Does Merino Wool Shrink? Simple Tips to Avoid Shrinking
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Does Merino Wool Shrink? Simple Tips to Avoid Shrinking

We examine whether Merino wool shrinks in the dryer and washer and offer some straightforward advice to stop Merino wool from shrinking.

Merino wool is soft and lightweight and is used for many different types of clothing, including those worn next to the skin.

The issue of whether Merino wool shrinks over time or after washing, however, is one that worries a lot of people. Merino wool never shrinks in its natural state. If the fabric is not treated properly, it might shrink, though.

Here are some things about Merino wool that you should know if this is also the reason you’re here.

Does Merino Wool Shrink in the Dryer?

Wool from Merino sheep is a specific type that is most frequently found in Australia and New Zealand. Although it has a very different feel from some other types of wool, it still has some of the same characteristics, like the capacity to feel.

Wool contracts during felting, which is the process. The wool fibers tangle and produce felt, a denser material, in this process. When wool is heated, stirred, or both, and is damp, felting takes place. The wool will felt more tightly the longer the exposure.

Like other types of wool, Merino wool will feel in the presence of heat. Therefore, putting Merino wool in the dryer will result in it starting to feel and cause shrinkage. The majority of Merino wool clothing has labels warning against tumble drying.

Some Merino wool items might be able to be tumble dried for a very brief period of time on low heat, but it’s dangerous if the label doesn’t indicate that it has been pre-shrunk and is safe to tumble dry. If unsure, don’t take a chance.

Does Merino Wool Shrink? Simple Tips to Avoid Shrinking

Does Merino Wool Shrink When Washed?

Merino wool’s ability to resist shrinking even after machine washing is one of its best qualities. First, it’s a good idea to turn your clothing inside out before putting it in the washing machine.

In addition, use a gentle cycle on your washer and avoid washing them in hot water. Lastly, it is best to avoid using any bleach or softener, despite popular belief.

In general, as long as you don’t set the temperature and centrifugation settings too high, your Merino wool sweaters and socks will be fine if you wash them in your washer.

Further Reading: Is Merino Wool Itchy?

Does Merino Wool Shrink over Time?

Thankfully, normal use and deterioration won’t cause your Merino wool clothing to shrink over time. If you subject the fabric to high temperatures, then you only need to be concerned about shrinkage.

Although Merino wool is an incredibly resilient material, it is not completely resistant to shrinking. It’s likely that the garment will shrink if you wash your Merino wool clothing in hot water or dry it.

The notion of fabric shrinkage is widespread in the clothing industry. There are various kinds of fabrics and each reacts to washing in a different way. The manufacturer should have their fabrics tested before releasing them into the market. Below are the most common questions about shrinking clothes:

How to Prevent Merino Wool Garments from Shrinking?

For the fiber to be undamaged, in its original shape, and kept from shrinking, you should adhere to the following care recommendations and the icebreaker washing directions.

Use a Normal Machine to Wash

Does Merino Wool Shrink? Simple Tips to Avoid Shrinking

Washing Merino wool clothing in a typical cool or warm wash cycle is the best way to prevent shrinkage. In contrast, you can use a common powder or liquid that you already use for other clothing. The fibers won’t shrink because of this.

Normal washing is necessary because Merino wool can only withstand a gentle wash at lower temperatures, protecting the fibers from deterioration.

However, if the clothing is washed too frequently, the excessive exposure to water may cause some shrinkage; however, the material’s springiness will allow it to stretch back into its original shape.

Don’t Use Bleach/Softeners

Another thing to keep in mind is that using bleach or softeners can alter how well the fibers perform naturally. It coats the fibers and lessens their innate capacity to control temperature and moisture.

In order to avoid this, it is best to refrain from using them on Merino wool clothing. Since there will be many repercussions once the fibers’ performance is compromised, the least of which is the garments’ enduring shrinkage.

Hang to Dry

After washing, make sure to line-dry your Merino wool clothing. The clothing will always maintain its original shape thanks to it.

Limit Ironing

The fiber may also be greatly impacted by ironing. Merino wool doesn’t need to be ironed because of its exceptional ability to stretch back into shape after washing. Simply by hanging them on the line or placing them flat, the creases will naturally disappear.

However, if you feel the need to iron your Merino wool clothing for any reason, make sure to turn it inside out and use a cool or special wool setting.

Does Merino Wool Shrink? Simple Tips to Avoid Shrinking

Treat the Garment According to the Instructions

Make sure to read the usage directions printed on the clothing. If the label says “dry clean only,” make sure you follow the instruction every time you want your garments to be cleaned.

Can You Wash Merino Wool Too Much?

Yes! If you wash your Merino too much or under too harsh conditions, you risk the following:

  1. as previously mentioned, shrinking.
  2. Pilling and shedding.
  3. loss of lanolin causes the antibacterial and anti-odor properties to decline.

To keep their wool dry and bacterial-free, sheep secrete lanolin, an oily substance. Although most Merino wool and other fine wool products do not contain lanolin, processed Merino wool does retain a small amount of lanolin.

Is It Possible to Unshrink Merino Wool?

Don’t panic if you accidentally shrink a piece of Merino wool clothing. Unshrinking Merino wool is a possibility.

The shrunken garment must first spend about 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Next, gently restretch the garment to its original position. A mild detergent might also be able to assist with the process.

After reshaping the garment by stretching it, wash it in cold water, then lay it flat to dry. Avoid drying the item because doing so will cause it to shrink once more. Your garment made of Merino wool should regain its original size and shape with a little care.

Conclusion: Does Merino Wool Shrink?

It is clear that Merino wool is worthwhile to wear when taking into account the characteristics and makeup of the fiber. In terms of qualities and features, the fiber has a lot more to offer and is less likely to shrink. Taking care of your Merino wool properly can also keep it last longer.

If exposed to hot water or air, Merino wool will shrink. This is as a result of the fibers contracting due to heat. Depending on the temperature and the amount of time the fabric is exposed to the heat, there will be a certain amount of shrinkage.


Does Merino Wool Shrink When Washed in Cold Water?

No, not by a great margin. Because of this, hand washing Merino wool in cold water is the safest method. You won’t ever have to be concerned about shrinkage if you wash your Merino wool clothing according to the care instructions on the label and at low temperatures.

Does Merino Wool Stretch With Wear?

Due to its fine fiber, Merino wool is incredibly elastic and able to retain its shape after years of stretch, wear, and repeated washing.

What Happens to Merino Wool in the Dryer?

Merino wool can shrink in the tumble dryer, so it’s best to air dry it. If Merino wool clothing is hung up while wet, the water in the fibers can also cause it to lose its shape. If you are washing Merino wool socks, that might not be a big concern of yours.

Does Uniqlo Merino Wool Shrink?

Warm and sturdy, you won’t have a shrinkage problem if you wash it on a gentle cycle in cool water and dry it flat. It is wool and if washed improperly or put in the dryer (eek) it will shrink!

How Do You Dry Merino Wool Without Shrinking?

The best results come from following these simple steps.

  1. Mercerized wool garments should be laid flat and dried in a cool, dry area.
  2. Avoid putting them in direct sunlight or hanging them on a clothesline because doing so could cause the fibers to shrink.
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