All About Wool
What is Wool?
Wool is the “hair” from a sheep. It is a renewable resource and is shorn from the sheep without injuring the animal. One reason wool is so popular is that the best wool is grown without any harm to the animals. Wool is biodegradable, so after your wool product has outlived its usefulness, it will break down into the soil - unlike plastic or polyester. Wool is a complex protein that keeps warm blooded animals properly temperature controlled in many different climates and temperatures. Just like human hair, wool requires gentle washing and conditioning to keep it soft and healthy.
Isn’t Wool Hot?
No, in fact wool has the unique ability to act as a breathable insulator. It helps keep the body at an even temperature and does not conduct heat. This means that during hot or cold weather it will keep you at a constant temperature. This is due to the small pockets of air formed by the fibers of the fabric.
Why is wool used to make diaper covers?
Wool diaper covers (also called soakers) are breathable and environmentally friendly. Wool has been used as a water-resistant cover for diapers for generations. It was only with the advent of rubber pants that wool soakers fell out of favor. Clean, lanolized wool covers will absorb 30% of their weight in moisture before they feel wet.
Lanolin on wool interacts with the ammonia in urine to form a soap. This makes wool covers 'self-cleaning'. Just hang them to air dry and they will stay fresh smelling for several uses. About once every week or so they can be handwashed in a lanolin rich soap. Every 3-4 weeks they will need lanolized to restore their amazing ability to neutralize urine odors.
Because it is breathable, wool is a natural choice for babies with sensitive skin. Their skin stays dryer and they stay happier.
Hand knit or crocheted diaper covers and longies (long pants) are regaining popularity as more moms and dads discover the unique benefits of this natural fiber.
Cool Wool Facts:
*Wool is very resilient – it can be bent and stretched over 20,000 times and still not damage or break. Compare that to only 3,000 times for cotton and 2,000 times for silk. Properly cared for wool can last more than one generation.
* Wool is naturally flame-resistant and will resist burning.
*Wool has natural elasticity that allows it to be stretched as much as 1/3 of its length and still snap back into shape.
*The complex cellular structure of wool allows it to absorb moisture between the cells but still give the feeling of being dry. Wool naturally moves moisture from the wet side of the fabric to the dryer side. This helps it to evaporate extra moisture, making wool a great choice for a night time diaper cover.
For more information about wool see the American Sheep Industry Association site.