Caring for Pendleton Wool – washing, dry cleaning and more


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Here are some strategies to prolong the life of your Pendleton wool garments and blankets.

CLEAN BEFORE STORAGE – Safely clean all spills and residues from wool blankets and wool garments before putting them away for the summer.

SUMMER OUTINGS – Taking stored garments or blankets outside every few months for shaking, brushing, and exposure to sunlight will prevent damage!

COLLECTOR STRATEGIES – Store blankets in plastic airtight boxes and bags that seal completely. Air out, shake and refold your treasures every few months.

REPEL – Cedar heartwood and chemical products repel moths, but don’t fully protect against damage. Follow the above steps  to keep woolen goods clean, safe, and lasting for generations.


No. Washing will shrink the blanket and ruin it. Pendleton’s traditional wool blankets should only be dry-cleaned.

The exception is the washable Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® bedding line. These blankets and throws have been woven and treated to be washable: refer to the care instructions on the blanket.


First, refer to the care instructions! if a garment is dry-clean only, then follow that direction and have it dry cleaned. Dry cleaning once a season will keep wool garments fresh.

To freshen a wrinkled wool garment, hang it in a steamy bathroom. Wool is naturally odor-releasing and anti-microbial.

If the garment is labeled as washable, we recommend hand-washing with these steps:

  • Treat small stains by rinsing with cold water or seltzer and blotting dry with a clean cloth.
  • If the garment is labeled “hand wash,” use specially formulated mild soap and wash by hand.
  • Keep agitation to a minimum, as it can cause the scales of wool fibers to knit together in a process called “felting.” This cannot be undone!
  • After hand washing, gently roll the garment in a towel. You might want to do this several times, with a fresh towel for each turn.
  • For a knitted garment (sweater or scarf or shawl), lay the knitted garment out in the shape you want it to have after it dries. This is called “blocking.” A drying screen is a nice option for allowing both sides of a sweater to dry.
  • For a woven garment, lay it on a flat surface to dry.
  • Always avoid direct sunlight on a damp wool item, and always avoid direct heat.


No, they are not! Many Umatilla Wool shirts are, indeed, washable, but Sir Pendleton shirts are dry clean only. Refer to the care tags for any Pendleton wool shirt to determine the best way to clean it.

Pendleton’s washable wool shirts are made with a fabric that has been treated with a special process to seal the scales of wool fiber. These fabrics are clearly labeled as washable, and once washed, should not be dry cleaned.

If you would rather dry clean a washable wool shirt, it should not be washed after. Dry cleaning removes the washable finish. Always choose one method and stick with it.


Bleach and Detergent – A little bleach causes wool fiber to stiffen and discolor permanently. A lot of bleach will dissolve wool fiber. The alkalis in soaps and detergents remove wool’s luster, strength and softness.

Moths – The best prevention against moth damage is regular use. When not in use, periodically shake or brush items, and re-fold or hang. Keep closets and storage areas swept, making sure to inspect for dead moths and larva casings. Sunlight is another helpful tool against moths—sun blankets now and then to kill any missed eggs.

High Heat and Shrinkage – Exposure to high, direct heat will damage wool fabric.


Caring for wool correctly can give you generations of use and wear. And speaking of generations, Please note: If you have purchased a vintage Pendleton wool garment that does not have care tags, we recommend that you dry clean these items. And send us photos!

Made in USA label with eagle for Pendleton

34 thoughts on “Caring for Pendleton Wool – washing, dry cleaning and more

  1. Love my Pendleton blankets ! Had all dry cleaned this spring . I think I need a better dry cleaner , didn’t look or smell better. Can I put one blanket at a time in dryer on air , no heat for half an hour or so ? I don’t have a good outdoor place to air out or get some sun .

  2. Hi there! I just found my Pendleton vintage shirt that says 1960 on the label…
    It also has interesting washing instructions on the tag on the bottom right interior…how do i know how old it is?? Love to hear more…

  3. Hello! Any tips for how to get food/gastric juice stains out of a dry clean only blanket? We are not near a reputable dry cleaner…

    • If a sticky lint roller doesn’t do the trick–and depending on the pet, it might not–we suggest using heavier duty tape, like duct or packing, in 1-foot strips. Don’t rub it across the wool–press it on, then peel up. Sometimes it takes the entire roll, but it’s more adhesive than a sticky lint roller.

      • I use a lint brush I bought online on my blankets , it is the oval shaped brush with a red velvet looking material in center . The red fabric easily removes hair and lint off blankets and keeps them looking great . I have had my blankets for 26 years.

  4. I have a beautiful Pendleton Wool shopping bag that was stored in a closet during a recent house fire. No burns but smells like smoke.
    Any suggestions?

