How to Clean Wool

How to Clean Wool

Check out our comprehensive guide to cleaning wool coats, scarves and more.

By: Camille Simmons

Wool is one fabric that always seems to give everyone a little trouble when it comes to cleaning — but it shouldn’t be daunting. Wool is a wonderful, sturdy fabric that luckily doesn’t have to be cleaned often. When it is time to clean, simply follow these easy steps and you’ll have a clean coat, scarf or rug in no time.

Tip: Only wash if truly necessary. Washing wool too much can be harmful.

Cleaning a Wool Coat
Although it’s a delicate process, cleaning a wool coat is also a simple one. First you have to check the care instructions. If it says “dry clean only,” by all means do only that. If there are instructions for using a washing machine, then follow them carefully.

Tip: If you do wash in the machine, place the coat in a mesh laundry bag for protection. Otherwise, proceed with hand washing and make adjustments for water temperature and drying as needed.

Hand-Washing Instructions

  1. The safest way to wash a wool coat is by hand. Fill up a clean large sink or bathtub with cool water. Use the designated amount of a wool-safe liquid Tide detergent
  2. Completely soak the coat in the soapy water and gently move it around, getting into all the nooks and crannies of the coat
  3. Drain the sink or tub and rinse the coat with cool water until all the soap is removed
  4. Do not wring, twist or stretch the coat
  5. Lay the coat on a large, white towel (so the colour doesn’t bleed, on the floor or counter)
  6. Place the wool coat flat and roll up the towel to gently absorb the water
  7. Once the coat is damp dry, smooth out the wrinkles with your hand. Keep flat until it is completely dry

Cleaning a Wool Scarf
Similar to the wool coat process, always double check the care instructions tag first. Follow those instructions or hand wash using the same instructions for the coat in a smaller sink.

Tip: Never place anything wool into the dryer. Doing so causes shrinkage and will completely ruin the fabric.

Cleaning a Wool Rug
Rugs are traps for dust, dirt, stains and pet accidents. Usually quick stain removal is enough to care for spots immediately after they occur. Still, there are always set-in stains plus regular dirt build-up. Luckily, it only takes a few steps to clean.


  1. Take the rug outdoors and beat the dust and dirt out, using a bat or the back of a broom. Bring the rug back inside and vacuum to make sure all the dirt is picked up
  2. Take the rug back outside and completely soak with water
  3. Run a clean towel or sponge soaked in diluted detergent over the entire rug, pressing down into it to lift deep-set dirt
  4. Rinse the rug with a hose and make sure all the soap is gone
  5. Immediately dry the rug with a towel — wringing the towel out as you go — or hang the rug in a sunny place outdoors. Don’t let water sit in the rug for long

Spot Cleaning Wool
Using the same process, wet a clean cloth with very little detergent or soap to clean spots on anything wool. Make sure to rinse the spot by pressing with a damp towel and dry immediately.

And there you have it! Don’t let spots sit on your wool clothing or decor. Treat immediately and when it’s time for a good washing, you know what to do!

Camille is a Bay Area-based planning and decorating expert. She is the creator of Planning Pretty, a lifestyle site dedicated to sharing easy, affordable and pretty ideas for everyday living.


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