How to Get the Itch Out of Wool

by S.R. Becker

Wool comes from the coat of an animal, typically a sheep. Some types of wool are softer than others -- for example, those with a wool sensitivity might find that merino and lambswool don't irritate their skin as much. Coarse wool with a short staple, or fiber length, often causes more itching. If you're suffering through the itch to wear a garment you love, soaking the garment with conditioning agents reduces the discomfort you experience.

Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a capful of moisturizing, silicone-free shampoo. Swish the water to mix in the shampoo. Add the garment to the water and gently squeeze the suds through. Let the garment soak for 30 minutes.

Drain the sudsy water and rinse the garment under lukewarm running water. Squeeze gently to get the shampoo out.

Refill the sink and add 1 capful of silicone-free hair conditioner. Soak the garment for another hour and rinse again as you did in step 2.

Fill the sink with lukewarm water a final time and add 2 tablespoons of liquid glycerin. Soak the garment for another 30 minutes. Do not rinse.

Squeeze the water out of the garment by pressing it against the bottom of the sink. Roll it in a large bath towel to absorb any remaining water. Lay it flat on a drying rack or another towel and allow it to air-dry.


  • Silicones are synthetic oils whose names end in -cone or -conol, such as dimethicone, dimethiconol and cyclomethicone. Just as they can build up on human hair, they can build up in the fibers of clothing.


  • Do not twist or wring wool garments when washing, as this can cause them to stretch out of shape.
  • Never wash a 100-percent wool sweater in hot water, as this can cause it to shrink.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images