We all know how wonderful wool is to work with and to wear, but did you know that wool also has natural UV protection or that it has anti-bacterial properties? This week we'll be looking at seven wondrous properties of wool, which I'm sure will make you love it even more.
Sheep wool has a natural UV protection factor of up to 30+! Wool naturally absorbs the suns UV rays before it can make contact with your skin; by wearing wool you will be protected against the sun harmful rays.
The thin waxy coating of wool fibre contains fatty acids that inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. The same coating repels water that can cause mildew and mold to grow. This means that woolen items do not need regular washing and will smell fresh after repeated use, unlike synthetic fibres.
The waxy outer coating of wool helps to repel liquids, meaning if you spill anything on your knitwear it is most likely to roll off, and what is left is easily wiped off.
It's a well known fact that woolen items do not need regular washing. Bacteria causing odour is naturally inhibited by fatty acids that coat wool fibre. Static, which attracts lint, dirt and dust, is also inhibited by this waxy coating. The scaly surface area of fibre acts to block dirt and stains from being absorbed. Instead, particles sit on top which means they are much easier to remove.
Wool is renowned for its ability to regulate body temperature. In the winter, wool’s insulating qualities trap dry air and warmth near the skin. Wool's natural insulating quality and its ability to shed water results in a fabric that keeps the body warm, even when it's raining. In the summer, wool’s coil-like shape pulls excess heat and moisture from your skin, helping the wearer to stay cooler.
The inner core of wool fibers can absorb just under half of its own weight in moisture. Not until wool is saturated with 60% of its own weight will it feel wet to the touch. Since it retains 80% of its insulating value even when saturated, wool will keep you warm even when wet. This fact reminds me of the Gansey fisherman sweaters, which I'm sure have saved many lives.
Wool can withstand being bent 20,000 times without breaking. In comparison, cotton breaks after 3,000 bends, silk after 2,000, and rayon can only be bent 75 times without breaking. Its natural elasticity means that the fibres are less likely to break, and fabric made from wool less likely to tear. The ability of wool to "spring back" into shape, means that woolen garments tend to retain their shape better than garments made from other fibres.