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Washing your clothing such as icebreaker/patagonia/smartwool, any special detergent or just good old Tide
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Eric Falk
(zerolimit) - F
Washing your clothing such as icebreaker/patagonia/smartwool, any special detergent or just good old Tide on 03/28/2008 17:30:25 MDT Print View

Have recently bought a bunch of new tops including icebreaker merino and patagonia capilene. I got the don't throw in a tumble dryer part but what are you doing to actually wash the clothes? Are special detergents suggested or have you found any that work better to defunk them? Thanks, Eric

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
washing on 03/28/2008 18:14:56 MDT Print View

I always use one of the odor-free detergents but that's more to do with my sensitive nose than protecting clothing. If I am concerned about a certain type of fabric (merino wool for example), I might just use less. Also, I wash my merino wool clothing much less frequently than my polyester clothing.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Washing your clothing such as icebreaker/patagonia/smartwool, any special detergent or just good old Tide on 03/28/2008 18:52:36 MDT Print View

I decided to do the best I could for all my Icebreaker gear and have been using Nikwax Wool Wash. Keeps it soft... better than new.

Eric Falk
(zerolimit) - F
perfect, thank you on 03/28/2008 21:01:12 MDT Print View

Didn't think of Nikwax.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Wool wash on 03/29/2008 02:53:02 MDT Print View

Nikwax have gone New Product Crazy recently, so they certainly have something to deal with pretty much any piece of kit you can wash. The liquid for wool is very likely as good as the rest of the range (I haven't tried it yet, but I have used many of their other products for years) but you might get equally fine results from the wool-specific soaps in your local supermarket and at a lower price. I've been using a supermarket own-brand wash for my woollens, much cheaper than the competition, and have been very pleased with it.

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Wool wash on 03/29/2008 04:41:17 MDT Print View

Try sport-wash from I've been using this product, for over a year, to wash all my clothes. I have a front loader that enables me to use less detergent, so I can stretch the sport-wash product. Good results on wool, down, DWR fabrics, etc.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Woolite Instead on 03/29/2008 07:30:33 MDT Print View

I've been using Woolite (regular)in cold water for several years for wools and for the synthetics. The cost drops quite a bit if you buy the 150 Fl. Oz. size at a big box store like Sam's or CostCo.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Woolite Instead on 03/29/2008 09:01:13 MDT Print View

Woolite is formulated to produce suds in cold water, cold water being the usual prerequisite for washing wool, and suds being what the consumer wants to see.

The homepage for Woolite declares that it is a detergent.
Detergents strip beneficial oils out of wool. It gets wool clean....too clean.

A true soap is what you want to use. "Ivory Snow", once a pure soap, now contains enzymes and detergents. So read the labels carefully.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Handwashing on 03/29/2008 12:13:14 MDT Print View

I always end up hand washing my hiking clothes. I live in Brooklyn and use a laundromat for normal laundry, but the washers and driers in most city laundromats verge on industrial strength and really shorten the life of my clothes. So, hiking gear being as expensive as it is, I hand wash. Usually with Dr. Bronner's Soap which is readily available in large bottles throughout Brooklyn. I don't think that stuff will strip any of the oils out of my wool shirts. At least, I hope not...

By the way, why is it exactly tat wool should be washed in cold water?

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Wool in cold water on 03/29/2008 13:46:14 MDT Print View

Because wool shrinks in hot water. As a matter of fact, real felt is made from boiled wool.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Good to know on 03/29/2008 13:51:26 MDT Print View

Ahhh, good to know. I guess it's a good thing that I was hand washing my wool stuff then. My wash water must not have been too hot. It certainly wasn't as hot as the water used at the laundromat.

Looks like I dodged a bullet on that as all of my wool stuff still fits with no shrinkage!

Robert Devereux
(robdev) - F

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Washing wool on 03/30/2008 13:47:16 MDT Print View

Woolite doesn't list ingredients, so I wasn't willing to buy it (I want to know what goes into my stuff). So far I've washed everything in cold water with Seven Generation's Delicate Care detergent. It's worked well for me.

I did get one interesting tip for cashmere, which could be used for wool stuff as well. Since it's all basically hair, you can hand wash in shampoo. I've only tried it once, but it worked well.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Wool washing choices on 04/02/2008 16:48:04 MDT Print View

Most of my base layers and midlayers are now merino, so I often have some wool to wash. My rules:
1. Use a non-detergent soap - Atsko Sport-Wash, Woolite, Ivory Flakes have all worked well for me for many years. 2. Use a front-loading washer or wash by hand, as the agitator on a top-loader can injure the fabric. On anything really expensive (like cashmere) I always wash by hand. Soak for 20-30 minutes, rinse, and then press excess water out; don't wring it out.
3. Air dry flat. Using a hanger can stretch the fabric. Never use a dryer.