How to Wash Wool Socks - Best Guide for 2020

Socks are notorious for being the part of a man’s outfit that gets overlooked and under appreciated. They’re often covered by pants and shoes, but that doesn’t mean socks don’t deserve the same amount of love the rest of your outfit gets. And when it comes to wool socks, they’re the closest equivalent to giving your feet a long, warm hug. Feeling intimidated about how to wash wool socks? This article has your back, don’t worry.

Wool socks are nothing like those cotton ones you own hundreds of. Wool socks are special. They’re soft. They’re warm. They’re pillows for your feet. If that doesn’t sound good enough, wool socks are a stylish, luxurious option for your feet that happen to carry tons of benefits. As outlined in Business Insider, here are some of the benefits of wearing wool socks:

  • Wool is one of the warmest fabrics, ensuring your feet stay toasty at all times
  • Wool fibers are naturally odor resistant (see you never, smelly feet!)
  • Wool is highly absorbent

Unlike cotton socks that soak in all kinds of odors and foot perspiration, wool socks are a guaranteed way to keep your feet both warm and dry. I know what you’re thinking: these socks sound perfect. And in many cases, they are. But learning how to wash wool socks will take a bit more effort than attending to your cotton socks. Keep reading for the best wool washing tips. 

Can Wool Socks Be Dry Cleaned?

When thinking about how to wash wool socks, the first choice that comes to mind is the easiest: send them out to get dry cleaned, then they’re no longer your problem. But can wool socks be dry cleaned? No, wool socks cannot be dry cleaned. Here’s why:

  • When clothing is dry cleaned, high temperatures are used to thoroughly wash the garments. This intense heat will wear out the wool fibers, resulting in your socks not lasting as long
  • Dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals to remove tough stains. These chemicals can actually shrink wool fibers and result in your socks no longer fitting. 

Dry cleaning may seem like an easy option, but you’ll be doing more harm than good to your wool socks. To ensure your wool socks last as long as possible, you’ll want to take a more hands-on approach and wash those guys yourself. You no longer need to wonder about how to clean wool socks. You’ll find the highlights listed below.

Not All Wool is Machine Washable 

An important tidbit of information to remember when thinking about how to wash wool socks 

is that not all fabrics are created equal. Wool socks cannot merely be thrown haphazardly into the washing cycle with your jeans, underwear, and whatever else that needs to get soaped up. Wool requires a gentler hand. And learning how to wash wool socks will teach you why that is. So, why isn’t all wool machine washable? 

  • Machine washing causes the woolen fibers to shrink.
  • Common laundry detergents contain chemicals that slowly begin to break down the wool.

Now that what not to do has been highlighted, let’s move on to a simple, easy-to-follow summary on how to wash wool socks.

How to Wash Blended Wool Socks

To put it simply, Blended Wool Socks are not 100% wool. Instead, they are made by combining wool with another fabric, usually at an 80:20 ratio. 

Hand Wash

If you opt to hand wash your Blended Wool Socks, the process is fairly simple. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the research and condensed it into a handful of straightforward steps:

  1. Squeeze mild or unscented soap onto a washcloth and gently dab at the socks. Do not scrub.
  2. Rinse the socks thoroughly under lukewarm water.
  3. Lay the socks on a clean towel and gently press them with the towel, removing any excess water. Never ring or squeeze the water out of your socks, which can cause stretching.
  4. Allow the socks to air dry flat on a towel.

Machine Wash

First, your socks should be washed strictly in cold water with a mild or unscented detergent. Cold water helps the socks maintain their standard fit and reduce shrinkage. Washing the socks on a gentle cycle is an important, less abrasive method that ensures that the wool fibers remain intact. 

Last, lay the socks on a towel and allow them to air dry.

How to Wash Merino Wool Socks

Merino wool socks are made of wool from the merino sheep. It is not only super soft and finer than other wools: the natural fiber is highly breathable, moisture-wicking, wrinkle resistant, does not take in sweaty odours, and is fireproof (although we hope you never find yourself in a situation in which you are in danger of setting your feet on fire). 

For more information on the wonders of this fabric, check out our Merino Wool Guide.

