Keep Your Wool Garment From Shrinking : Expert Advice

Keep Your Wool Garment From Shrinking : Expert Advice

The type of wool, your washing and drying techniques, and the detergent you use may lead to wool shrinkage. Before we continue, we must explore the fiber's nature. 

Wool is a protein fiber with a scale structure, like the hairs on our head. It naturally expands and contracts with changes in temperatures, allowing fibers to interlock and maintain their shape. Just like combing knotted hair, woollen fibers have a life of their own.

Shrinking occurs when heat and movement cause scales to expand and catch on each other, binding the fibers closer together. The closer the fibers, the more the wool shrinks. The movement causes the wool to felt.

Felting is that dense fuzzy appearance in woollens.  The more the scales rub, the closer they lock together, the more it shrinks.  Once it is felted, it can not be undone.  

It is best to avoid heat and vigorous movement during the washing and drying process in order to keep your woollens in size and shape. 


Water is often misunderstood as the primary culprit behind shrinkage. However, it's actually the scales that prevent moisture from reaching the wool fiber. In fact, it even repels water!

Notice that how water particles remain on the surface of a wool carpet before it is absorbed.  Likewise, you can capture excess water spillage before it soaks into the fabric.

Warm water changes everything. It causes the scales to open up and to soak into the fiber. When wet, the fiber expands, and when dry, it contracts.  It is best to avoid warm water altogether.

The same concept applies to scents. Natural fibers breathe as it expands and contracts. Your garment will love your for it if you air it regularly to avoid attracting unwanted aromas.


The longer and smoother the type of wool fiber, the more heat and friction needed to create the felting and shrinking effect. Merino wool holds these qualities. We don't discuss the fiber structure of our garments much, but recognize that merino wool is a bold investment. Shetland wool, however, has shorter fibers and is more susceptible to felting and shrinking.

Your woollen garment may shrink in the dryer due to the heat and friction it is subjected to, even on the low-heat setting. Friction during the drying process can lead to pilling and felting, so it's important to take precautions. 

Avoid using cleansers with enzymes, as they can harm the proteins in wool. Stick to enzyme-free detergents, which are safe for wool fibers. Keep in mind, when fiber protein gets damaged, it can cause scales to interlock and result in shrinking.

Keep your woollens looking their best with a gentle hand wash in cold water. After washing, remember to remove excess water by gently squeezing and then air dry them flat to maintain their shape.


The natural fibers of a wool coat differ from those of a woollen jumper. While a woollen jumper can be easily handwashed with care, coat fabric is more complex and may require occasional dry cleaning. 

Promptly dry any spills to prevent moisture from seeping into the fabric.  If you accidentally spill a warm beverage, it may be necessary to contact your drycleaner.

Both wool and silk can shrink when exposed to warm water and mechanical drying. It is best to avoid using these vigorous washing and drying methods to prevent shrinking.

Refer to the label on the inside of your garment for washing instructions. 

Keep your wool coat in perfect shape and maintain its freshness by hanging it on a coat hanger and airing it regularly.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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