Top 5 Best Detergents for Wool

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Wool is a great fabric no doubt. It looks nice and it is super warm too. However, washing this fabric is problematic, and it means that you need a special kind of detergent. Right now, we are going to help you find the best detergent for wool.


[products_table label_1=”Best Overall” label_2=”Best Soap for Wool” label_3=”Best Wool Safe Laundry Detergent” label_4=”Best Merino Wool Detergent” label_5=”Best Mild Detergent”]

Detergent for Wool: Information Zone

Before you go out and start buying a bunch of detergent for your wool clothes, there are a few important things that you need to be aware of.

Why do I Need to Take Care When Washing Wool?

Wool is a great material to make clothing out of. It’s a natural material that is not difficult to process. Moreover, it is a very soft, plush, and comfortable material to make clothing out of, not to mention that it is very warm too. Wool is one of the warmest clothing types that you can wear.

All that said, wool does have some issues, mainly when moisture and heat are involved. The fact of the matter is that wool soaks up water, lots of it, and it gets really heavy, plus the fabric is susceptible to stretching. Yes, the detergent makes a difference too.

If you put your wool clothes in a washing machine and you wash them on a normal setting, when the spin cycle starts, that violent and high-speed spinning will cause that water-soaked wool to stretch out bigtime. It can end up being twice the original size. Then, god forbid you make the mistake of putting it in the dryer, because it will end up completely disfigured.

What is a Mild or Wool Detergent?

As the name implies, wool detergent is designed specifically for washing woolen clothes, to prevent the fabric from being disintegrated, to prevent color fading and color leaking, and to prevent stretching or shrinking, all while managing to remove stains and odors.

What you definitely want to stay away from is anything with the word bleach in it, and this applies to both chlorine and non chlorine bleach.

You also want to stay away from any detergent that uses enzymes to break down stains, as those enzymes will break down the wool too. Any kind of harsh cleaner or chemicals are not found in wool detergent. Simply put, wool detergent is just like a gentle soap that is good enough to clean wool clothes without ruining them.

Can I Use Normal Detergent for Wool?

Generally speaking, no, you really do not want to use normal detergent on wool. It most likely will not end well, at least not if you have very powerful detergent. That said, very basic laundry detergent, the normal stuff you have laying around for normal laundry loads, should be fine if you don’t use too much of it.

Once again, as long as it does not contain enzymes, bleach, or any other super harsh chemicals, it should be fine. That said, if you are going to be using normal detergent, you absolutely must use cold water. Wool and hot water don’t mix well.

How to Wash Wool Clothes

With everything that we have said here today, it stands to reason that there is quite a special or specific process that needs to be followed for washing wool clothes. Follow the steps as outlined below to wash your wool clothes without completely destroying them.

  1. Before you do anything at all, make sure that your wool clothes are not labelled as hand wash only. If they are, go to the next section on how to hand wash wool clothes.
  2. All wool clothes should be turned inside out before being put in the washer. This will help prevent both stretching and color fading.
  3. When washing wool clothes in the washing machine, if your machine does not have a “woolens” cycle, us the gentlest cycle that your machine has, as well as cold water. Remember, fast motion from a heavy cycle, as well as hot water, are not ideal for washing wool.
  4. Add a mild detergent that is designated as being safe for wool.
  5. If possible, add an extra rinse cycle to the wash, to ensure that all soap or detergent has been washed out.
  6. Never put your wet wool clothes in the dryer. They will shrink. Instead, lay the garment on a flat surface and allow it to air dry.

How to Wash Wool in Washing Machine

Let’s face it, chances are pretty big that your wool clothing is hand wash only and cannot be put in a washing machine of any sort. If this is the case, follow the steps as outlined below to hand wash your wool clothes.

  1. Fill a small basin with tepid/warm water, and squirt a bit of mild wool laundry detergent into it. Give it a quick stir to mix the detergent into the water.
  2. Take your wool clothing and swish it around in the detergent for about ten minutes. Don’t rub the fabric together and don’t let the clothing soak for more than ten minutes.
  3. Remover the clothing from the detergent bath and rinse it out. This could take a while, but you need to make sure that you all detergent has been removed.
  4. Don’t wring the water out of the wool, as this will cause damage and stretching. Instead, put the piece of clothing into a towel and use the towel to press the water out of the wool clothes.
  5. Place the clothes on a flat surface to dry. Don’t put your clothes in the tumble dryer and don’t hang them up. Both will cause stretching.

Best Detergents for Wool: Reviews

Now it’s time for the main event. Let’s get to it and help you find some of the best detergents for wool that the market has to offer.

Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent

Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry DetergentThis particular laundry detergent is designed to be as mild as humanly possible, while still helping to get your clothes clean, stain free, and smelling good. This stuff is so gentle that it can be used for wool, silk, cashmere, and more.

The fact that Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent is hypoallergenic is good for anyone with sensitive skin. Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent is suitable for standard and HE washing machines, plus it also works great for hand washing wool clothes. Moreover, this product gets clothes clean without causing shrinking, fading, or stretching.

The Laundress New York - Wool & Cashmere Shampoo

The Laundress New York - Wool & Cashmere ShampooWhat is important to note about this particular product is that it is not actually laundry detergent, but clothing soap. This means that The Laundress New York - Wool & Cashmere Shampoo is designed for handwashing your clothing, not for the washing machine.

This soap is designed to be very mild, and it works for wool and cashmere. Although it’s not the best stain fighter in the world, it works well enough, and it won’t damage, discolor, or shrink your wool clothes. There is also the fact that this stuff is cruelty free and super eco friendly too.

Ecover Delicate

Ecover DelicateThis is a very mild laundry detergent that can be used for wool and silk, and one that will not stretch, damage, or fade your clothing. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way, and as far as we can tell, it can be used in standard and HE machines, and it can be used for handwashing as well. Most people also agree that the scent is quite enjoyable, although its stain fighting power is a bit limited.

Outback Gold Wool Wash

Outback Gold Wool WashWhat is really nice about this Outback Gold Wool Wash is that it is made out of all natural and plant based ingredients. It does not contain any harsh chemicals, and thus not only is it safe for your wool clothes, but also for you and the world around you. It’s definitely eco friendly and biodegradable, not to mention septic safe as well.

Moreover, this stuff is so mild that it is also safe for babies and for those with sensitive skin. Keep in mind that it can be used in standard and HE machines, as well as for hand washing.

Outback Gold Wool Wash comes complete with lanolin, tea tree oil, aloe vera, and coconut oil for conditioning and restoring softness in clothing. This product is strong enough to remove most basic stains (although not severe stains), yet mild enough to keep wool and other gentle fabrics intact. All of that said, this product is definitely not the most cost effective.

Heritage Park Silk & Wool Detergent

Heritage Park Silk & Wool DetergentHeritage Park Silk & Wool Detergent is totally cruelty free, it is eco friendly, and biodegradable, which is thanks to the fact that it is made out of all natural ingredients.

What is impressive about this product is that it manages to have great stain and odor fighting power while also being super gentle on your clothes.

The light floral scent seems to be well liked by most. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to stain and odor fighting laundry detergents that will not damage wool clothes, this might just be the best one out there.

The Verdict

Once again, the number one best detergent for wool is Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent. It is gentle, it works in all washing machines, and it’s pretty good at removing stains too.

Susan G Baird

Susan G Baird

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