How to Wash Wool Coat: A Complete Guide to Cleaning, Drying, and Maintaining Wool Coats

How to Wash Wool Coat: A Complete Guide to Cleaning, Drying, and Maintaining Wool Coats

Wool coats are timeless, offering both warmth and style. But when it comes to cleaning, they can be a bit intimidating. You might wonder if you should brave the DIY route or leave it to the professionals.

Don’t fret, washing a wool coat at home is easier than you think. With the right techniques, you can keep your coat looking fresh and feeling cozy, without causing any damage. Let’s dive into the steps you’ll need to take to ensure your wool coat stays in top-notch condition.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Wool Fabric: Knowing the properties of wool, such as its durability, moisture-wicking abilities, and tendency to resist wrinkling, is essential to prevent damage during washing.
  • Common Washing Mistakes: Avoid hot water, harsh detergents, wringing, and direct sunlight to prevent shrinking, weakening, and damaging the wool fibers.
  • Preparation Steps: Checking the coat’s care label and spot cleaning stains with a mild detergent before a full wash are vital steps to preserve the coat’s quality.
  • Washing Methods: Whether hand washing or machine washing, use cold water and wool-specific detergents. For machine washing, turn the coat inside out, use a gentle cycle, and avoid the spin cycle.
  • Proper Drying Techniques: Lay the coat flat on a clean towel and reshape it while drying in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Storage Tips: Use a padded hanger, cover with a breathable garment bag, and store in a cool, dry place to prevent damage. Use cedar blocks or lavender sachets to deter moths naturally.

Understanding Wool Fabric

Understanding the unique attributes of wool fabric is crucial for maintaining your wool coat’s quality. This knowledge helps you avoid damaging the material during cleaning.

Characteristics of Wool

Wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep and certain other animals. It’s renowned for its durability, insulation, and moisture-wicking properties. Wool’s crimped structure allows it to trap air, providing excellent warmth. Additionally, wool resists wrinkling and retains its shape well, making it a long-lasting choice for outerwear.

Common Mistakes When Washing Wool

Several common mistakes can damage wool coats. Avoid using hot water, which can cause shrinkage and distortion of the fibers. Skip harsh detergents and opt for wool-specific cleaners to prevent weakening the fabric. Never twist or wring out a wool coat; instead, gently press out excess water to maintain its structure. Lastly, avoid direct sunlight or high heat during drying, as these can lead to fiber damage or fading.

Preparing to Wash Your Wool Coat

Proper preparation ensures the washing process maintains your wool coat’s integrity. Follow these steps to get started.

Checking the Label for Care Instructions

Review the label’s care instructions before washing. Labels typically include essential information like washing temperature, whether dry cleaning is recommended, and any specific detergent requirements. This information helps avoid damaging the coat.

Spot Cleaning Before Washing

Address any stains before washing. Use a damp cloth and a mild detergent to gently blot (not rub) the stain. This method targets specific areas and prevents over-washing, which can degrade the wool fibers.

Hand Washing Versus Machine Washing

Hand Washing Versus Machine Washing

Knowing how to clean your wool coat ensures that it retains its quality and longevity. Both hand washing and machine washing are options, but each method has specific steps to follow.

How to Hand Wash a Wool Coat

Fill a basin or tub with cold water and add a small amount of wool detergent. Submerge the coat, ensuring it’s fully soaked. Gently agitate the coat for 5-10 minutes, paying attention not to rub or wring it. Rinse thoroughly with cold water until there are no detergent residues. Lay the coat flat on a clean towel, roll it up to squeeze out excess water, then reshape and lay flat to air dry.

Tips for Machine Washing Wool

Select a gentle or wool-specific cycle on your washing machine. Use cold water and a wool-approved detergent. Turn the coat inside out to minimize abrasion. Place it in a mesh laundry bag for extra protection. Avoid using the spin cycle to prevent stretching. Once the cycle completes, lay the coat flat on a clean towel to dry, reshaping as necessary.

Drying and Maintaining Your Wool Coat

Proper care during drying and storage enhances your wool coat’s longevity and appearance.

Proper Drying Techniques

Avoid using a tumble dryer to preserve wool fiber quality. Instead, choose air drying. After washing, gently squeeze excess water without twisting. Lay the coat flat on a clean, dry towel. Carefully reshape the coat to its original form, paying close attention to the collar, sleeves, and hemline. Place the towel with the coat on a flat surface and let it air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Storing Your Wool Coat to Avoid Damage

Use a padded hanger to maintain your wool coat’s shape while storing. Ensure it’s clean and dry before storage to prevent any mold or mildew growth. Cover it with a breathable garment bag for protection against dust and moths. Store it in a cool, dry place, avoiding cramped closet spaces to prevent creasing and fiber compression. For long-term storage, consider cedar blocks or lavender sachets to deter moths naturally. Regularly check the coat to address any minor issues promptly.


Taking care of your wool coat ensures it remains a timeless staple in your wardrobe. By following the right washing, drying, and storage techniques, you can maintain its quality and appearance for years. Remember to air dry your coat, reshape it properly, and store it using a padded hanger and breathable garment bag. Regularly check for minor issues to keep your coat looking its best. With these tips, your wool coat will continue to offer warmth, style, and durability through many seasons.

Washing a wool coat requires gentle cleaning methods to maintain its texture and shape, often involving hand washing or dry cleaning. Detailed cleaning instructions are available on Martha Stewart and care tips are provided by The Laundress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are wool coats so popular?

Wool coats are popular because they provide excellent warmth, style, and durability. Their natural insulation properties make them perfect for cold weather, while their timeless style makes them a versatile wardrobe staple.

How should I wash my wool coat?

To avoid damaging your wool coat, it’s best to follow the care label instructions. Generally, dry cleaning is recommended. If washing at home, use cold water, a gentle detergent, and avoid wringing or twisting the fabric to maintain its shape and quality.

Can I tumble dry my wool coat?

No, you should avoid tumble drying your wool coat. Air drying is preferred to preserve the quality of the wool fibers. Lay the coat flat on a clean, dry towel away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

How should I reshape my wool coat after washing?

After washing, gently reshape your wool coat while it is still damp. Lay it flat on a clean surface and use your hands to adjust the seams and fabric to its original shape. Avoid stretching or pulling the material.

What is the best way to store a wool coat?

For short-term storage, use a padded hanger to maintain the coat’s shape. For long-term storage, place the coat in a breathable garment bag with natural moth deterrents like cedar balls or lavender sachets to protect against pests.

How can I prevent moth damage to my wool coat?

To prevent moth damage, store your wool coat in a breathable garment bag with natural moth deterrents such as cedar balls or lavender sachets. Also, ensure the storage area is clean and free of food particles.

How often should I check my wool coat for maintenance?

Regularly inspect your wool coat for minor issues like loose buttons, small tears, or moth damage. Address these problems promptly to ensure your coat remains in good condition and lasts for many years.

Can I iron my wool coat?

Yes, but you should use a low heat setting and place a cloth between the iron and the wool to prevent direct contact. Alternatively, steam the coat to remove wrinkles without damaging the fabric.