3 Steps On How to Wash Wool Socks for Maximum Wear and Comfort


Washing wool socks may seem like a simple task, but are you really giving your favorite cozy wool socks the proper care they deserve?

A fresh perspective on how to wash wool socks can make all the difference in keeping them in tip-top shape for years to come.

In this blog post, you'll discover how to wash wool socks, along with essential tips for drying and storing them, which will extend their lifespan and ensure your feet stay cozy and comfortable.

Trust us. We have many years of experience in the custom sock manufacturing business.

Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

The Importance of Proper Wool Sock Care

In aimage showing how to wash wool socks and drying them outdoors after a washing
You can wash wool socks and hang to dry outdoors

Learning how to wash wool socks properly, particularly those made from merino wool, is necessary to prolong their lifespan and maximize their potential.

Before we dive into the details, here are some general tips for laundering wool merino socks:

  • Merino wool socks are naturally odor-resistant, allowing you to wear them multiple times before needing a wash.
  • When you wash wool socks, take caution to avoid bleach, fabric softener, and harsh detergents.
  • Keep an eye out for lint accumulation, especially while washing socks made of merino wool and cotton.

It’s also crucial to store socks properly to prevent damage from bugs and moisture.

Using proper washing, drying, and storage techniques can prolong the longevity and comfort of your wool socks so you can enjoy them longer!

Preparing Your Wool Socks for Washing

A person sorting wool socks by color and material
Always use cold water when washing wool socks to prevent damage

Before you wash merino wool socks in the washing machine, ensure they are prepared properly to avoid damage.

Keep wool socks away from rough fabrics, zippers, use a laundry bag for protection, and sort socks by color and material.

One merino wool sock lost to damage is one too many.

Turning your wool socks inside out also helps protect them from any roughness or rubbing during the washing process and keep them from getting all bobbly.

Avoid Mixing with Rough Fabrics

It's best practice to not wash wool socks with rough or abrasive fabrics like denim or towels to prevent accelerated wear.

Mixing wool socks with rough fabrics can cause friction and rubbing against the delicate wool fibers, resulting in pilling, stretching, and weakening of the fibers of the sock material.

Instead, opt for washing your wool socks with other materials that are lighter, less abrasive items like cotton socks or wool clothes.

Use a Laundry Bag for Protection

There are several benefits of using a laundry bag (or mesh bag) when washing wool socks.

It keeps your wool socks from getting tangled up with other clothes, so they stay in their original shape, and it acts as a shield to protect the delicate wool fibers from getting scratched.

To use a laundry or mesh bag for your dry cleaning or washing socks, just follow these steps:

  1. Pop the socks into the laundry bag.
  2. Zip or close the bag securely.
  3. Throw the bag in with the rest of your laundry, ensuring there’s enough room for the socks to move around and get a proper wash.

Sort by Color and Material

Before you wash, it’s important to separate laundry by color and material to ensure optimal washing and maintain the condition of natural fiber in merino socks.

As we mentioned earlier, try to avoid washing wool socks with other garments that produce lint like towels or fluffy blankets and steer clear of rough fabrics.

Washing Wool Socks: 3 Step Guide

A person selecting cool water temperature to wash wool socks with fresh water as a perfect match
Teaching your kids how to wash wool socks can be fun!

With your new pair of wool socks ready for washing, we'll get started with a step-by-step guide.

Use the right water temperature (without excess water), use gentle detergent, and run a gentle cycle or hand wash to clean your wool socks without causing any damage.

Let's look at these steps in more detail.

1. Choose the Right Water Temperature

When washing wool socks, always use cold or lukewarm water at most, and avoid any unnecessary excess water.

Hot water can weaken the fabric fibers and fade colors, so it’s best to avoid it and use cold water or cool water only.

Merino wool synthetic fibers are a unique type of wool with superior moisture and odor control properties, hence it requires special care and only cold water to maintain these benefits.

