The Complete Guide to Storing & Caring For Merino Wool Clothing

Caring for merino wool isn't hard. It's a durable and forgiving fabric. However, the better you care for it, the longer it'll last. 

Here's our guide on how to store merino, how to wash merino wool, and how to get the best life out of your woolly investment. 

How to Store Merino Wool Clothing Between Wears

The great thing about merino wool is you don't need to wash it after each use. The awesome odour-fighting qualities means your top is going to remain fresh as a daisy for multiple wears. This means less washing and less of an impact on the environment, and less wear on your clothing. 

The best way to store merino wool short-term is somewhere where it can chill out and air. An airing rack, on the line, over the back of a chair—preferably not screwed up on the floor! 

Paul G, Ottie Merino's 'Chief Merino Fanatic', tends to store merino wool on a pedestal fan in the spare room. Ready, aired, for its next wear.

How to Treat Piling in Merino Wool Clothing

Eek. There are little balls of fluff? What do I do?

This is pilling and piling happens. It's where the shortest wool fibres get teased to the surface of your top, usually by friction—your pack, a seatbelt, a chair. Usually it will happen soon after you start wearing your top and will eventually settle down. 

Piling won't affect the performance of your top, so you could just leave it be. But, if it's too unsightly you can treat piling a couple of ways. 

1. Wash your t-shirt with a garment made from a coarser material like denim. This should knock it about a bit and help to remove some of the pilling. Make sure you do up the zipper on your jeans though or it could eat your merino top. 

2.  Invest in a little fabric shaver. They cost around $15 and they're a handy tool for keeping your clothes looking tip top. We've heard stories of people using razor blades to shave away piling but we wouldn't recommend this. Sounds risky.

How to Wash Merino Wool Clothes

Start by following the instructions on the 'care instruction' label. On Ottie Merino t-shirts you can find this label on the inside of the side hem. And the instructions are:

  • Warm gentle hand wash or a gentle/wool cycle in your machine
  • Do not bleach
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Dry flat in shade
  • Cool iron on reverse side
  • Do not dry clean

These are pretty universal instructions for merino wool clothing. By following these instructions you'll get the best out of your clothing.

Now, what should you wash with. Visit your local Coles or Woolies and you're going to be presented with shelves of wool and delicate washing detergents. But what is the best wool detergent? 

We quite like Softly Wool Wash. It's made in Australia and carries Woolmark's 'Apparel Care' certification. 

DO NOT use an enzyme washing detergent with merino wool. It will literally eat your t-shirt. We had one unlucky customer do this. They washed with an enzyme detergent and wondered why their merino t-shirt was full of tiny holes. Well, they gave those little enzymes a grand feast! 

How to Dry a Merino Wool 

Throwing your favourite merino tee up on the line or drying rack probably isn't going to wreck it but we recommend drying your merino flat to avoid stretching and having it go out of shape. 

How to Store Wool Clothing Long Term

Most of you can pop your freshly washed merino in the wardrobe and that will be that. However, if you have a silverfish or moth issues we recommend popping your merino clothing in a ziplock bag if you're going to be storing your clothing for a period of time. Alternatively, an airtight plastic container will do the trick. 

We wrote on the ins and outs of how merino wool can get holes