Comparing hand-washing and machine-washing wool slippers: pros and cons

Comparing hand-washing and machine-washing wool slippers: pros and cons

You've decided to get yourself a pair of wool slippers. They're super comfortable and keep your feet extra warm. However, they do need some special attention if you want them to last a long time. Moreover, the warm, moist environment inside your shoes is the perfect place for bacteria, which can spell troubles for your feet health. But how to wash them properly? Follow this short guide for cleaning your wool slippers effectively.

100% Free Shipping

We ship FREE and deliver in 1-3 business days

Uh oh. It's happened again. 

You've been wearing the same wool slippers for months now and you need to clean them. Now you're stuck. How exactly do you go about washing wool slippers? Do you hand wash them like delicates? Or throw them in with the rest of your clothes? 

When it comes to cleaning wool slippers there are quite a few options out there, but which one is the best? 

Wool is a type of animal fiber that is naturally water-resistant. This makes it easier to clean compared to other fibers, such as cotton. But cleaning wool isn't exactly easy!hand-washing-wool-slippers

Hand washing and machine washing both do the job and get your woolen footwear clean. The challenge is to decide which one is best for various situations and circumstances:

  • Washing by hand is recommended for those that want natural cleaning products, or to preserve the life of the slippers. 
  • Machine washing is often done when it may be easier to use the washing machine than to hand wash the slippers. 

Hand-washing wool slippers is usually preferred over machine-washing because it keeps the heat from mechanical agitation from damaging any parts of the material. It's important to note that machine-washing should also be avoided because it can shrink the wool slippers prematurely, causing them to feel tight if not worn for a long time.

Today we're going to compare and contrast these two methods to determine which one is more appropriate for your wool slippers. But before we get into that, let us tell you why it's important to properly wash your wool slippers:
    1. The slippers can collect dirt, sweat, and bacteria that can lead to foot odor, infections, and other health issues. Not only can unclean slippers cause bacteria buildup on your feet, they can also give off a foul smell that everyone in your household is sure to notice.
    2. Cleaning wool slippers can help to remove stains, retain their shape, and prevent shrinkage. In addition, you'll extend the life of the slippers while maintaining breathability and comfort. 

However, improper cleaning can cause your wool slippers to fall apart prematurely. Like with any product that is made from natural fibers, it is important to take care of your wool slippers by hand washing them only if needed! A helpful analogy is the car wash: 

you can have a dirty car that gets washed every time it enters the car wash, or you can have a tidy car that does not enter the car wash at all. 

So, which is the better way to clean wool slippers – by hand or through a washing machine? This article will discuss the key differences between hand-washing and machine-washing, and help you determine which method works best for cleaning your wool slippers. 

Let's keep on!

Hand-washing wool slippers

Wool slippers are not made to withstand many washings, so it is important to follow a few basic care instructions on how to wash them to ensure they retain their shape and last longer:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. The temperature of the water should be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll need a basin or sink that can hold the entire piece of clothing, so pick one with enough depth. Gather your slippers and fill the sink with lukewarm water.
  2. filling-a-sink-with-water
  3. Do not use bleach as it will harm the color of the wool, simply add on some wool detergent that’s meant for hand washing and mix well in the soapy water. This can also be done with your own home-made soap-based laundry detergent. Let the slippers soak for about 10 minutes once all the detergent has dissolved. 
  4. letting-slippers-soak-in-water
  5. Then use your hands to gently massage the wool in a circular motion until clean. Skim off scum or foam that forms on top of the water. Only use a small amount of wool wash, and gently rub the inner surface of the slippers. 
  6. After rubbing, you must wash off any extra suds and rinse the slippers under cold running water. If you can not remove all the soap, it will rot the wool. 
  7. washing-away-any-extra-suds
  8. Hang them by the shoe laces or lay them flat on a towel to dry completely. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can before placing your slippers on a towel to dry. Be sure to allow a day or two for them to air-dry completely before walking in them again. 
  9. squeezing-excess-water-out-of-slippers
Note: Avoid using hot water since this can shrink the wool or even cause it to become sticky, and cool water can cause the wool to feel coarse.

