In this article, I am sharing with you why I love wool, the many benefits of wool clothing, and how to take care of it so that you can enjoy it longer!
If you like wool but think it’s complicated to take care of it, keep reading!
In our natural home, we have two favorite fabrics: wool and flax linen. With its many benefits, wool has also been called the ‘original performance fabric’.
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Wool clothing in times past
For thousands of years, people have been using sheep wool to keep warm. More recently, especially European mountain climbers and skiers have used wool clothing for its many benefits. But what are they?
Benefits of Wool
Wool helps to regulate body temperature. That means it keeps you warm but also cool in the summer.
It wicks sweat away from the body as it can absorb 30% of its weight before it feels wet. Therefore it insulates even when it is wet.
Wool doesn’t absorb odors and thus you don’t have to wash so often. And because of its natural lanolin (wool fat) content, it is also naturally stain-resistant. Another reason you don’t have to wash it as often.
Since wool comes from sheep and if it’s called merino wool it comes from sheep in the southern hemisphere, it is a completely sustainable fiber.
Once you’ve worn a piece of wool clothing out, it is completely biodegradable.
And lastly, wool doesn’t shed fibers like polyester fleece. With as many polyester fleece clothes, every time we wash them, these tiny fibers get into the water, rivers, and ocean. Unfortunately, we don’t know quite yet what effect that has on all beings and the environment.
Therefore, I love that wool clothing is experiencing a comeback that I happily support!
My favorite pieces of wool clothing
Literally from head to toe, you can clothe yourself in wool. And why not? Here are some of my favorite pieces:
Wool hat and scarf
For many years now, I have been loving my wool scarf. While it was store-bought, it is very simple to knit one yourself (stay tuned for another post soon ….).
I did, however, knit this wool beanie. Those are also not complicated to make. Since we lose about 25% of our body heat through our heads, wearing a wool hat definitely keeps you warmer.
Growing up in Europe with its cold winters, we always wore undershirts. I have a few different colors but even here in Northern California (or when we visit Germany in the winter), I love wearing these wool undershirts. Wool clothing is particularly warming when you layer it. Mine is from a German manufacturer with feminine lacy details. You can find a similar one here online.
Merino Wool T-Shirts
Even and especially in the summer, I really like wearing wool t-shirts. Merino wool is a bit finer and thinner than shetland wool. With its sweat-wicking and body temperature regulating properties, wool shirts are perfect in the summer. I can wear them day after day – amazingly they don’t get stinky at all.
Most of us have a favorite wool sweater and I am no exception. Again, layering is the trick to make the most out of wool’s warming properties. I love my older Icebreaker turtle neck (here’s a similar one) but there are many other good companies that make nice wool sweaters for the whole family.
In our 1910 home, my feet always get cold. For that reason, I own a few pairs of nice thick wool socks. I love them so much that I wear them all the time in the winter season and I do wear them out. With pieces of clothing this nice, I actually do enjoy extending their lifespan by mending them. You can check out my blog post about how to darn socks.
Since we don’t wear shoes in our home, we use slippers instead. Layering wool felt slippers over wool socks keeps my feet all toasty. But even in the summer, I wear them all the time and with wool’s body temperature regulating properties, my feet never get too hot. It doesn’t get better than that in my book …
Sneakers made out of Wool
Can you imagine my delight in finding out that there are now wool sneakers? While I love leather shoes, often I like to wear them without socks. Unfortunately, that is not always the most comfortable way to wear them. Wool sneakers are lightweight, breathable, moisture-resistant, and washable. Since I love anything wool, this wasn’t a hard sale.
Technically not clothing but definitely worth a mention since we use them so much: wool blankets. We have a few of them on our couches. My husband and I like to snuggle up under them when watching a movie. They’re also perfect for those quick afternoon naps. Or anytime you need a wool blanket – without the static that you can sometimes get from their polyester or acrylic counterparts.
Wool care: how to wash it
Again, you will find that you don’t have to wash wool quite as often as other clothes. In between washings, I like to simply put my shirts on a hanger and leave them outside to let them air. I often find that that does the trick.
If you have merino wool clothes, you can put them in the washer with your other clothes (be sure to check the washing instructions, though!!). All other heavy wool clothes, I either wash by hand in the sink or in the delicate/wool cycle in our washer.
Woolite is a popular wool detergent but I don’t care for its strong scent. I actually prefer Dr. Bronner’s Babymild Unscented Castile Soap. You’ll only need a squirt. I then massage the wool item with my hands until the washwater looks like weak coffee (don’t you like that description?). Gently squeeze the water out and lay the item flat to dry.
If you do put your wool clothes in the washer, avoid the spin cycle. You may get the clothes out dripping wet and that’s okay. You can squeeze out the water with your hands and again, let the clothes dry laying flat.