How to Wash a Wool Coat

How to Wash a Wool Coat

Do you have a dirty wool coat and are wondering how you can clean it without causing damage? Understandable! Washing wool can be intimidating, because of that Dry Cleaning Recommended tag. You may even be tempted to go to the dry cleaners to save yourself some grief, but there are alternative methods to washing your wool coat which can give you great results

Whether it’s a spot clean, hand wash, or machine wash , here are the steps to do it successfully:


How Often Should I Clean My Wool Coat?

The moment you see a new stain on your coat, spot clean it as soon as possible. The longer you wait to treat a stain, the harder it will be to remove it.

When you don’t have any stains to worry about, you shouldn’t have to clean your coat until the end of the season. Since overcoats aren’t worn directly against the skin, they will stay cleaner for longer. Yet, if you notice that your wool coat has an odour or is visibly dirty, wash it.


How to Spot Clean My Wool Coat?

The spot cleaning method is an easy way to keep your coat looking clean throughout the season.

First, brush it gently to remove dust and dirt from the fibres. Once you have done that, mix together a mild detergent (such as Castile soap or Woolite) and water and apply it to the affected spot.

Use a soft cloth to rub at the stain. Then press a dry towel against the dampened area to remove any excess water. Leave the coat to air dry.

That should remove the stain, but if it didn’t spot clean a second time.


How Do I Hand Wash a Wool Coat?

Before storing your wool items until you need them next, wash them to remove any grime or stains.

Follow these steps:

1. Brush the wool

gray coat being brushed

As you would with spot cleaning wool, brush off the hair, dust, and debris. Lay the coat flat and starting at the shoulders, brush down section by section.

2. Pretreat stains

Mix together a half cup of warm water and a teaspoon of a gentle detergent, such as Castile soap or Woolite. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and rub away visible debris or stains from the armpits, cuffs, and collar of the coat. Wait about 10 minutes after pretreating the stains, as that will give the solution time to work.

3. Prepare the washing space and solution

You can hand wash your coat in either a deep sink, plastic tub, or a bathtub. Whatever you choose, make sure the basin is thoroughly clean and has no residue before you begin the washing process.

Fill the tub or sink with lukewarm water (never hot water) and add in a bit of wool wash. For a bathtub, you will need ¼ to ½ cup of detergent for effective cleaning. Use a bit less for smaller basins.

4. Submerge, soak, and agitate wool garment

Place the coat in the water and let it soak. Wait about 30 minutes before agitating the coat gently with your hands. You can agitate by squeezing sections of the fabric. Never rub or twist the garment , because that could cause damage to the fibres.

5. Rinse

Do not wring the coat as you remove it from the soapy water. Drain out the used water, wash out the basin, and then refill it with fresh lukewarm water. Return the coat to the tub and swish the water to rinse the fabric. Repeat until there are no more suds.

close up of a woollen coat

6. Remove moisture

Once there is no more soap, lift the coat from the water and squeeze the water gently. Start with the top, at the shoulders. Again, don’t wring. Do the squeezing motion for the entire coat until it is no longer dripping.

From there, following the instructions below for air drying.


Is it Safe to Machine Wash My Coat?

When you look up how to wash a wool coat, the machine-washing method is bound to come up as a topic. Many people think that the dry cleaning tag on their wool clothing means that tossing wool in a washing machine is forbidden, but that’s not true. With a little preparation and a nifty mesh laundry bag for protecting clothes, machine washing wool coats is quite easy.

1. Brushing and pretreating wool coat

Similar to hand washing a wool coat, be sure to brush away soil and pretreat any stubborn stains. Empty out the coat’s pockets and button or zip it up. Turn the coat inside out so that the liner is on the outside.

2. Prepare the washer

Check out your washing machine. There should be a gentle or wool cycle to select. Set the water temperature to cold or lukewarm. If you can, choose the slowest spin cycle to prevent stretching. Add in your wool wash or detergent, making sure to follow the instructions on the washer or the bottle. 

3. Add your coat

Place your coat in a mesh washing bag or a white pillowcase with the open end tied shut (if you don’t have a mesh bag) to stop it from snagging. Start the washer. Once the cycle is completed, remove the coat and immediately turn it wool side out. Then follow the instructions for drying your coat below.


Drying a Wool Coat Correctly

Step away from the dryer! Never expose your wool coat to that much heat, because you will end up ruining it.

Instead, lay the coat on a drying rack or on a towel. If there is excess water, gently roll the coat up in a towel then squeeze—not wring—out the moisture. Then you can shape it so it lays naturally and then take a soft brush to remove pilling.

Be sure to keep the wool coat away from sunlight or heat while it dries, since that could cause shrinkage.

rust coloured wool coat

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions we often receive about washing wool coats:

1. Can you wash wool when it says dry clean only?

You can definitely wash wool that has a dry clean only tag. However, it is best to wash the garment with your hands and avoid the washer. If dry cleaning is only recommended, then you can choose any method for washing wool at home.

2. What happens when you put a wool coat in the washer?

On the delicate or wool cycle and in cool or lukewarm water, a wool coat will be thoroughly washed. However, if you put wool in hot water or on a more vigorous cycle, the wool could get stretched or irreversibly damaged. Be careful when putting wool in the washing machine, and make sure you are protecting it with a mesh laundry bag.

3. How can I make my wool coat look new?

If your coat is looking a bit drab, you can bring it back to life with a suede brush. The brush will remove lint and debris and also manage pilling. When you are not wearing the coat, hang it on a wide cedar hanger to help retain the shape.

4. Can you wash 100% wool?

Yes, you can. Simply soak your coat in lukewarm water with a wool-friendly detergent for about 10 minutes. Wash out the basin, refill it with clean water, and rinse the wool.

5. Is vinegar safe for washing wool?

Vinegar may be acidic, but it won’t damage wool coats. In fact, diluted vinegar is considered one of the best cleaning solutions for wool. If you want to use vinegar when hand washing, simply mix in ½ cup to warm water while rinsing the coat out.

6. Can I wash wool with a gentle shampoo?

Yes, you can wash wool with shampoo. Since wool is fur, shampoo will give it a smooth look and soft feel.

Is it worth washing your coat?

Wool coats are stylish, warm, and durable, but they can be daunting to care for when they get dirty. And now that you have read up on how to wash a wool coat, you should be able to choose the method best for you and do it with success.

Remember to spot clean in between washes and to keep your wool away from heat sources while it dries, and your wool will come out of storage looking gorgeous.

a woman standing between trees in a grey wool coat and hat

About MothPrevention

MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their clothes moth issues - clothes moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.

To date, we’ve helped over 150,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.

Back to Blog Homepage

Latest Articles

delivery vehicle icon
Next Working Day on Orders Over £60
Standard Delivery Only £4.95
Find Out More