Advantages of hand-washing wool slippers:

  • Gentle on the fabric

Wool washing requires a delicate touch, careful process, and proper equipment to keep the wool fibers from damaging during the cleaning process. Hand-washing allows you to be more attentive to the cleaning process and can minimize the risk of damage to delicate wool fibers by avoiding harsh movement. It can also help in the preservation of wool slippers since they are not affected by the agitat­ing force of a washing machine.
  • More thorough cleaning

Hand washing is considered to be a more thorough way of cleaning wool slippers since you can use your hands to clean even the most hidden spots in the fabric. The wool fibers can be massaged with your hands, ensuring that dirt and debris are thoroughly removed from the fabric. This results in cleaner and fresher-smelling slippers. In addition to this, they will not be over-dried by heat or chemicals, which can cause them to become brittle. 
  • Avoids shrinkage

Many washing machines are prone to shrinking woolen cloths because of the high heat they use when a load is being washed. This phenomenon is indicated by bolts of fabric that have gone off their original size by ¼, ½, and even 1 inch. Hand-washing wool slippers will help prevent this from happening and extend their life. Additionally, the process of hand-washing wool slippers in cold water can help add to their lifespan, while providing an optimal washing method with regard to fabric quality.

Disadvantages of hand-washing wool slippers:

  • Time-consuming

Hand-washing wool slippers is a time-consuming process that can be quite cumbersome. It's not as straightforward as just throwing them in the washer and letting them do their thing. Needless to say, hand-washing wool slippers is not going to be your top choice if you are looking for quicker alternatives. On the flip side, a hand- wash can keep your slippers in prime condition for a long time. 
  • Requires drying time

One of the biggest disadvantages of hand-washing your wool slippers is that you need to allow ample time for the drying process. After manually washing them, the slippers shouldn't be worn for at least 48 hours or until they're completely dry. Air-drying wool, then waiting for it to dry thoroughly is the safest way to go.

Machine-washing wool slippers

If you've ever wondered how to wash wool slippers in a washing machine, follow these instructions.


  1. It's ideal to check the care labels first, but even if you don't see any information about washing machine washing it's always better to be safe than sorry. If you want to wash them inside the washing machine, check if they are made from a sturdy fabric that can withstand high temperatures.
  2. Put the slippers in the washing machine and set your machine to an eco setting. Wash the wool slippers at 40° C in a washing machine. It’s recommended to choose a delicate wool cycle. Do not use bleach or fabric softener, or you will weaken the fibers' ability to absorb water and liquids. Instead, use wool-friendly detergent as you want to make sure all the stains are completely removed from your wool.
  3. Once you take them out of the wash cycle, examine them carefully for stains that are left behind and thoroughly rinse off any remaining soap residue with cold water before putting them into a tumble dryer on low heat until it is completely dry. 
Warning: only wash wool slippers in your washing machine if your machine has a Wool/Hand Wash or Delicate Cycle mode which uses cold water.

Advantages of machine-washing wool slippers:

  • Convenience

Hand-washing wool slippers requires a little bit of effort on your part, so you may want to look into machine-washing these items. In some cases, washing wool slippers in a washing machine might be easier than hand-washing, but unless the slippers are labeled for machine-washing, there are several disadvantages that you might want to take into consideration.
  • Time-saving

Machine-washing wool slippers is a great way to save time. You can sleep in or relax with your family and know that your wool slippers will be clean, fresh, and ready for wear when you get up. Just set the wash setting on the washer for medium heat and rinse once during a large cycle and your wool slippers are clean.

Disadvantages of machine-washing wool slippers:

  • Potential shrinkage

Wool is a soft fabric that is susceptible to shrinkage. This is why it is important to avoid exposing wool products to high temperatures, which is more likely to occur when machine washing, as the ratio of heat and agitation are kept consistent for every load of wash. Wool can shrink when exposed to high temperatures or agitation, which in turn can affect the fit of the slippers and make them uncomfortable to wear. 
  • Damage to the material

Machine-washing wool slippers is feasible, and can be done correctly, but is not recommended, because it will cause the fibers in the wool to swell and become matted, leading to wear on the product after only a few washes and a loss of softness. It may also ruin other eco-friendly materials in your slippers, such as its lining fabric. 
  • Color bleeding

Wool can be dyed in any color, a process that involves special equipment and careful handling to prevent dye bleeding or running. Machine washing can cause fading or bleeding of the dye. If you have wool slippers that are dyed, you need to be careful when it comes to washing them in the washing machine. If the slippers are natural wool and not dyed, then they are safe for machine-washing. 


    1. You also may want to add shampoo or hair conditioner during the washing cycle to help prevent shrinkage and keep your wool slippers soft. 
    2. If necessary, you could use an old toothbrush to gently rub off the water spots from your wool slippers without damaging their appearance.


As cozy as they are, wool slippers aren't the easiest things to care for. Being delicate and sensitive means wool slippers are more likely to lose their shape in washing. Hand-washing is gentler but time-consuming. Machine washing is quicker and easier, but may cause damage to the wool fiber. It’s up to you what type of washing to opt for. Compare the pros and cons of each option mentioned above and make an informed decision on the best way to clean your wool slippers and keep them looking great.