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Does merino lose its goodness over time?

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Does merino lose its goodness over time?

Old 02-10-11, 01:38 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Does merino lose its goodness over time?

I've had a few merino base layers for about two years now. They don't seem quite as wonderful as they used to. It feels like they don't wick or dissipate sweat quite as well as they used to ( feel a little clammier ), and they feel like they have more of a rough texture, when I remember them being softer than cotton.

Is this from age, and lots and lots of use? From being abused in the wash? Or is it just a shifting frame of reference?

How is your older merino holding up?
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Old 02-10-11, 01:43 PM
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yes, in particular if your partner puts them in a hot wash cycle and throws them in the dryer. (I speak from experience)

I do believe merino loses effectiveness if you are not very careful during the wash. This part of the problem, I think; ideally you wouldn't wash wool at all, but obviously that doesn't work for our application.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:56 PM
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I've been washing these as rarely as I can get away with, and using woollite .... which probably isn't the best detergent, but shouldn't be too harsh. And I've been air drying them. They haven't changed their size much ( they can shrink or stretch ) and only one of them developed any holes. Amazingly, not one of them has a problem with pilling.

I've probably worn my favorites an average of at least once a week over those couple years, though, even through the summer.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:01 PM
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I haven't worn mine as much as you apparently have, but the fabric is holding up well after two years. Zipper gave up the ghost, but Ibex replaced it (free), and it feels as good as ever.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:25 PM
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I don't have a direct answer to your question, but I do know that any fabric will thin as it is worn. Think about the pile of lint that comes out of the dryer. While I'm sure you dont dry your wool, that is happening to some degree while you wear the fabric - probably more so if it is a base layer with other layers of fabric on top rubbing the fibers. You mention that it feels coarser, it could be that the finer fibers have worn out first leaving the coarser, stronger fibers behind.

I dont know if 2 yrs is enough time, but I would think that its possible to feel different after significant wear. Can you find new replacements of any of your items locally? Maybe you could compare the feel of a new one with your worn items.

Last edited by pallen; 02-10-11 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:40 PM
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I suspect that any knit does this as it's stretched, unstretched, wet, dries, heated, cooled, etc.
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Old 02-11-11, 04:17 AM
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I think it depends on the quality of the wool. I have some genuine 100% NZ merino T shirts that I have been wearing everyday for 3-4years (generally about 3-4 days between washes and wear for the ride only). I got a couple of new ones last year from the same company. The older ones are a bit thinner through wear but they still work well.
Lower grade wool will pill and wear sooner.
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Old 02-11-11, 07:06 AM
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A forest ranger once told me that wool looses its ability to handle moisture due to drying but this can be restored using ordinary hair conditioner. I think you add some to a bucket of water and soak the wool after it's been washed and then hang dry.
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Old 02-11-11, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Mauriceloridans View Post
A forest ranger once told me that wool looses its ability to handle moisture due to drying but this can be restored using ordinary hair conditioner. I think you add some to a bucket of water and soak the wool after it's been washed and then hang dry.
can somebody confirm this? Sounds sort of hard to believe.
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Old 02-11-11, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pallen View Post
I don't have a direct answer to your question, but I do know that any fabric will thin as it is worn. Think about the pile of lint that comes out of the dryer. While I'm sure you dont dry your wool, that is happening to some degree while you wear the fabric - probably more so if it is a base layer with other layers of fabric on top rubbing the fibers. You mention that it feels coarser, it could be that the finer fibers have worn out first leaving the coarser, stronger fibers behind.

I dont know if 2 yrs is enough time, but I would think that its possible to feel different after significant wear. Can you find new replacements of any of your items locally? Maybe you could compare the feel of a new one with your worn items.
This makes perfect sense. Thanks!
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Old 02-11-11, 02:29 PM
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I hand wash mine and then hang them to dry without wringing them out.

Look to be OK so far.
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Old 02-11-11, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
yes, in particular if your partner puts them in a hot wash cycle and throws them in the dryer. (I speak from experience)

I do believe merino loses effectiveness if you are not very careful during the wash. This part of the problem, I think; ideally you wouldn't wash wool at all, but obviously that doesn't work for our application.
Sounds like his wife is related to mine.....
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Old 02-11-11, 06:04 PM
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I wear my everyday for work all winter, also for cross country skiing and running. Machine wash a couple of times a week on average cold water gentle cycle, Tide liquid detergent. Lay flat to dry usually but have thrown in the dryer on gentle a couple of times. Usually get 2-3 years (winters) out of a base layer. Bottoms seem to wear faster then tops. Never noticed any decrease in performance over time.
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Old 02-11-11, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
Sounds like his wife is related to mine.....
Sounds like you guys should be doing your own laundry...
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Old 02-11-11, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mauriceloridans View Post
A forest ranger once told me that wool looses its ability to handle moisture due to drying but this can be restored using ordinary hair conditioner. I think you add some to a bucket of water and soak the wool after it's been washed and then hang dry.
be sure to use one with keratine and vitamin B!

A wool jersey can looses it's properties yes, it pills up for one...
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