Hand Wash

If you’re wondering how to wash Merino wool socks, simply follow these outlined steps to ensure you properly care for this fabric:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water.
  2. Squeeze mild or unscented soap onto a washcloth and gently dab at the socks. Do not scrub.
  3. Place the sudsy socks into the water and gently move them around, allowing the soap to remove any dirt.
  4. Gently rinse the socks under lukewarm water, allowing all soap to be removed.
  5. Lay the socks on a clean towel and gently press them, removing any excess water. Never attempt to ring or squeeze the water out of your socks! 
  6. Allow the socks to air dry flat on a towel.

Machine Wash

When opting to machine wash your Merino wool socks, there are a few key rules to keep in mind. Ensure you are using warm water, a mild detergent, and your machine is on a gentle cycle. After washing, press the socks between a towel to remove excess water. Lay flat to dry.

How to Wash Cashmere Wool Socks

Cashmere fibers are found from the fine hairs on a cashmere goat (how fancy does this goat sound?). Known for being one of the most luxurious and expensive fabrics, you want to make sure you’re washing your cashmere wool socks properly, to prevent unnecessary spending if you end up replacing them.

Hand Wash

Hand washing your cashmere wool socks is the same easy process as washing Merino wool socks. Here are the easy steps, one more time:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water.
  2. Squeeze mild or unscented soap onto a washcloth and gently dab at the socks. Do not scrub.
  3. Place the soaped-up socks into the water and gently swish them around, allowing the soap to remove any dirt.
  4. Gently rinse the socks under lukewarm water, allowing all soap to be removed.
  5. Lay the socks on a clean towel and gently press them, removing any excess water. Never attempt to ring or squeeze the water out of your socks!
  6. Allow the socks to air dry flat on a towel.

Machine Wash

Now, here is where machine washing your socks requires an easy, extra step. Cashmere is a very delicate fabric, so the process of machine washing these guys is a little different. Here is everything you need to know:

  1. Place your socks in the washing-machine in a mesh washing bag. 
  2. Select the delicate cycle and cold water, using only a mild detergent.
  3. When the cycle ends, place the wet socks on a dry towel and pat off any excess water.
  4. Leave the socks to dry flat on a towel.

How to Wash Angora Wool Socks

Angora hair comes from the Angora rabbit (isn’t it fun to learn about these adorable creatures?). The fabric is known for being thin and soft, with a special fluffiness that makes it unique. Since Angora rabbits can be found in various colours, so can their wool.

Hand Wash

Angora wool socks must be hand washed. An important fact to remember is to only clean your Angora wool socks when necessary, to reduce agitation. Here’s how to hand wash your Angora wool socks:

  1. Fill a sink with lukewarm water and mix in about a tablespoon of mild or unscented soap.
  2. Place the socks in the water and gently move them around, applying a soft squeeze to the fabric. Leave for five minutes then repeat.
  3. After ten minutes, rinse the socks with lukewarm water and place on a clean towel, gently patting off any excess water.
  4. Lay the socks flat to dry.

Machine Wash: Not Recommended 

Angora wool cannot be placed in a washing-machine. The thin fabric is too delicate to sustain the machine’s conditions and will cause the woolen fibers to shrink and tear.

How to Wash Australian Wool Socks

Australian wool socks are extremely soft and have a thick fleece texture to them. It is naturally insulated and keeps your feet both cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Hand Wash

Hand washing your Australian wool socks can be expertly executed in a few simple steps. You’ll want to fill your sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Avoiding excess agitation, let the socks soak for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse under lukewarm water and allow to air dry flat on a towel.

Machine Wash

Machine washing your Australian wool socks is quite easy:

  1. Set your machine to the delicate cycle with cold water, again using a mild detergent
  2. When the socks are clean, allow them to dry flat on a towel.

Just in case washing your socks by hand sounds good in theory, but you won't bother unless necessary:

Wool Type

Machine Washable?

Blended

Yes: cold water on a gentle cycle

Merino

Yes: warm water on a gentle cycle

Cashmere

Yes: cold water on a delicate cycle

Angora

Not recommended

Australian

Yes: cold water on a delicate cycle

Wearing Your Wool Socks

Figuring out how to wash wool socks may seem scary at first, but following the steps highlighted in this article will take you from amateur to pro in no time. Once you’ve mastered the steps, the only thing left to do is launch your reputation as a well-dressed man with an impeccable collection of wool socks.

Unsure of what pair to order or what outfit to match it to? Our blog has a variety of style content that will up your fashion game, like how to wear a pocket watch and how to wear a beanieSo go on, take your newfound knowledge of how to wash wool socks and start assembling your own sweet collection.