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How To Wash Wool Sweaters

How to wash wool sweaters
How to wash wool sweaters

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Wool is a delicate fibre, however, it is naturally stain, odour and crease-resistant. Hence it is easy to wash wool sweaters. The key is to know the right ways and materials to wash your clothing. It helps in maintaining the shape, size, fluffiness and softness of the wool. 

If you want to preserve your woollen clothes, then stick to this article. We have shared everything you should know about washing wool sweaters at home. 

Before moving ahead, let’s see the two major things to do before you wash wool sweaters: 

Always read the garment care label

The most suitable way is to hand wash sweaters as it is always more gentle than washing machine. However, you can wash wool sweaters in a washing machine as well, however, there can be certain exceptions. For instance, sweaters made up of pure cashmere wool might be labelled as “hand wash only” as they are extremely delicate. 

Hence, don’t forget to read the garment care label ever. 

What you should know

Some wool sweaters are made up of pure wool, whereas some have mixed fabrics. For example, the care label will have “70% wool, 20% acrylic, 10% cotton” written on them. These compositions are made to make the garment more durable, softer and comfortable. 

The washing information explained in this article will help in washing all types of wool sweaters regardless of their composition. 

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Pre-treat the stains


Stain on a wool sweater - How to wash woollens properly
Stain on a wool sweater
  • Mix 2-3 drops of liquid wool-safe detergent in 1 teaspoon of water.
  • Apply it on the stain from the inner side of the garment with your hands.
  • Place the sweater on a clean white microfiber towel from the outer side.
  • Take an old toothbrush and dab the detergent mixture gently all over the stained area from 2-3 minutes.
  • The stain will get lifted on the microfiber cloth/towel underneath.
  • Now take another clean cloth (preferably white to avoid colour bleeding stains) and blot the detergent residue.


If the stains are too old, or they came from substances like ink, oil, turmeric, etc. they may not get removed completely. In such cases you can refer to our well-compiled list of stain removers that work on specific stains, here it is: List of homemade stain removers.

How To Hand Wash Wool Sweaters

Handwashing sweater at home
Handwashing wool sweaters

Step 1: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water (not hotter than 30° C)

Step 2: Pour 1 tablespoon of liquid wool-safe detergent (Ezee, Woolite, etc.) into the water. 

Step 3: Stir the water with your hands to dissolve the detergent. 

Step 4: Soak the wool sweater in the bucket for 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Swirl the sweater inside the bucket with your hands for 2-3 minutes. 

Step 6: Rinse the sweater gently using clean water. Keep getting rid of excess water by gently pressing the sweater. 

Step 7: Spread a clean big towel on a clothes drying rack or on any clean, flat and dry surface. 

Step 8: Then, lay the sweater over the towel. It will absorb the moisture and your sweater will dry faster. 

Pro-tip: Wool tends to stretch in a wet state. Hence, to preserve the original size and shape of the garment, it is not recommended to hang dry woollen clothing.

Got tough stains?

Expert dry cleaning can help!

How To Machine Wash Wool Sweaters

How to machine wash wool sweaters
Putting sweater in a washer
  • Step 1: Put your sweater in the washer tub

    Turn the sweater inside out or put it in a laundry bag. Then put it inside the washer tub. 

    Make sure you do not overload the washer. There should be enough space for the sweater and other garments to move freely otherwise they will not get cleaned properly. 

  • Step 2: Add detergent to the dispenser

    Pour 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 to the dispenser. You can also follow the user guide that comes with almost every detergent to measure the quantity of detergent to be used. 

    Always use a Wool-safe detergent like Ezee, Woolite, etc. to wash wool sweaters. Because wool is a delicate fibre, harsh laundry detergent can make damage it. 

  • Step 3: Run the machine on ideal settings

    Run your machine on the “wool” setting. If it does not have a wool setting(usually gentle action at 40°C), choose the “delicate”, “gentle”, “low” or “cold water” cycle. 

  • Step 4: Air-dry the sweater

    Spread a clean big towel on a clothes drying rack or on any clean, flat and dry surface. Then, lay the sweater over the towel. It will absorb the moisture and your sweater will dry faster. 

    Wool is less likely to retain its softness when contacted with agitation and heat. Hence it is not recommended to use a clothes dryer machine to dry wool sweaters. 

    You can also check out 4 common line drying problems and avoid them to take better care of your woollens.

Right way to air dry wool sweater
Lay the wool sweater on the flat surface

Quick Hack: Put your hand in the washer tub and move it all around. If your hand can move freely with the entire load inside, you are good to go. In case you have to assert pressure to move your hand, it is a sign that your washer is overloaded.

 Get your sweaters cleaned effortlessly!

Key Takeaway

Wool is one of the most delicate fibres. So, before you wash wool sweaters always read the garment care label first. It will help you decide whether it can be machine washed or not. 

If the care label allows machine washing, choose a wool-safe detergent and wash wool sweater on the lowest or most delicate setting. If case the care label says “hand wash” or you simply wish to wash wool sweaters without a machine, go ahead. 

Make sure you don’t pull, rub, wring out or stretch the sweater while hand washing. Be very gentle on the garment and again use wool-safe detergent. 

Do not use hot water to wash wool sweaters in either hand wash or machine wash. 

When it comes to drying, always prefer air-drying instead of using a clothes dryer machine

In case there are some stains on the sweater or it is extremely delicate, consider getting it dry-cleaned

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily purport to reflect the values or views of Tumbledry.

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