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Treating merino clothing & bed bugs

Jenyat53

Active Member
After the luxury of three bed bug free caminos I am still keen to know how to deal with ‘laundering all clothing at a high temperature ‘ when my sense is that merino clothing shrinks readily at high temps. and some technical gear doesn’t fare well either.
Is the secret that such items can be treated in a dryer at high temperature if they are dry rather than wet? Or is there something else that i am missing ? Many thanks in anticipation of shared wisdom born of experience. (Btw: Am hoping I never need it but seems a useful thing to know).
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
In my readings I've found out that the shinking of wool garments is not really so much shrinking as felting. The garment gets beaten in the machine and scales along the wool fibers interlock. The fibers of merino wool are different from the other types of wool though and this doesn't (or at least shouldn't) happen. At any rate, heat by itself should not cause merino to shrink. To be on the safe side if you really want to heat the merino to kill any bed bug eggs you could put the garment in the drier by itself or with only a few other light items so they aren't beaten when tumbling or put the garment in a black plastic bag and then out in the sun to get them to a high heat.

At home I wash merino socks in hot water along with white cottons (cooler water would be better but that's what I do.) I air dry them or hang them over a forced hot air register to dry but on occasion some slip through to get into the dryer at a very high setting. I haven't lost a sock to shrinkage yet.
 
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Jenyat53

Active Member
Thank you everyone. Your replies are much appreciated. Four days in the freezer sounds effective but would be quite the delay on one’s camino I imagine.
It sounds like dry clothes in a hot drier would be the best option. Has anyone else had Icebreaker/ technical clothing that has survived that experience without any illl effects?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
After the luxury of three bed bug free caminos I am still keen to know how to deal with ‘laundering all clothing at a high temperature ‘ when my sense is that merino clothing shrinks readily at high temps. and some technical gear doesn’t fare well either.
Is the secret that such items can be treated in a dryer at high temperature if they are dry rather than wet? Or is there something else that i am missing ? Many thanks in anticipation of shared wisdom born of experience. (Btw: Am hoping I never need it but seems a useful thing to know).
G'day Jenny, have you considered treating the clothing before leaving Oz? I did not walk in winter this year (walked in May/June) so the lightweight gear that can take hot water & driers if necessary. But I did give the sleeping bag and liner a very thorough treatment with stuff brought from Trek & Travel in Sydney. I see your in Canberra so maybe investigate the trekking shops in Lonsdale Street!! Cheers
 

NolaVulling

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances-2011&2012, Portuguese- 2013,from the Netherlands -2014, Del Norte-2017
I treat my bedding and back pack before I go with Equip Debugger which is currently on sale at Mountain Designs. I then make sure everything is packed in my pack at night with nothing left hanging on the bed providing a place for bedbugs to visit/hide/lay eggs. I have been bitten every one of my Caminos in both private and municipal albergues, but never carried them with me as it was only ever the one place each time. Personally I would not heat dry my merino t-shirts or wash them in extremely hot water. Buen Camino
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
It sounds like dry clothes in a hot drier would be the best option. Has anyone else had Icebreaker/ technical clothing that has survived that experience without any ill effects?
I machine wash and dry my merino and down clothing with no problem. I figure that if they can't survive that treatment, then they are not suitable to take on a Camino.

Certainly if you are concerned, and want to extend the life of the garment as long as possible, using dry heat and no agitation of wet fibres would be better.
 
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Trude

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
After the luxury of three bed bug free caminos I am still keen to know how to deal with ‘laundering all clothing at a high temperature ‘ when my sense is that merino clothing shrinks readily at high temps. and some technical gear doesn’t fare well either.
Is the secret that such items can be treated in a dryer at high temperature if they are dry rather than wet? Or is there something else that i am missing ? Many thanks in anticipation of shared wisdom born of experience. (Btw: Am hoping I never need it but seems a useful thing to know).
 

Trude

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
Six Caminos no bed bugs. I pack my clothes in ziplock bags, never lean my back pack on a wall. Check my bed well and move the bed so that it does not come in contact with a wall. I have been in Albergues where I have seen them crawling up the walls. This year I am walking the Portuguese think I will place my backpack in a garbage bag each night. That should keep them out.
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Thank you everyone. Your replies are much appreciated. Four days in the freezer sounds effective but would be quite the delay on one’s camino I imagine.
It sounds like dry clothes in a hot drier would be the best option. Has anyone else had Icebreaker/ technical clothing that has survived that experience without any illl effects?

OMG bedbugs! We had a lot of experience with this! (Another story on another thread.)

My sister and I washed and dried all of our gear in high heat including all of our technical, lightweight hiking pants etc.

The technical stuff shrank but that was cool - it was pretty stretchy anyway and we'd both lost weight.

The icebreaker shirts faired well although they looked a little battered after we did this several times (for peace of mind). My sister's Macpac long sleeve became prickly and our merino socks did too - mine gave my ankles a rash! I was much happier in synthetic socks after this.

My first clothing rule now is that if you can't put it in a hot dryer, don't bring it. My second rule is don't bring anything you aren't prepared to trash in one way or another :)
 

backpack45

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
Fifteen Camino trips and only ONE bedbug. I'm not overcautious, but I do tend to look at the mattress, keep pack off the floor, spray backpack with permethrin and hiking clothes before leaving home, keep most items in trash bag (lining inside my pack) and turkey baster bags (for compartmentalizing). I sometimes just think a lot of the bedbug thing is just good or bad luck--and I sympathize with those who have gone through it.
Incidentally, I've definitely had wool items shrink (not just felt up). I never wash or dry my Smartwool with heat (sounds like I could have :)) Good luck to you avoiding the nasty bedbugs!
 
