How to Soften Wool Sweaters

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Wool, one of the most widely used fibers in clothing design, is sturdy and provides a great deal of warmth. It absorbs dye quite well and can be spun into various levels of thickness. Unfortunately, wool clothing can be itchy due to its coarse fibers which don't bend easily and can uncomfortably poke the skin. Making your favorite wool sweater more pliable and soft is easy -- as with all hair, wool benefits from shampoo and conditioner.


Things You'll Need

  • Sink

  • Gentle shampoo

  • Moisturizing hair conditioner (non-specialized)

  • 3 towels

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Step 1: Wash and Rinse

Fill a large sink with lukewarm water. Add in about a 1/4 cup of mild shampoo, and gently stir.

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Submerge the sweater into the soapy water, very gently rotating it around to ensure it is completely saturated. Do not agitate or rub it as this can cause shrinkage. The gentle cleansing solution in the shampoo will clean the wool effectively and relax the fibers. Allow sweater to sit in the bath for about a half hour.


Drain the sink, and fill with lukewarm water once more. Very gently dip the sweater up and down into the water, rinsing any soap that might remain.

Step 2: Condition and Rinse

Remove the sweater from the bath as you drain the sink. Do not wring or twist it. Instead, lay it aside onto a towel.


Fill your empty sink with tepid water and add in about 6 tablespoons of hair conditioner. Mix the conditioner into the water with your hand to ensure it is well mixed.

Fully submerge the sweater into the water and leave for 10 minutes. This allows the conditioner to fully absorb into the sweater and soften the fibers. Avoid agitating or rubbing the garment.


Drain the sink, and fill with tepid water again. Gently dip the sweater up and down in the water. Drain and refill sink, as necessary, until water is clear.

Step 3: Dry

Remove the sweater from the bath and place it onto a fresh clean towel. Gently roll the towel while the sweater is still laying flat on it. As you roll, lightly press down to express the excess water. Do not wring or twist the sweater, as this will damage the texture and fibers.

Unroll and place the sweater flat on a fresh towel to air dry.


Pay close attention to your water temperatures. You want to use tepid water. It must not be too hot. This causes changes in the fiber and may damage the sweater.



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