 3. Thoroughly Rinse

Run another cool water in the washbowl or wash machine and rinse the clothing thoroughly. Ensure you don’t leave any trace of detergent or soap on the item. The clothing is quite delicate and leaving traces of soap or detergent on it can cause long-term damage. It is advisable to rinse a couple of times. Add white vinegar into subsequent rinse water can help completely remove the soap or detergent.  

Step 4. Dry

Hang the clothing on a cloth line and allow it to dry. It is best to air dry and not dry with a machine. Also, ensure the clothing dries completely before you bring it inside to avoid moths on the cloth.

Maintenance Tips For Merino Wool Clothing

a. Always Read The Clothing Label

Clothing labels contain some of the dos and don’ts of maintaining the clothing. For instance, some merino wool labels advise not to dry clean. Ensure you read the label on your merino wool clothing and follow the maintenance instructions.

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b. Don’t Use Fabric Softener

The fabric softener isn’t good for merino wool fibers. Fabric softeners reduce the ability of the cloth to regulate temperature and moisture.

c. Don’t Use Bleach

At all costs, avoid using bleach on merino wool clothing. This is because the chlorine in bleach spoils the wool fibers in the material.

d. Avoid Ironing Unless Necessary

The good thing about merino wool is that the crease on the material will fall out naturally after the material dries. Thus, there is no need to iron the material. Also, iron will shrink the material. If there is an extreme need to iron a merino wool fabric, ensure you turn it inside out and use extremely low heat to iron.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens To Merino Wool In The Dryer?

Using merino wool in a dryer will subject it to high heat which will cause the fabric to shrink. To avoid shrinking, it is best to set it to low-heat. It is best to use a low heat dryer instead of hanging because hanging can cause merino wool to stretch.

Is It Ok To Wash Merino Wool?

Yes. You can wash merino wool with either a washing machine or hand wash. As long as you don’t subject the fabric to heat and avoid using fabric softener or bleach on the fabric.

Why Do People Prefer Merino Wool To Other Fabrics?

There are several reasons why merino wool is better than other similar fabrics. These are some of the reasons:

  • It regulates body temperature
  • Keeps you swear-free and dry
  • Has odor-resistant features
  • It is soft
  • The material is fire-resistant
  • It is biodegradable.


So far, everything you need to know about shrinking and unshrinking merino wool material has been outlined in this post. Also, you will find maintenance tips to help your fabric last longer.