2. Select a Gentle Detergent

Washing wool socks requires cool water and specialized fabric softeners

When washing wool socks, opt for a gentle detergent made for delicate fabrics. Some recommended options by Woolmark are:

  • Outback Gold
  • Loni Bio Detergent
  • Heritage Park
  • Dirty Labs
  • Webs Eucalan
  • Twig & Horn

These detergents are mild and neutral, making them great for washing wool socks.

Avoid detergents with harsh chemicals like bleach or fabric softeners, and choose a detergent with a neutral pH and no acids or alkalis.

3. Opt for a Gentle Cycle or Hand Wash

Wool socks stay in better condition when you wash them on a wool cycle or better yet - hand washed with fresh water.

And don't forget to flip your wool socks inside out before throwing them in the wash.

If you opt for machine washing your wool socks, use a gentle cycle machine wash with cold or lukewarm water, and a mild detergent.

For hand washing, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with cold water.
  2. Add a small amount of detergent made for wool.
  3. Submerge the socks, giving them a gentle swish to get any dirt or grime off.
  4. Let them soak for about 10 minutes and gently press to remove excess water.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until all the soap is gone and the wool fibers are clean.

Drying Your Wool Socks

You can also dry wool socks on a clothesline after a wash

Wool is not a shrink resistant fabric, so learning the proper way to dry wool socks after washing them is an understated technique to keep their shape and quality intact.

Let's go over some different drying techniques, including air drying, tumble drying on low, and the importance of properly folding or hanging wool socks.

Air Dry or Tumble Dry Low After a Wash

When it comes to drying wool socks, we recommend air drying or tumble drying on a low, delicate setting. You can gently press the socks after the wash to preserve the fibers and quality as much as possible.

Air drying is better for the environment and helps maintain the sock’s original shape more, while tumble drying is more convenient but carries a higher risk of damage to the natural fibers.

To air dry, lay your socks flat on a clean, dry surface, preferably near a source of gentle air circulation like a fan or open window.

Avoid Direct Sunlight and High Heat

Keep wool socks and wool clothes away from direct sunlight and high heat sources during the drying process after you wash them.

Sunlight can cause the natural fibers to fade or get damaged, and heat can distort or shrink the socks.

By avoiding direct sunlight and high heat, you’ll maintain the quality and appearance of your wool socks.

Folding Socks for Drying

When drying your wool socks after a wash, it's important to fold them correctly to maintain their integrity and fibers intact.

To do this:

  1. Lay the socks flat on a dry towel after washing.
  2. Gently fold the socks in half lengthwise, aligning the toes and heels.
  3. Press down lightly to remove any excess water.
  4. Leave the socks folded and lay them out flat to dry naturally, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Storing and Maintaining Wool Socks

A person who knows how to wash wool socks storing socks in a breathable container before they wear out
Store your merino wool socks and garments properly to extend their life

The care of wool socks extends beyond washing and drying. Appropriate storage and maintenance also significantly contribute to maintaining their condition so you can wear your socks for years to come.

Store in a Breathable Container

Storing your wool socks in a breathable container, such as breathable cotton or linen storage bags, prevents moisture buildup and maintains freshness.

Breathable containers made from natural fabrics, like 100% cotton or wool bags, are perfect for storing Merino wool socks.

Avoid using airtight plastic containers, as they can cause moisture buildup and mold or mildew growth. And trust us, you won't want to wear your socks after that.

Use Cedar Sachets for Added Protection

Adding cedar sachets to your sock storage has multiple benefits:

  • Repels insects
  • Keeps your socks smelling fresh
  • Cedar sachets are small cloth bags filled with cedar shavings that release a pleasant scent
  • Helps to keep pests away
  • Deodorizes clothes
  • Makes closets and drawers smell great

Red cedar and eastern red cedar are the best types to use for sachets in sock storage, as they have a natural scent that keeps pests away and keeps your socks smelling fresh.

Rotate Sock Usage to Reduce Wear

Rotating the use of your wool socks can help reduce wear and prolong their life.

