Wool jumper in washing machine

How to Wash Wool Jumpers in the Washing Machine

Wool jumpers are stain- and odour-resistant, soft and snuggly, and not to mention natural!

Sounds idyllic until you’ve over-worn your jumper, and it needs a wash.

You might have heard many nightmarish stories about washing woolie jumpers! The tales probably go something like this… a woollen jumper stumbles into a washing machine, gets washed on the wrong setting, and ends up shrunk and unwearable after a spin in the drum! 

And while this can happen, if you clean your wool jumpers correctly, you should be able to avoid such issues and get years of wear out of your woollies!

Plus, when you know how to wash a wool jumper, you’ll realise just how easy it is.


How to Wash Wool Jumpers in the Washing Machine

Washing wool jumper in washing machine

Follow the steps below to wash your wool jumper, but remember you don’t have to clean your wool jumpers very often:

  1. Read the care label on your jumpers to find out if you can machine wash them all. If a label states that a garment should be hand washed or professionally cleaned, don’t stick the item in the washing machine, as this will likely ruin it.
  2. Wash similar colours together.
  3. Treat any stains you see with some wool detergent before popping the items in the washer.
  4. Turn every wool jumper inside out.
  5. Optional: Put each jumper into a mesh laundry bag to protect it from the washer’s drum as it is being cleaned.
  6. Pop the woollen jumpers inside the washer – the appliance should be about half full, but no more than this.
  7. Select the right cycle on the washer – this will either be the ‘wool’, ‘cold’, or ‘delicate’ cycle. If you have a ‘wool’ cycle on your machine, you should use it, but you must use it with caution nonetheless.
  8. Make sure there is minimal spin going on during the cycle.
  9. Double-check the water temperature on the washer – ideally, it needs to be below 30℃.
  10. Pop a specialised wool-friendly detergent into the appliance (these cleaners tend to have the ‘Woolmark’ stamp on them), Stick to the dose stipulated on the item’s packaging. 
  11. Don’t fill your washer with other items, like things made from different materials.
  12. There’s no need to add fabric softener to the machine.
  13. Start the cycle.
  14. When the cycle ends, dry your woollen jumpers by laying them flat on a towelled surface.
  15. Roll one jumper up at a time inside the towel to extract moisture from it.
  16. When you’ve done this, you can leave the garment flat out on the towel to air dry – make sure it’s not left in direct sunlight.
  17. You will need to repeat this drying action for your other jumpers. 

How to wash wool jumpers in the washing machine


Things to Know About Washing Wool Jumpers

Care label on wool jumper

Use the right temperature

Wool can be a funny material to clean because you need to wash it at just the right temperature. Ideally, this is 30°C or below.

In general, a temperature that is 30°C or less is warm enough to take out pesky stains but is cold enough so it won’t shrink the material.

However, some woollen garments will stipulate an exact washing temperature, and if this is the case with your sweater, you should stick to what it states on the tag.


Choose a suitable detergent

Make sure you choose a wool-friendly detergent when cleaning your wool jumpers.

Detergents designed to be used on wool and other delicate materials, like silk, are often pH neutral, so they’re ideal for the material.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that these laundry detergents won’t be able to tackle tough dirt because they will! Check out Persil’s Silk & Wool detergent for inspiration!

Test your chosen detergent out before you use it!

Find a discreet seam and pop some product on it. Wait a few minutes, and if you see a reaction, you’ll know you won’t be able to use the item to clean your jumper.


Read the care label first

You must read the care label on each item of clothing because you could seriously damage a jumper by washing it incorrectly. In some cases, you can’t repair the item either, so that’ll be a load of money down the drain for you!


How to Keep Wool Jumpers Clean Between Washes

Using a lint shaver to debobble a wool sweater

Washing wool jumpers isn’t something you have to do regularly. Nonetheless, these jumpers need to be refreshed between washes. Here are a few things you can do to keep your woollies in tip-top condition:

  • Air out your wool jumpers. Pop them on a clothes horse outside (try not to leave them in direct sunlight for prolonged periods).
  • De-bobble your jumpers frequently. Bobbles (piling or linting) appear on garments when two pieces of clothing rub against each other in the wardrobe, washer, or dryer! Consider getting a fabric shaver to deal with this issue. Or you could get a fabric comb to comb the bits off your jumpers.
  • Give your woollen jumpers a brush down.
  • Treat stains as soon as they appear.
  • Fold your jumpers, don’t hang them up in the wardrobe. They’ll go out of shape if you put them on hangers for long periods!
  • Always wash wool jumpers when the winter season is over, and store them correctly in the wardrobe so they don’t get attacked by moths! If you suspect you may have a moth-related problem, see our guide to what you can do about it.
  • Store wool clothes in airtight containers when they’re not in use. This will protect them from creepy crawlies in the wardrobe!

Note: If you’re planning on spraying some sort of solution onto your wool jumpers to spruce them up/remove odours, make sure that it is wool-friendly and test it out before you use it on the entire garment.

How to keep wool jumpers clean between washes

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