We want your Dannah garments to last a lifetime. If you are unsure on how to wash your garments, or just get a few hints and tips on how to make sure they last longer, check out our Wash and Care guide.
Merino wool garments designed for performance use are machine-washable. That's not always so with woollen fashion apparel, where hand-washing is often required. Yet most merino wool items designed for athletic or recreational use (socks, base layers, tops) can be tossed in the washer (front-loaders preferred).
Drying Dannah baselayer simply line dry and no real requirement to iron as most wrinkle will come out while drying.
Shrinkage is one of wool's enemies. Moisture, heat and friction are the principle forces that cause it. To combat shrinkage, merino wool used for performance-wear garments typically undergoes a "superwash" process (involving chlorine) early in its production cycle. This shrinkage-resistant treatment masks the natural scales on individual wool fibres.
When exposed to a slippery solution such as detergent, these scales (which resemble irregularly stacked cones) migrate in one direction—toward the root, a reaction that causes the scales of the fibre to lock together, creating a very strong, irreversible bond. As the fibres lock together, the fabric actually shrinks. This is called "felting shrinkage" and is unique to wool.
The superwash process, though, greatly minimizes felting shrinkage. It makes merino wool garments capable of safely weathering the agitation and spinning actions involved in machine washing. Beyond felting shrinking, another type of shrinkage can impact wool—relaxation shrinkage. Fabrics are knit under tension (a stretched condition). During initial home machine washes, water lubricates natural fibres, enabling them to return to a more natural/relaxed/less-stretched state. This is why a cotton T-shirt shrinks the first few time it's washed.
The same thing happens with wool. Depending on the knit, wool garments are vulnerable to varying degrees of relaxation shrinkage.
The tighter the knit, the less potential for relaxation shrinkage. Our Base layers, for example, are knit tightly. Tight construction permits safe machine-drying with minimal risk of shrinkage. Fashion jumpers, meanwhile, have a looser knit and may shrink more. With Fashion Jumpers laying the items flat to dry prevents shrinkage.
Yet even the most tightly knit fabrics will experience a minor amount of shrinkage. But you can safely hang our Baselayer out to dry on the line.
One of merino wool's chief advantages over polyester (used in synthetic base layers) is its natural ability to resist odours. Of course, even wool's odour-fighting ability can be overwhelmed by a week-long backpacking trip or too many hours spent near a smoky fire. In general, though, wool substantially outperforms synthetic materials in its ability to minimise odours.
Frequency of cleaning: wash merino wool regularly.
Supermarket laundry detergents are generally considered safe and acceptable for machine-washable merino wool. Avoid any that contain chlorine bleach.
Wool has a high resistance to acid, yet some detergents contain an elevated alkali content that, if used over an extended time, may weaken wool fibres. Other evidence indicates that, over time, the use of household detergents can cause light-coloured woollens to yellow slightly. It's the same effect wool experiences if it is exposed to excessive amounts of ultraviolet light (direct sunlight). Some wool-clothing manufacturers recommend mild cleaning products such as soap flakes.
Producers of clean-rinsing fabric-care products for outdoor clothing (from Nikwax) offer wool-specific laundry washes. If a household detergent is used, consider choosing those with minimal additives, usually labelled Mild detergents may extend the life of merino wool products. Wool is less resistant to abrasion that other fibres. Therefore, never wash wool with any item that includes exposed hook-and-loop (rip-and-stick) fasteners on cuffs or pockets. For optimal care, wash wool items only with other soft garments, such as other knits.
Other points to remember:
- Never use bleach.
- No fabric softener.
- Ironing is OK (as long as individual care instructions permit it). Wool in general exhibits a natural resistance to wrinkling and thus infrequently requires ironing. It is recommended that you use a low heat setting on your iron.
- Avoid Tumble drying, these machines are known for slowly removing small fibres from garments, shortening the life of the garment. Where possible line dries your Dannah Merino baselayer.
If is fairly rare for insects to attack woollen products. Several specialized insect families (clothes moths and carpet beetles) are able to digest wool when in their larval stages. However, these species are more attracted to wool in its raw form than as a finished product. A few suggestions:
- Moths dislike light, fresh air and regular laundering.
