Does Merino Wool Shrink When Washed? - FITS®

November 29, 2022

Did you recently get a beautiful merino wool sweater or a cozy pair of men's merino wool socks or women's merino wool socks that you love? If so, you’re probably wondering how to care for merino wool items, so they last for years to come. But does merino wool shrink? And, if so, how can you wash and dry it, so it doesn’t? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more! 

What is Merino Wool, and Does Merino Wool Shrink?

Merino wool is a type of wool that comes from merino sheep. The wool is extremely fine, soft, and lightweight, making it ideal for clothing. In addition, merino wool is highly breathable and regulates temperature well, making it a popular choice for activewear. However, one downside of merino wool is that it can shrink if not properly cared for. But does merino wool shrink when washed, or does merino wool shrink in the dryer? Keep reading to find out and learn how to avoid shrinking your merino wool socks and clothes. 

What Happens if You Machine Wash Merino Wool?

The convenience of a washing machine makes us want to throw all our clothes inside to clean them quickly and efficiently. But what happens if you machine wash your merino wool socks? 

Because most washers have a “gentle” cycle, you can get away with throwing your merino wool items in the wash. But does merino wool shrink when washed? It can, but if you follow these steps, your wool socks most likely won’t shrink in the washing machine.

  1. Wash your merino wool in cold or lukewarm water. (Hot water can cause shrinkage and damage the fibers.)
  2. Use a mild detergent. 
  3. Avoid using anything with bleach or harsh chemicals. 
  4. Machine wash your merino wool on a “delicate” or “gentle” cycle. 

How Do You Wash Merino Wool Without Shrinking?

While you can machine wash merino wool socks, we recommend hand washing them to extend their “life.” Handwashing merino wool will also help prevent it from shrinking. Follow these steps for the best results:

  1. Soak your merino wool for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Hand wash your merino wool in cold or lukewarm water.
  3. Use a mild detergent.
  4. Avoid using anything with bleach or harsh chemicals. 
  5. Lightly launder your merino wool items. 
  6. Gently squeeze out excess water.
  7. Don’t wring or twist the fabric while washing.

By handwashing your merino wool items in cold water, you can avoid shrinking them while cleaning them.

What Happens if You Dry Merino Wool in the Dryer

Now, you may be wondering, “Does merino wool shrink in the dryer?” After you hand wash your merino wool items, you might be tempted to throw them in the dryer. But we don’t recommend it. While you can dry your merino wool items on a low setting, there’s still a chance they’ll get too hot and shrink up.

Read More: Is Merino Wool Itchy?

How Do You Dry Merino Wool Without Shrinking?

So, how do you dry merino wool without shrinking it? It’s pretty simple. Follow these steps for the best results.

  1. Lay your merino wool items flat to dry in a cool, dry place. 
  2. Avoid hanging them on a clothesline or placing them in direct sunlight, as this can cause the fibers to shrink.

We’ve outlined more information about how to wash wool socks if you still have questions!

What to Do If You Shrunk Your Merino Wool Socks or Clothes

If you already accidentally shrunk your merino wool, don’t fret. There are a few things you can try to restore your items to their former glory. First, soak your socks, sweater, or merino wool item in lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Then, lay the item flat on a towel and gently stretch it back into shape. Finally, allow the item to air dry. With this simple treatment, your merino wool should return to its original size. Just be sure to follow the above best practices in future washes to prevent shrinkage from occurring again.

Get Your Hands on the Best Merino Wool Socks from FITS

There's nothing like a good pair of socks. And when it comes to finding the best, there's no better place to look than FITS. At FITS, we offer the highest quality merino wool socks on the market. They are ultra-soft and breathable, making them ideal for any activity. Plus, they're naturally antibacterial and odor-resistant so you can wear them day after day without worry. So if you're in the market for the best merino wool socks, shop our selection today!