Superwash Merino Wool
Superwash Merino wool is a wool yarn that is machine washable and dry-able (at certain weights) and much less rough feeling than traditional Merino and other, thicker, wools.
Each hair of wool is made up of scales. This is what gives wool it's itchy feel and it's remarkable ability to shed water, body oils, etc. Yet too much water and drying with normal wool can cause scales to bind leading to shrinkage, pilling and felting. Superwash wools are given an slightly acidic bath in pre-production that trims the scales.
This makes for a softer feeling wool that you can put in the washing machine and the dryer. For lighter Superwash Merino wool (less than @230gm/m) there is minimal shrinkage depending on the quality of the fabric. Our 200/210 gm/m Merino wool has a maximum of 2% shrinkage which is about as good as it gets.
You can put Superwash Merino wool in the washing machine, but it's wool and a gentle cycle is all it needs to get clean as wool sheds dirt better than any other fabric because of its scales. Superwash Merino can also go in the dryer but it releases a lot of its water during the spin cycle so it will come out of the washing machine almost already dry. Don't overdo the dryer time or heat setting as, again, Merino wool "releases" water better than any other fabric so it doesn't need much drying time. Plus "cooking" your wool will weaken it over time.
Another benefit of Superwash Merino wool, especially when its also mercerized like ours, is that it reduces the pilling caused by the binding of the wool's scales. You can also tell the quality of Superwash wool by how much it pills over time. Our Superwash merino is as good as the best merino wool on the market and better than most.