Benefits of wool
Wool is a unique, complex fibre that has evolved over thousands of years with the sheep who produce it, to protect them over a wide range of climatic conditions. Consequently, wool offers many natural advantages when used in consumer products.
The key benefits include (but this is just the beginning):
- Natural soil resistance
- Flame resistance
- Unique moisture absorption and release properties
- Thermal comfort
- Improves indoor air quality
- Allergy free
- Environmentally friendly
Wool can release dirt up to 25% more readily than synthetic fibres. This is because the cuticle, or outer layer has a finely waxed surface with overlapping scale causing dirt to sit on the surface, making it easy to remove.
Wool is like a spring, with its natural crimp it can return to its natural shape even after being stretched (up to 30%). Its structure gives it great resilience against flattening and hardening, so you can rely on wool to keep its shape.
Due to its high keratin protein and moisture content wool is naturally resistant to fire. It is difficult to set alight under most conditions and there is less chance of ignition, low flame spread, and less smoke. Wool also does not melt and has superior self-extinguishing properties which makes it one of the safest fibres.
Wool is used in a multitude of products, including garment production where it can be woven, knitted, crocheted or felted. It can also be used in the home for blankets, drapes, upholstery, flooring and insulation. The options are endless and there are few products that can be applied in so many ways.
The protective membrane on the surface of the wool fibre is hydrophobic and thus resists the penetration of liquid water. This same waterproof membrane allows the fibre to absorb moisture in vapour form through microscopic pores in the surface. Consequently, wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water vapour without feeling wet or clammy.
Wool provides a high level of thermal comfort due to its outstanding insulating properties. Wool offers warmth under cool conditions because the natural crimp of the fibre traps air, which provides up to ten times greater thermal resistance than any other fibre. It will also keep you cool in summer and has a naturally high UV protection.
Wool absorbs and binds many pollutants in the air and does not re-emit them. By absorbing air pollutants, the wool fibre purifies the air, improving the health and wellbeing of building occupants. It has been estimated that wool products may continue purifying indoor air for up to 30 years.
Wool is a natural, non-allergenic fibre, which is resistant to the growth of bacteria and dust mites. In addition, the fibres are too long and too coarse to be inhaled and so wool will not irritate the respiratory system or cause sneezing and other unpleasant allergic reactions. Wool is ideal for those who suffer allergies to feather and down or other synthetic materials.
New Zealand wool is one of the purest, most ecological fibres in the world. To produce this biodegradable and renewable resource, environmentally responsible production methods are used. Wool is naturally 100% biodegradable
Designers and manufacturers across the globe are opting for wool fabrics in suits, coats, fashion, sport and leisure wear. Merino wool is used for its comfort, fine light weight properties and is machine washable making it a very popular choice.
Dust mites need moisture to survive. Wool has microscopic pores that respond effectively to changes in humidity making it unfavourable for the growth and breeding of the house dust mite. Dust mite allergens are one of the main triggers for asthma attacks.
Wool is perfect for recycling, with new technology developments the process is even more efficient. High quality woollens can be closed-loop recycled, meaning they are deconstructed and the fibre is reused as yarn in new items. Poor quality items are open-loop recycled, where they are taken apart and the wool is used in completely different products. When a wool fibre is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of years. Slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth.