Do Thermals Shrink in the Wash in Winter?

Winter is a time of cozying up in warm and comfortable clothing, and wool thermals are a popular choice for battling the cold. However, one common concern among wearers is the fear of shrinkage. So, do thermals shrink in the wash in winter? It’s important to note that proper care and maintenance are crucial when it comes to preserving the quality and size of your woolen garments. Everyone interested in knowing how to wash wool thermals should know that the right way to wash wool thermal underwear is to wash them in the cold water cycle to prevent shrinking. Drying them can also be problematic. A warm dryer cycle may end up in the shrinking of the underwear. Just machine air-drying can be fine.

Do Thermals Need to Be Washed?

Do thermals need to be washed? The answer is yes, but with caution. This step helps to eliminate any manufacturing residues or potential irritants that may be present on the garment. However, unlike regular clothing, thermals require less frequent washing.

In fact, it’s recommended to wash thermals only twice a season. Why so few? The reason lies in the unique properties that make thermals so effective in keeping us warm. Therefore, over-washing should be avoided to preserve their exclusiveness.

Considering the interplay between thermals and winter, one may wonder if they shrink in the wash during colder months. The answer is no, thermals don’t shrink solely due to the winter season. The potential shrinkage of any garment, including thermals, is primarily dependent on the fabric composition and the washing process itself.

To prevent any mishaps, it’s crucial to check the care instructions on the label of your thermals before washing them. This will ensure that you follow the correct temperature and washing settings. Opting for a gentle cycle or handwashing can further minimize the risk of shrinkage or damage to the fabric.

Different Methods for Washing Thermals (e.g. Handwashing vs. Machine Washing)

  • Handwashing thermals
  • Machine washing thermals

However, it’s important to note that not all thermals can be machine washed. Some materials, such as merino wool, require special care and should be hand washed instead. In the next section, we will explore the proper way to hand wash thermals to ensure their longevity and maintain their performance.

What Is the Best Way to Wash Thermals?

Hand-Wash Method Alternatively, hand-washing thermals is a gentler alternative to machine washing. Fill a clean sink or basin with cold water and add a mild detergent specifically designed for wool or delicate fabrics. Gently agitate the water to create suds.

Submerge the thermal garment into the water and lightly swish it around. Avoid excessively rubbing or wringing the fabric, as this can cause shrinking or damage. Let the thermal soak for a few minutes to allow the detergent to break down any dirt or sweat.

Lay the thermal garment flat on a clean, dry towel. Roll up the towel, pressing down lightly to help absorb the moisture. Unroll the towel and transfer the thermal to a dry, flat surface, such as a drying rack or clean towel. Allow it to air dry completely before storing or wearing.

Regardless of the washing method used, it’s important to always read and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some thermals may have specific cleaning requirements, such as dry cleaning only or the use of special detergents. Following these guidelines will help maintain the quality and longevity of your thermals, ensuring that they continue to keep you warm and comfortable throughout the winter months.

Source: How To Wash Thermals – Woollen-Wear


In conclusion, it’s important for individuals seeking to wash wool thermals in the winter to be aware of the potential for shrinkage. By following the appropriate steps, such as washing them in the cold water cycle and avoiding warm dryer cycles, one can minimize the risk of shrinking their thermal underwear.

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