Taking care of 100% Merino Wool

01.02.2019

Photo: Wix archive

 

 

Many people are a bit scared when it comes to taking care of Merino wool. They are so scared that they refuse to have the comfort of wearing it. Merino wool is really an investment in your wardrobe but believe that you will not regret purchasing it. All you must do is learn how to take good care of the Merino wool and it will reward you for that.

 

SHRINKING

The basic attribute of 100% Merino wool (or any 100% wool) is shrinkage. The wool cannot withstand a sharp temperature fluctuation. That is why the first important rule is to avoid violent temperature changes. Simply put – say no to ice cold or hot water or washing in cold water and then drying directly above the heater.

 

WRINGING and SPIN-DRYING

The second thing that Merino doesn’t like is fast spin-drying. High spin speeds are taboo. They are not gentle and there is a danger that you take out from the washing machine something only good for a doll. Today's washing machines normally have a delicate wool cycle – and as you can see – the spin speed is at a maximum of 800 rpm and there are breaks from washing. The water temperature is usually maintained between 30°C - 40°C and that is enough for the clean wash. The dryer is also a taboo because it works with a hot air in combination with high spin speed. However, thanks to merino air permeability and the porous structure, it dries so fast, that you will never miss a dryer.

 

LINT

Another natural property of wool is pilling. Lint is small loose pieces of wool that stick on the surface that don’t change the functionality but aren’t aesthetically nice. It is created at the area of rubbing - between the thighs, underarms, on your back where you have a backpack, and with crawling kids the area is usually everywhere except their back (unless they crawl on their back :) ). Remember - lint isn’t anything to be too worried about, it is not a defect of the material, but it’s a sign of using that spoils the look of your, not just wool, clothes.

But can minimise the lint. Do you know how? By washing Merino garments correctly. It is true that Merino can be washed in any of your favourite products, however, those designed specifically for wool are the most suitable.

In one of the previous articles we talked about lanolin, which is a great helper against lint. It wraps the fibres of the wool and smooths it so it will not tend to pill. Lint is visible if you wash more colours together and you don’t turn all the clothes inside out – it is therefore ideal to turn all the clothes inside out before each washing. Also be sure to fasten all zippers (jumpsuits, sweatshirts) and to put summer (thin) Merino into a mesh laundry bag used for washing delicate clothes. If you don’t own a bag like that, you can use a smaller pillowcase. This will work as a protection from the sharp parts of the inside of your washing machine.

However, you can manually remove the lint from the clothes. Using a battery-operated lint remover is not recommended (as well as cutting the lint with scissors or cut them off with a razor blade). The reason is because even if you are very cautious you can disrupt the wool fibres and make a hole in your clothes. However, we have had the chance to try a type of lint remover which is suitable for materials with long fibres and we are currently testing it for you and maybe it will make us change our mind about lint removers.

The most ideal option is hand washing. Are you scared of it because it would be like living in the Stone Age? Thanks to the fact that Marino is self-cleaning and antibacterial, we wash it minimally and most of the times we only air it. So, take the hand wash as a relaxing activity for example. It is not so much time consuming as you might think :)

Let’s take a closer look.

 

HAND WASH

You will need:

bucket, gall soap* (or something with the same effects), washing gel for wool (containing lanolin) and towel

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

We turn everything inside out and soak in cold/lukewarm water and we pre-soap any stains (from deodorants, food, etc.) with gall soap. If we don’t have any large stains, a few minutes should be enough. If we have some heavy stains, we can let it work overnight.

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

Then wash the laundry in the same water to remove the maximum of soap.

 

We fill the bucket with warm water (to keep our hand in it) and we add a gel with lanolin. We softly roll clothes in the water to simulate washing in the washing machine and then we leave the clothes in the water to soak for about 10-15 minutes. Lanolin will have the time to get into the thread so that the clothes can seem a bit greasy but that is completely normal. Wring the clothes softly. DO NOT wring by twisting it! It’s inconsiderate for the wool and the shape of the product.

 

The next step is to rinse clothes in fresh lukewarm water to get rid of the detergent residues. We again work carefully, just roll the clothes in the water and gently squeeze out the excess water.

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

After that, we use the towel. Spread your garment on the towel and roll it up.

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

We squeeze the towel and excess water soaks into it. Merino dries very quickly, so after squeezing your garment into the towel we spread it horizontally/flat on your dryer (we recommend to place it on a dry towel, so you avoid having the structure of dryer pressed into your clothes) and do not forget to straighten the seams.

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

Or you can hang your garment on a hanger and dry it that way.

CAUTION! The hanger needs to be either shorter or round, so that it doesn’t press the hanger’s structure into your clothes.

CAUTION! Be aware of outdoor cats which can be attracted by clothes hanged this way to sharpen their claws and could easily ruin your clothes. It is always safer to dry your clothes at home.

 

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

And it’s done. I personally take Merino washing as a relax – a kind of ritual that I want to reward wool for the comfort that brings me. So, don’t be scared even if you have a washing machine, just hand wash from time to time :)

 

STORAGE

The off-season storage is also an essential part of the Merino care. Do not store summer (thin) Merino, you can wear it nonstop all year round.

However, winter (warm) Merino can really lie around in the summer so put it in the plastic/vacuum bag along with lavender soap that will protect the Merino against clothes moths.

Photo: Crawler Archive

 

If you have your proven advice and tips on how to take care of the Merino wool, we will be happy if you decide to share them with us. There is always something to learn :)

 

* Gall soap (with animal bile) efficiently removes individual stains particularly of organic origin (grease, fruit and vegetables, blood, ink, grass, red wine, soil etc.).

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