This week is Wool Week, raising the awareness of the unique, natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits offered by the fibre. We look at why this incredibly versatile product plays such an important part in our lives.
Wool is everywhere, from the insulation in our homes to many of the clothes we wear, sometimes surprisingly - even some thermal sportswear contains wool. Historically wool was an essential fibre for clothing, particularly in the winter. Not only can it be knitted into a cosy jumper, but it can also be be tightly woven into fabric to make coats and jackets that are waterproof as well as warm. Wool has always been particularly popular in the UK because of our climate, and the British countryside today still plays host to thousands of our woolly friends.
During the noughties the use of wool steadily declined with the increase in popularity of cheap manmade fabrics like polyester. Many farmers ended up using unwanted wool to insulate homes and for putting on their land to release nitrates to help crops grow. But wool is the perfect sustainable fabric, and here are seven reasons why:
1. Less washing, less ironing and more time to do fun stuff
Wool is such an easy material for your staple winter wardrobe, and with love, care and good storage your favourite wool garments can last for years. Wool’s biggest nemesis is moths, but they can be easily prevented with lavender or cedar balls stored in your wardrobe. If moths do strike, the holes they create can be easily mended. Pop your moth-eaten garments in the freezer for a week to destroy any eggs, then wash the area with the holes with hot soapy water to destroy any larvae.
When it reaches the end of its life your woollen garment can simply be composted - either on your own compost heap or at an industrial composting plant. Wool can also be chopped up and mixed into mulch to provide an excellent source of nitrogen for your garden. Before you compost your wool, make sure to check it's 100% wool and doesn't contain any artificial materials that won’t rot down in compost and will produce microplastics. If your woollen garment is a blend, then it can be sent to a number of textile recycling plants including Rev.erso.
3. Odour resistant
Not only is wool easy to wear and able to break down, but the enzymes it contains means it is resistant to any odours, including sweat. This means woollen garments don't need to be washed as much as other clothing including cotton, polyester and linen, which all absorb sweat.
4. Wrinkle resistant
You will have noticed as soon as you put your wool garments on that they are almost immediately ready to be worn. The make-up of wool means that it rarely needs ironing, making perfect for wearing when you are traveling.
Looked after well, wool can last for years, with many coats and fashion items being handed down from generation to generation. Wool is six times stronger than cotton and, even if the worst happens, knitted wool is also very easy to repair yourself making it the perfect item to splash out on.
6. UV resistant
UV resistance is not usually at the top of our list when searching for winter staples, but wool’s ability to resist UV rays mean that you are protected from the sun at any time of year, in contrast to cotton and synthetics which are not as protective.
7. Temperature regulation
Not only is wool a great fabric to take anywhere, it's also great for those winter days when you start off cold and then find yourself too hot. Wool works by condensing the moisture vapours from your body that are trapped inside the fibre, giving off heat and keeping you nice and warm. When you're too hot, wool absorbs the moisture you give off and evaporates it outside the fabric.
British Wool Week
British Wool Week By Campaign For Wool runs from the 4th-10th October to highlight the benefits of British traceable wool. To find out more about events happening near you visit the Campaign for wool website.