Perhaps you’re teetering on the edge of making the switch from your old cotton socks to wool socks. You’ve read about all the great benefits of wool socks, so you’re ready to set aside a few extra dollars to update your sock drawer.
Well, that’s great news! Once you go wool, it’s hard to return to using cotton. There are, however, some things you should know about wool socks before you delve into them. Wool socks will require some extra attention. Consider cotton socks to be like taking care of a cat, and wool socks taking care of a dog.
While the same care process doesn’t hold true for every kind of wool sock, you still need to find out first before you just throw in your wool socks with the rest of your laundry. Most SmartWool products, for example, can be washed and dried with the rest of your laundry. This doesn’t hold true for all brands though.
When in doubt of how to properly care for your wool socks, hand wash them. Let’s cliche it up for a second – it’s better safe than sorry. You don’t want to end up with socks that would better fit a cat’s paw rather than your own feet.
When washing your wool socks by washing machine, you’ll want to set the machine to the gentle cycle with cold water. If possible, set it to a short cycle – one less rinse and spin cycle. Fill the machine up with water and add a mild detergent. You’ll want the machine to agitate for a minute to dissolve and mix the soap into the water.
Then, place the socks and other washable wool items inside, pushing them down to the water. Let the socks sit in there for a good 10 minutes before starting the washing machine.
Once the washing is complete, remove your socks and if applicable place them in the dryer on the low cycle. If they aren’t dryer-friendly, lay them flat to air dry.
For the wool socks that aren’t washing machine-friendly, you’ll have to hand wash.
So, fill a tub or sink up with cold water and add a mild detergent. Make sure it mixes well and dissolves into the water. Place your socks in the soap-filled water and make sure they’re fully emerged. Start squeezing the socks while they’re in the water to gently wash the fibers. Don’t twist or aggressively wring the socks; this will cause the fibers to lock and felt together.
Then let the socks soak for about five minutes. Rinse the socks gently with cold water and then repeat the rinse cycle – making sure all soap is removed. Again, don’t twist or rub the socks.
When completed, lay the socks on a clean, dry towel and gently roll the towel over the socks to remove the excess water. You’ll then want to air dry the socks by laying them out on a flat surface out of direct sunlight. Gently reshape the socks while they are still wet if their form changed during the washing process. Wet wool is very easy to stretch and shape.
For some, the washing process of wool can be a tedious process and make you question if the process is worth the benefits. Well, trust me, it definitely is. Also keep in mind you don’t necessarily need to wash your wool socks as often as cotton socks. Part of the benefits of wool socks are it keeps sweat out and stays odor-free – reasons you need to typically wash cotton socks. Wearing a pair of socks a couple different times before washing isn’t the most ideal thing for most, but hey, sock addicts don’t question fellow sock addicts!
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Photo. Serge Bertasius Photography