Wool jumpers

How to Dry a Wool Sweater

Wool sweaters are great for the colder months and, provided they’re cared for properly, don’t need washing that often.

You’ve probably found instructions for how to wash wool, as it’s well known to need cold and gentle washes. But what do you do with it once the wash has finished?

That’s what we’ll discuss in this article. Below, you’ll find out how to dry a wool sweater.


How to Dry a Wool Sweater: The Dos

wool sweaters

Aim to dry your wool sweater immediately after the wash cycle has finished. It’s not the end of the world if it sits around for a while, but it’s best to get it back into shape as quickly as you can.

The best way to dry a wool sweater is to lie it flat away from direct sunlight. You can do this by spreading it out on a light-coloured towel on a bed or table. The steps are as follows:

  1. Remove the sweater from the washing machine and put it on a towel.
  2. Reshape the sweater to make sure the arms and seams are in the right places and nothing is overly stretched. Try to brush out as many creases as you can.
  3. Leave the sweater to dry. Turn it over every 12 hours or so (or when you remember!) to ensure it dries on both sides. While not necessary, this’ll speed up the process.

Alternatively, you could use a dedicated drying screen, such as this AYE sweater hanging dryer. It hangs from a pole, such as a shower curtain rail, and gives you two drying surfaces.

The benefit of a mesh screen is that it allows airflow from both sides. You can also get screens that fit over baths.

You have to be quite gentle when drying wool, as it’s a more delicate fibre than cotton or synthetics.

It’ll usually take a few days using the method above, but as long as you flip the sweater or provide enough airflow, it won’t smell musty.


How to Dry a Wool Sweater: The Don’ts

sweater care label

Because wool is on the more delicate side, there are plenty of things you should avoid when trying to dry your favourite sweater.

These should be fairly obvious based on the method above, but here are some tips for preserving your wool sweater.

Don’t use heat

do not use dryer or heat for wool sweater

Don’t use heat to dry your wool sweater, so no tumble drying or hanging on a radiator.

Wool and heat are enemies, which is why you should always wash wool on a cold cycle. Heat causes the fibres to shrink. Aside from making your sweater too small, it could also cause it to lose shape.

Drying your sweater on a radiator isn’t a massive risk from a heat perspective, but a tumble dryer is. The heat combined with the agitating motion could cause it to felt, which isn’t what you want.


Don’t hang your sweater up

Never hang your sweater on a coat hanger or line to dry it. Wool is very absorbent, meaning a freshly washed sweater will be very heavy. If this is hung up, the extra weight will cause it to stretch and lose its shape.

The risk of stretching while hanging is probably a bigger risk with drying on a radiator than the heat. Although the heat will dry it unevenly, the added weight of the water will cause parts to stretch at different speeds.


Never iron

do not iron wool sweater

This should be fairly obvious, but avoid ironing wool. You might be able to iron some sturdier pieces using a cold temperature setting, but keep your iron well away from cashmere or merino wool.

A benefit of drying wool flat is that you can brush out any major creases, and wool generally doesn’t hold them anyway.

If you have any creases left after drying, a garment steamer will be the best thing to use. It’s much gentler than an iron, and you can use the sweater’s natural weight to help pull the creases out.


Tips for Drying Wool More Efficiently


You shouldn’t have any problems drying your wool sweater flat on a bed or table. But if you’re concerned it won’t dry quick enough, there are two factors you can control to speed up the process.

The first is humidity, which you can control by setting up a dehumidifier. Chuck one in the room where your sweater is drying, close the doors and windows, and leave it be. It’ll make enough of a difference just running in the corner.

The second is airflow, in the same way that a breeze helps when line drying clothes. For this, simply set up a fan. Combined with a dehumidifier, they’ll help your sweater dry pretty quickly.

Of course, heat will help speed up evaporation, but we want to introduce as little excess heat as possible. Turning the central heating on while your sweater is drying near a radiator will be fine, though, and might be easier than setting up a dehumidifier.


Final Thoughts

Knowing how to dry a wool sweater isn’t too difficult, as long as you take plenty of care. After you’ve done it once, you’ll find it much easier in the future; it’s the first time that’s always nerve-wracking because you don’t want to ruin your favourite sweater!

If you’re concerned about your setup, test it with a more resilient wool garment before moving on to your delicate ones.