Learn how to wash wool socks & help reduce your environmental impact
Before we get into how to wash Merino wool, we wanted to explain a little more about its benefits. You can wear Merino wool for days without needing to wash it.
Odor-causing bacteria is absorbed by Merino wool fibers—keeping them from reproducing or growing on the surface of Merino fibers. This helps your socks, shirts, and bottoms stink less. Less stink means you don’t have to throw your clothing in the wash as often.
Besides more miles on the trails and more turns on the slopes, you’re also reducing your environmental impact by washing less. Laundry requires a substantial amount of water and energy. Each load may use up to 40 gallons of water and up to 3,000 watts of energy in the dryer.
When the time does come to wash your Merino, we’ve got some tried-and-true tips on how to wash wool socks and clothing.
How to Wash Merino Wool
A few simple Merino wool care steps will keep your Merino socks, base layers, and other clothing looking as great as they feel. Washing Merino wool Smartwool® products is generally okay, but it’s important to check the tag on each garment for best results.
Turn socks and garments inside out.
Machine-wash on gentle cycle in warm or cool water (avoid hot water as heat may shrink wool).
Use mild soap, no bleach or fabric softener (bleach destroys the Merino wool fibers, and fabric softener coats those fibers—reducing their ability to naturally manage moisture and regulate body temperature).
While you can tumble-dry most of our Merino, we recommend air-drying to reduce your environmental impact and further extend the life of each product. Dry your wool clothes by laying them flat (hanging wet wool may distort the shape). If you prefer the dryer, tumble-dry on low setting. And, as always, check the care label. A few of our products still shouldn’t be dried in the dryer.
Some of our jackets and vests contain a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that is great for helping to keep you dry. Over time, dirt and oil accumulation may reduce the effectiveness of DWR, making it less water-repellent. Occasional cleaning will help keep your DWR working efficiently. However, it’s a bit of a balance. The DWR treatment will eventually wash off with repeated laundering and will need to be reapplied.
Apparel Care Instructions
Intraknit™ apparel is odor-resistant and typically can be worn for multiple activities without washing.
Cold water is more gentle on garments and uses less energy.
Lay Flat to Dry
Intraknit™ apparel doesn’t take long to air dry and laying it flat helps retain garment shape.
How to Store Wool Socks & Wool Clothes
Now that you know how to wash wool socks, here are a few storage tips. If you’re like us, you’ve got a closet full of Merino. To make room, sometimes you’ve got to pack away your heavier Merino wool winter layers for lighter Merino wool summer layers (or vice versa). With proper care and storage, our durable wool socks and clothing enjoy a long life.
Make sure they’re clean
Moths are attracted to body and food smells left in the fibers after wearing.
Store socks flat, not rolled into balls
Balling up socks can distort the shape. We recommend storing sweaters flat, too.
Use vacuum-packed bags or boxes
This helps protect your clothes, keeping them in tip-top condition. If your wool clothes are in storage for a year or more, it’s a good idea to let them air out for a bit before re-packing for storage.
Include some cedar
The heartwood of cedar helps keep out moths and other creatures that potentially harm your hibernating clothes.
Merino Wool Care FAQ
Can I iron my wool clothes?
Items made of 100% wool can be ironed on a low setting. It’s best to turn the item inside out. Apparel made from a blend of wool and synthetic fibers shouldn’t be ironed. We recommend steaming them to get out any wrinkles—you can even put those garments on a hanger in the bathroom while you shower. Be sure to check the care instructions tag on each garment.
Can I dry-clean my wool clothes?
Sometimes. Be sure to check the tag on the individual item. Most wool clothes can be dry-cleaned, but keep in mind that dry cleaning reduces the lifespan of any garment.
What if I get a hole in my sock?
If you do get a hole or aren’t completely satisfied with your Smartwool® product, we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Merino wool is a natural fiber and biodegradable. After mile of trails or countless runs on the slopes, your socks may show some signs of wear. Once your socks have reached the end of their lifespan, you can incorporate a little upcycling and use them to keep your beverages warm or cold. Simply take some scissors, cut the sock above the heel, and use that top part around your favorite water bottle, coffee mug, or pint glass.
How much wool is in Smartwool® products?
Every product is different. Many Smartwool® products are made of 100% Merino wool, while some are blended with other materials for maximum performance. For specific content information, check out the product’s label.