How To Wash and Dry Merino Wool Socks

As great as wool socks can be, it can be a difficult task when it comes to cleaning them. If you’re reading this it’s probably because you’re wondering what’s the best way to clean merino wool socks? No worries, in this article I’ll cover what steps you need to take to clean your wool socks, as well as what to avoid to prevent any common damages.

How Do You Wash Merino Wool Socks?

Merino Wool socks are best cleaned by machine washing them in warm or cool water on a gentle cycle. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener as the wool material fibers can be ruined or damaged. After washing, you should turn the socks inside out and tumble dry them on a low setting.

Now that we know which steps to take when cleaning merino wool, let’s get into the details and figure out how to keep your merino wool safe and long-lasting.

How To Wash Merino Wool Socks

Steps To Clean Merino Wool Socks

Even though there’s worry about cleaning wool without it shrinking, the step by step guide is very simple to learn. Follow these four steps below to get the best cleaning procedure while also avoiding any problems that could damage your socks.

  1. Turn the socks inside out
  2. Run the washer on a gentle cycle with warm or cool water
  3. Only use mild soap for cleaning (avoid bleach & fabric softener)
  4. Air-dry or tumble-dry the socks on a low setting

The two main things to avoid are liquids that mess with the fibers and high heat. Just keep it simple and follow these steps to keep the garments looking and smelling brand new!

How Often Should You Wash Merino Wool Socks?

One great thing about wool socks is that you can get away with wearing the same pair for a couple of days before needing to throw them in the washer. The fibers in the wool provide odor prevention that absorbs even the strongest of odors.

Since odors are masked within your Merino socks, most pairs can be worn multiple times before it’s suggested to clean them. This is ideal and allows you to keep the socks looking new for longer with less cleaning effort.

I’ve found that it does depend on the brand and strength of the socks. Darn tough socks are one brand that has an exceptional ability to remain cool and dry even after hiking or camping all weekend.

So how often do merino wool socks need to be cleaned? It depends on the brand, but most wool socks can be worn 2-3 times before having to be washed and dried.

Do Merino Wool Socks Shrink?

When someone first gets wool socks they often wonder , does merino wool shrink? To prevent any shrinkage there are some important guidelines which I’ll be going over now.

Wool material can be known for shrinking in high temperatures like in the dryer or if left out in the sun. If the socks you have are already tight then the best way to dry them off after washing is to leave them out to air dry.

The second best option is to throw them in the dryer, at the lowest temperature that you can. Since merino wool can easily shrink at high temperatures, never use high heat in the dryer and avoid leaving them out in the direct sunlight.

Can You Dry Merino Wool Socks?

It takes more time, but the recommended way to dry merino wool is to air dry the material. Leaving the socks hanging or laying down overnight helps to prevent the socks from shrinking or breaking down from high heat.

Instead of hanging the socks, I always suggest laying them out flat on a table or other hard surface. This will keep them from stretching out while they dry, and it won’t take up much space inside the house.

If you’re limited on time the other option is to tumble-dry them on a low setting. As mentioned before, high heat is what causes shrinkage and damage to the wool fibers. As long as the socks remain inside out on the lowest setting, there won’t be any issues to worry about.

Summary – How To Wash Merino Wool Socks

There are three simple steps that you need to follow when washing Merino wool socks.

  1. Turn both socks inside-out
  2. Machine wash on a gentle cycle with warm water
  3. Air-dry or tumble-dry on the lowest setting

Avoid dry cleaning and focus on drying the material correctly and you won’t have any problems with the socks getting smaller or breaking down. Not using a dryer is also ideal since it will extend how long your socks will last.

Thankfully, washing and drying merino wool socks isn’t a complicated process, but it is an important one to follow. Limit the heat applied and keep your socks nice and clean for years!


What Is Merino Wool? – Smartwool

The Ultimate Guide To Merino Wool – UnboundMerino