- Rather than use mothballs, keep all wool products in a wood-lined chest or closet.
- Clean wool items after all periods of extensive wear. Be especially vigilant when food spills are evident.
- After cleaning and before storing for prolonged periods, place items in an air-tight plastic bag (though some insects can chew through plastic).
Extra ideas on Stain and Odour Removal
Some techniques offered here may conflict with manufacturer care directions. Note: Employ them at your own risk.
General Tips for Tough Stains
- Keep fresh stains wet in cold water, then wash immediately. (Avoid hot water; it can set some stains.) Fresher stains can be removed more easily.
- Do not rub a stain with bar soap; doing so may set the stain.
- Rubbing a stain with an ice cube may be beneficial. Rub a stain outside-in to avoid spreading the stain.
- Rub or blot stains with a white material (cloth or paper). Using a dark material may cause a new problem. Avoid using materials prone to causing lint.
- Carefully scrape off any material that can be scraped off (again, in an outside-in motion), but do so only if you can avoid spreading the stain.
- Do not allow stained garment to touch any coloured fabric.
Perspiration: Apply liquid detergent directly to the stain or soak in warm water with a pre-soak product for 15 to 30 minutes. Then launder. If the stain, try laundering again before attempting to machine-dry the garment.
Oil (such as sunscreen or insect repellent): Start with one of the following:
- Treat with a prewash spray or liquid.
- Pour a small amount of liquid detergent directly on the spot.
- Mix powdered detergent and water to create a gooey paste.
Whatever treatment you choose, massage the solution into the stain. Using additional detergent, wash it in the warmest water allowable for your garment. After rinsing, inspect the garment before attempting to machine-dry it. If some portion of the stain remains, repeat the treatment without machine-drying.
Mud, blood, food (known as protein stains): If the stain is fresh, soak and agitate in cold water prior to washing. If dried, soak in cold water with detergent or a pre-soak product. Wash in warm (not hot) water. (Hot water can set some stains, particularly blood.) Inspect before attempted to machine-dry the garment. If necessary, repeat the soak-then-wash process for 30+ minutes before machine-drying.
Human saliva can be effective against blood. Spit on a blood stain and the saliva will break done the proteins in the blood. Rub it in with a finger or soft brush until the blood dissolves, and then wash normally. With wool, however, do not over agitate the stain; doing so could promote shrinkage at that spot.
Grass or ink (dye stains): Use hair spray; rub gently with white cloth or paper. Avoid excessive rubbing, though; it could spread the stain.
Red wine (tannin stains): Pour on some carbonised water or white wine; rub gently with white cloth or paper. As with ink, avoid excessive rubbing. Wash soon using detergent. Do not use a bar soap or soap flakes. Non-chlorine bleach can be tried on severe spot stains, but it offers no guarantee of removal. Realize some stains simply cannot be removed.
Odours: washing usually removes most odours. If they persist, try storing them in a box or closet with an open container of baking soda or Sodium Bicarbonate, activated charcoal or calcium carbonate crystals. Another option: Sprinkle soda directly on a fabric and let it stand for a day or longer; eventually shake it off or use a hand vacuum.
Coatings and Laminations
Launder regularly for best performance.
- You can wash your garment in pure soap or one of the specialist cleaning products available at many outdoor stores.
- Wash in warm (40°C/104°F) water.
- Rinse thoroughly; 2 rinse cycles are usually recommended.
- Tumble dry, low heat.
- Do not use fabric softener or tumble dryer sheets.
DWR maintenance needed when water no longer beads up on a garment's face fabric.
- Machine-drying (tumble dry, low to medium heat) for 10-15 minutes after each washing.
- If a washing is not needed touching up items with an iron (at a low setting). Place a tea towel between the iron and garment during touch-ups.
- If the face fabric continues to show signs of wetness, use a DWR reapplication product from Nikwax.
- Spray-on DWR products are usually preferred over wash-in products, leaving linings and membranes untouched.