Homemade Vs Commercial - The Wool Wash Test

As you should already know, the way you care for your clothes will contribute to the longevity of them; this is particularly true with woollen clothing. And one of the biggest elements of looking after your clothes is the way you wash them and the type of detergents that you use. So, when caring for your wool clothing should you go for homemade or for commercial detergents? As you are about to discover, both methods have their perceived advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at homemade detergents first.

Wool Washing With Homemade Detergents

With growing concerns over the amount of chemicals in everyday products, some might consider a homemade detergent a better alternative.  Homemade versions tend to include regular ingredients like borax and washing soda. They'll also have some form of soap for cleansing.  

Main Advantages

  • Fewer chemicals, which could potentially reduce impact on the environment
  • Lower chance of irritation due to fewer chemicals
  • More cost-effective than commercial products

Main Disadvantages

  • Not always effective at removing stains
  • Won’t clean as effectively as a commercial detergent

While a homemade detergent could be better for the environment, is it really better for your clothes? Perhaps not. First, a homemade mix just won’t do the same job as a commercial detergent. The main reason being that they only contain soap, which isn’t likely to remove dirt as effectively as a commercial brand detergent would.

However, perhaps more concerning is the fact that homemade mixes could also be damaging to your clothes. And there are further reasons why soap might not be ideal. First, the use of soap can create a breeding ground for bacteria when used in laundry. And it’s not necessarily great for the longevity of your washing machine either.

Wool Washing With Commercial detergents

Commercial detergents aren’t always without their problems. One of the most common issues is shrinkage, especially with woollen clothing. However, the chances of this can be reduced by using a delicate wash or a wool wash. You can also buy wool specific detergents, and avoiding the use of a dryer can lower the risk of shrinkage.

Alternatively, you could try hand washing your woollen clothing. Hand washing can reduce the clothing’s exposure to water, thus protecting the fibers that can become damaged over time. If you’re going with commercial brands for hand washing your clothes, you might find a no-rinse detergent a good choice. Or look for hand washes for woollen clothing -  many of the major brands do them.

Main Advantages

  • Better at removing odor and ingrained dirt
  • Often more effective at removing stains
  • Designed with your type of clothing in mind

Main Disadvantages

  • Added chemicals, which can cause irritation among some people
  • Less cost effective, but some many would argue they still give better value in general.


Which solution should you ultimately go with? Look at the clothing label for basic instructions first as these will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For instance, some types of alpaca/wool clothing will be marked hand wash only, while Woop! Wear’s own range of clothing such as our long sleeve crews are suitable for machine washing with a gentle detergent.

Overall, commercial brands are often considered better at cleaning your clothing when compared to homemade detergents. However, if the chemical content does concern you, opt for gentle, environmentally friendly brands instead. But above all, always go with the manufacturer’s directions when washing your clothing and choosing a detergent.

Woop! Wear specializes in the sale of alpaca activewear clothing for outdoors lovers. To find out more about our range, to order an item, or to ask us a question, visit the Woop! Wear website today.

Image: Flickr