It’s usually a good idea to swap your socks every one to two days.

Rotating your socks can help them last longer by spreading out the wear and tear, giving each new pair time to rest and air out, which helps prevent bad smells and bacteria.

Caring for Merino Wool Socks

A person washing merino wool socks in a cold water wash and avoiding warm water to clean his favorite socks
Wash merino wool socks uning gentle cycle and gentle fabric softener

Merino wool fibers are a high-quality, naturally soft, fine wool derived from the Merino sheep breed.

It's known for its exceptional softness, breathability, and superior moisture-wicking properties compared to regular wool, making it a preferred choice for high-performance clothing.

Due to their unique properties, Merino wool fibers demand specialized care and attention.

Washing Instructions For Merino Wool Fibers and Socks

Similar to conventional wool socks, merino wool socks require specialized washing instructions to maintain their quality and appearance, and reduce their wear and tear.

Here’s how to properly wash merino fibers and socks:

  1. Turn the socks inside out before putting into the washing machine.
  2. Use a gentle detergent with a neutral pH and no acids or alkalis.
  3. Avoid hot water. Launder socks in cold water to avoid shrinkage and damage.
  4. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as they can harm the delicate Merino fibers.

Properly Dry and Store Merino Wool Socks

After the washing machine, flat dry or tumble-dry merino wool socks on a low, delicate setting in the dryer, and store your dry wool socks in a breathable container made from natural fabrics, like 100% cotton or wool bags.

Following these steps will ensure your Merino wool socks and the merino fibers remain in excellent condition and provide you with their unique benefits for as long as possible.

Custom wool socks knit with the highest wool quality
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Knowing how to wash wool socks the right way is super important if you want them to last, feel comfy, and look great.

By sticking to the tips and tricks in this blog post, you can keep your favorite wool socks looking and feeling their best.

Remember, every step – from the water temperature in the washing machine to drying, storing and maintaining – plays a big part in keeping your wool socks in top-notch condition.

So, go ahead and give your wool socks the care they deserve.

With the right knowledge and practices, you can keep your feet warm, comfortable, and stylish in your favorite wool socks, extending their life and making the most out of your investment.

Ready to get started with your own pair of custom wool socks? Shoot us a message and one of our expert Socktologists will be in touch!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Merino Wool Shrink?

Yes, Merino wool can shrink when washed improperly.

Hot water and high temperatures can cause the fibers to contract, resulting in shrinkage.

To prevent this, always wash Merino wool socks in cool, cold or lukewarm water and air or tumble dry on a low setting. Always follow the care instructions on the label to maintain the quality and size of your Merino wool items.

Can I put wool socks in the dryer?

Low heat settings and gentle cycle on the tumble dry is the best way to go when drying wool socks. Avoid using hot water and air-dry whenever possible for optimal results.

Do wool socks shrink when washed?

Yes, wool socks can shrink when machine washed - be sure to use the gentlest and lowest setting on your washing machine to ensure they don't!

How do you wash socks without ruining them?

When washing wool clothes, select a gentle spin cycle on the washing machine, making sure to use either cold water or lukewarm water and spin speed is low.

Use a mild liquid detergent like Woolite and an extra rinse to avoid shrinking and avoid fabric softener. To be safe, it's best to hand-wash wool socks or use a dedicated wool wash cycle if available and lay your wool socks flat to dry.

Can you get wool socks wet?

Yes, you can get wool socks wet and they will still insulate you against the cold. Wool absorbs a high amount of moisture and can hold up to a third of its weight before feeling wet.

It also dries quickly and helps keep your feet cool and dry even when soaked in water.

To stay updated on all the latest sock styles and expert tips on how to wash wool socks, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.

Article Written By
Samuel Moses

We offer custom socks of all types and sizes (baby to adult) and lengths (no-show, ankle, crew, knee-high, and over the knee). We pride ourselves on being authentic Italian custom sock manufacturers with the highest level of quality and service for our customers. Try us out today!

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