Using Shampoo to Wash Wool

Category Laundry
Care for your wool items at home instead of paying for expensive dry cleaning. This is a page about using shampoo to wash wool.


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I've been a weaver, spinner and dyer of wool for years. One of the tricks I learned, was that because wool is hair, you can use hair products to clean it. When you wash your wool hats or sweaters, wash them with shampoo. In the rinse water use a tiny bit of conditioner as a "fabric softener." Just be sure to rinse all the conditioner out of your garment when you're done. You'll have wool that's softer than ever before and it won't get that winter static either.


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January 14, 20090 found this helpful

Brilliant!! I love it. Thanks so much for the tip.

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March 31, 20120 found this helpful

I have several army surplus wool blankets. Can I use this on them? How do I dry them to stop shrinkage?

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March 31, 20121 found this helpful

I raised and showed sheep as a young girl. We washed the sheep for show and used a mild shampoo. Why would you use chemicals for cleaning just because the fleece is no longer on the animal?


I once read an article about the English, who don't dry clean their wool garments and wear more wool than Americans, they had been using sudsy ammonia for washing their wool garments for decades. Just make sure the bottle says sudsy ammonia, it's clear with no color or other additives.

I use either shampoo or sudsy ammonia at home for washing wool garments, blankets and natural wool baby items with hair conditioner & a cup of white vinegar in the rinse...never a problem. The white vinegar eliminates any residue from the soap or conditioner. It also conditions the wool and makes it softer. And no, your wool won't smell of ammonia or vinegar after it's rinsed.

Remember to use cool to lukewarm temperatures with wool.. for both washing and drying. NEVER hot, that's when it shrinks (cotton too). Air drying being the best for wool and if line drying, try to keep it out of the sun. The chemicals used in dry cleaning and in some of the new shampoos can be harsh for wool.

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