    • Have you tried hanging it in your bathroom during a couple of hot showers? Steam tends to open up the fibers, allowing them to release trapped odors. If this doesn’t work, a fire restoration service can put your bag in an ozone chamber. This must be done by a professional, who can let you know their success rates with smoke and wool. .

      • Thanks for your response, I’ll give it a try!

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  5. Hi, i been wearing Pendleton since1975when i was about 10-12 years old,im 59 and still wear them, 2023, couple of months ago i had to throw 3 away due to moth damage, which sadden me,these are not cheap, my question is,, I keep my Pendleton’s in the freezer to clean them and keep them from moths, it does help , can i keep the Pendleton in a clear plastic bags that the keep suits in,thanks

    • Freezing is an effective tool. We freeze garments before we put them in our archives. Are you shaking/brushing the shirts and giving them a good half hour in the sun before you put them away for the season?

      Storing wool in plastic is only effective if the garments are well-cleaned before they are put in the bag, and the bag is airtight.

  6. Hi. I received a 30 lb box of vintage wool fabric. I was told it was “pendleton.” It stinks. Bad. It would make a beautiful blanket, which I can do, but it stinks like it’s lived in a musty haunted house 50 years. How can I clean it?

    • Well, there are a few paths you can take. You might want to price dry cleaning the lot. You can also try the shake/sun/steam method, of shaking a piece well, putting it in the sun for half an hour, and then hanging it in a steamy room overnight. Sun and steam help expand wool fibers, helping them release dirt and odors. We do not recommend washing Pendleton wool unless it is specifically our Eco-Wise washable wool, or our washable Umatilla wool. nd please remember that washing/dry cleaning these two fabrics is an either/or proposition. Dry cleaning removes the washable finish.

  7. I purchased a vintage Pendleton shirt that is dry cleaning only. The shirt has a pretty foul smelling body odor in the armpits. Any suggestions? I am considering putting it in the wash machine since dry cleaning did not get rid of the smell.

    • We would suggest never washing a vintage wool Pendleton shirt as these older fabrics have no wash treatment. Have you talked to the dry cleaner? The other option is so hang it in a really steamy bathroom to see if that will open the woolen fibers and let the smell release.

  8. Hello~
    I have a wool button up the front sweater. I was wondering if I can wash it in woolite. It’s a bit scratchy.

  9. Hello,

    I’ve recently purchased a vintage Pendleton wool shirt that says dry clean only, though I failed to notice this until after I’d put it through the wash (having gotten it mixed up in sorting the laundry). While this was on cold with minimal detergent, I’m curious as to how much damage I may have done and if there’s remedying steps to be taken. I’d also noticed some advice on not alternating cleaning methods, and was wondering whether or not I should dry clean going forward.


    • The primary damage would be shrinkage. Does the shirt still fit true to size? If so, you’re okay. And we understand that this next advice will be confusing. You can dry clean after washing. You just cant wash after dry cleaning. This is because the fabric treatment that keeps the garment true-to-size is removed by dry cleaning, so if you dry clean a washable shirt, the washable treatment is gone, and it is no longer washable. BUT. If you wash a dry-clean only shirt, and it’s wearable/salvageable, you can dry clean it. Does this make sense?

  10. I have a wool blanket as our top blanket on our bed. After three years I finally decided to get it dry cleaned. It came back rough and pilling. What should I do?

  11. This article offers valuable tips on how to care for Pendleton wool garments and blankets to ensure their longevity and preservation. The clear distinction between washable and dry-clean-only items, along with specific care instructions, is helpful and informative. The advice on preventing moth damage and maintaining the natural properties of wool is essential for anyone owning woolen products. Overall, a comprehensive and practical guide for wool lovers to enjoy their Pendleton treasures for generations to come.

  12. This article provides valuable and practical strategies for maintaining Pendleton wool garments and blankets, emphasizing the importance of cleaning before storage, occasional outdoor exposure, and the use of cedar or moth-repelling products. It clarifies the care instructions for different types of Pendleton wool products, such as traditional blankets, washable bedding, and wool shirts, highlighting the significance of following care labels to ensure proper cleaning methods. The article concludes with a reminder of wool’s vulnerabilities to bleach, heat, and moths, offering comprehensive guidance to help readers enjoy their wool items for generations.

  13. I purchased a washable Pendelton wool blanket through Garnet Hill. I followed the washing instructions on the label, and it smells awful! I tried leaving it out in the sun to eliminate the odor and it still smells…like a cross between wet dog and rotten eggs.

  14. Hi! I have a king size wool blanket on my bed and have been sick with COVID. How would you recommend sanitizing it? I know I should not put it in the dryer. Could I lightly steam it? Would lysol harm the fabric?

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