Wool regulates body temperature, because its naturally crinkled fibres hold in a lot of air. It balances temperature, not only does it provide extra body heat in cooler surroundings, but also wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping the wearer dryer when sweating and cooler when hot.
Pure new wool (hair shorn from an animal and worked for the first time) can absorb up to a third of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp. Thanks to its lanolin content, the fibre also offers protection from external wetness, with pearls of water forming on its surface.
Wool is not electrostatically charged, and its attraction therefore, to dirt or odour, is minimal. One of the main advantages of wool is its highly flexible texture which makes it virtually crease resistant.
Wool is similar in its consistency to human hair. Therefore, as with hairwashing, only the mildest detergent should be used. Wool absorbs little dirt. The scales on the surface of the fibres effectively repel dirt.
Woolen clothing therefore seldom needs to be washed and usually a thorough airing will suffice. When washing is necessary, natural wool should be handwashed at a maximum temperature of 30°C. Wool is extremely sensitive to soap and soap suds. In washing wool therefore, always use a special wool detergent e.g. our Disana wool shampoo.
To avoid felting, wool should never be soaked, rubbed, wrung out or brushed. Simply squeeze gently by hand and hang to dry. Wool should never be dried on a heater or tumble dried.
Composition and Production
Wool fibre consists of chains of protein molecules (Keratin) and is similar in consistency to human hair. Surrounded by scales, groups of these protein molecule chains spiral themselves around each other within the fibres and result in a change in form.
Pure new wool is produced first by the shearing of the wool coat of the sheep (the fleece) as a whole single piece. After washing, the wool fibres are spun into yarn. The wool is separated according to quality. For the production of clothing textiles, the so-called fine wools are important, mainly those from Merino sheep, as these wools are used for outerwear, scarves and socks. The number one country for pure new wool is Australia. New Zealand and Argentina are also important wool exporters.
Pure new wool is the oldest fibre used by mankind. Thousands of years before Christ, the Egyptians and Chinese were already raising sheep for wool. In the iron age, before the invention of shears, the wool was plucked - shearing came only later.