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Care For Wool Pants From The Waist Down

"Can I wash wool pants?" is one of the most common questions we're asked. If you read care labels carefully and follow our expert tips and best practices, you can hand wash wool pants at home. Wool is a sensitive fabric, so it requires gentle wash methods and an enzyme-free wash to clean at home. Follow this guide to learn how to wash wool dress pants, saving money and time on trips to the dry cleaners.

What you'll need to clean wool pants at home:

  • A gentle, enzyme-free cleaning solution like Wool & Cashmere Shampoo
  • A hand washing basin or a machine with a "hand wash" or delicate cycle with low spin
  • A hand steamer to remove wrinkles

Why is washing wool different?

Wool has been a closet staple since... well, probably before humans had closets. From Mesopotamia to Ancient Rome and beyond, wool has been keeping us warm and stylish for centuries. Wool fiber comes from animals: sheep, goats, rabbits and other animals such as llamas and alpacas. On the other hand, cotton is plant-derived and made up of mostly cellulose. While wool is very insulating, it also is sensitive to heat and enzymatic detergents. That's why when you're learning how to clean wool pants, you'll need special wash methods and an enzyme-free solution.

Do you think of all wool and cashmere as dry clean only fabrics?

Think again! Many wool and cashmere pieces can be washed at home depending on construction. If something is specifically tagged as "dry clean only", that may mean it can't be exposed to water, but most other types of woolens can be cared for at home. We're here to show you how washing woolens like wool pants from the comfort of your own home can be convenient and easy.

Choose your products and processes carefully

When it comes to washing wool, not all products are created equally. There are many brands of wool-safe cleaners that contain a high PH level and enzymes that may damage wool and cashmere over time. We prefer our Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, which is specially formulated without enzymes and suitable for cleaning wool, cashmere, merino, mohair, and blends.

rinsing blue woolen fabric with the laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo on counter

Wool Pants (Without a Liner)

Hand washing is always our preferred method for washing woolens, especially items like wool pants. This is because hand washing allows for more control over the wool pants washing process, including water temperature and agitation.

Draw a Bath: Following the dosing instructions, add Wool & Cashmere Shampoo to a washbasin or sink filled with cool water.

Go Under: Submerge your items and gently agitate them with your hands to evenly distribute soap and water. Soak for up to 30 minutes, but not longer.

Rinse Clear: Run cool water through items until rinse water is no longer soapy. Do not wring, as it can alter the shape of the wool pants. Instead, gently press the water out of your items between your hands or against the sink.

Note: The yarn dye may release some color during this process. In most cases, you will not notice a loss of color after the wash is complete. We recommend testing a small, inconspicuous area of your garment first before submerging in water.

The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo in the scent


No-Rush Drying: Hang or lay flat to dry–never use the dryer for wool pants. Avoid exposing the garment to direct sunlight and heat sources, such as the radiator, because they can shrink or damage wool during the drying process.

Quick Drying: Lay the wool pants flat on a towel. With the item in its original shape, roll it up in the towel (like a sleeping bag) to remove the excess water. Be careful not to twist or wring–this may cause the garment to be misshapen once dry.

Steam It Up: Steam your wool pants to remove wrinkles. We do not recommend ironing, as it can crush or flatten the natural pile of the yarns.

Want More Tips? Get our guide to drying garments here - How To Dry Your Clothes.

Don't have a steamer handy? You can (very carefully!) use an iron set to the "steam" setting and hover over the garment. Be sure to avoid garment-to-iron contact!

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