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Momonne

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
My light Ice Breaker Merino wool items find their way in my washer and dryer regularly: tshirt, undies, leggings. And also my Merino buff. I don’t inow if I would want to chance it with the heavier zippered sweaters.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
;) I have washed and dried my medium weight zippered Icebreaker sweater, with no problem. However I take care not to wash it as frequently as the lighter weight items.
 

Dee-El

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning on going in the next few years.2020-ish
After the luxury of three bed bug free caminos I am still keen to know how to deal with ‘laundering all clothing at a high temperature ‘ when my sense is that merino clothing shrinks readily at high temps. and some technical gear doesn’t fare well either.
Is the secret that such items can be treated in a dryer at high temperature if they are dry rather than wet? Or is there something else that i am missing ? Many thanks in anticipation of shared wisdom born of experience. (Btw: Am hoping I never need it but seems a useful thing to know).
My Merino wool top didn't shrink. I treat it like a normal piece of clothing, meaning, no SPECIAL treatment.
 

Pilgrim9

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
After the luxury of three bed bug free caminos I am still keen to know how to deal with ‘laundering all clothing at a high temperature ‘ when my sense is that merino clothing shrinks readily at high temps. and some technical gear doesn’t fare well either.
Is the secret that such items can be treated in a dryer at high temperature if they are dry rather than wet? Or is there something else that i am missing ? Many thanks in anticipation of shared wisdom born of experience. (Btw: Am hoping I never need it but seems a useful thing to know).

Wool is a wonderful fibre, especially for outdoors wear because when it becomes wet it retains much of its insulating value. However, I never process any of my garments that are made of wool, in a tumble dryer, due to the risk of felting and/or fibre attrition (wear and tear) due to abrasion whilst tumbling.

If in doubt about the advisability of tumble-heat-processing either wet or dry, check the care label that many jurisdictions require to be sewn into new garments. This applies to garments made of any fibre.
 

Deputy Dan

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Logrono to Burgos in week of October (2017); SJPP - ?, three weeks in 2020!
I usually wash my wool stuff in a washer on a gentle cycle and line dry. My wife, on the other hand, washed (regular cycle) and tumble-dried two of my Merino sweaters -- I'll likely give them to my 5 and 3 year old granddaughters as they are now just the right size for them! So - your mileage may vary.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I usually wash my wool stuff in a washer on a gentle cycle and line dry. My wife, on the other hand, washed (regular cycle) and tumble-dried two of my Merino sweaters -- I'll likely give them to my 5 and 3 year old granddaughters as they are now just the right size for them! So - your mileage may vary.
It's possible that you can stretch and reshape the sweaters by hand washing them and hanging them to dry.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
If in doubt about the advisability of tumble-heat-processing either wet or dry, check the care label that many jurisdictions require to be sewn into new garments. This applies to garments made of any fibre.
That is true, if you are not willing to take any risk. However, the guidance tends to be very general and rather cautious. No label in the world will explain that you can tumble a dry item in the dryer to kill bedbugs, without damaging it in the same way as wet fibres would be damaged!

It's possible that you can stretch and reshape the sweaters by hand washing them and hanging them to dry.
It is very unlikely to restore them to anything close to the original condition, if the wool fibres have been felted. Fortunately you can turn your attention to creating something new with the felt during your off-camino months - google "felt art" for some ideas.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I treat my bedding and back pack before I go with Equip Debugger which is currently on sale at Mountain Designs. I then make sure everything is packed in my pack at night with nothing left hanging on the bed providing a place for bedbugs to visit/hide/lay eggs. I have been bitten every one of my Caminos in both private and municipal albergues, but never carried them with me as it was only ever the one place each time. Personally I would not heat dry my merino t-shirts or wash them in extremely hot water. Buen Camino

Ummm. Do you think your regime is working ? :oops::oops:

Sorry, couldn’t resist ;)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Merino is safe if put into the dryer dry. The treatment for bedbugs is heat, not water. So don't worry about the washing (you can do that later, as you would normally) - just take all your gear, including merino and down, and put it in a commercial dryer in an autoservicio on a hot cycle. It only needs a short cycle. The only thing you have to watch for is fabrics that can't take heat - I've had no problems with merino, down, silk (ie all the natural fibres) and most of the man made ones - but I did manage to turn one pair of leggings into a plastic ball.
 

Jenyat53

Active Member
Merino is safe if put into the dryer dry. The treatment for bedbugs is heat, not water. So don't worry about the washing (you can do that later, as you would normally) - just take all your gear, including merino and down, and put it in a commercial dryer in an autoservicio on a hot cycle. It only needs a short cycle. The only thing you have to watch for is fabrics that can't take heat - I've had no problems with merino, down, silk (ie all the natural fibres) and most of the man made ones - but I did manage to turn one pair of leggings into a plastic ball.
Thanks Kanga, that is the key part of the issue I was questioning. I intuited merino could take some heat if it wasn’t wet but didn’t realise it could take a hot cycle. Many thanks for your shared wisdom.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Thanks Kanga, that is the key part of the issue I was questioning. I intuited merino could take some heat if it wasn’t wet but didn’t realise it could take a hot cycle. Many thanks for your shared wisdom.
I put all my merino clothing in a hot dryer for half and hour when I had a bed bug scare. Everything came out fine.
 

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