Wool is an extremely durable natural fiber. It comes from sheep and it is 100% renewable and eco-friendly. It is produced without the use of harmful chemicals and processing wool causes very little environmental impact in comparison to other natural and man made fibers. And beyond it's benefits to the earth, wool is known to have the following advantages:
The outer layers of wool are hydrophobic and repel water. However, inner layers actually attract and absorb water. Inner layers can absorb up to 40% of it's own weight before feeling wet. Wool does not feel wet to touch until it has absorbed 60% of its weight. This unique natural combination of repellency and absorbency makes wool the ideal garment to wear over cloth diapers because wool inhibits wicking, leaving outer garments dry.
Studies have shown that the use of wool fabrics in the home reduces upper respiratory tract infections, asthma, allergies, and skin diseases. Dust mites are the major contributors to these conditions and mites do not like wool fabrics.
Wool has natural thermoregulatory properties. In warm or cool temperatures, it maintains a comfortable temperature. With little weight and bulk, wool keeps you warm, even when wet. Wool is breathable, allowing for air exchange (unlike PUL fabrics.) Wool is a great insulator and has one of the greatest insulation to weight ratios of any other fiber.
Wool contains lanolin- a biologically water resistant and antibacterial substance. As it absorbs moisture, lanolin in wool is converted to lanolin soap which removes dirt. Natural cleansing properties mean wool only needs to be washed when the lanolin needs replenishing (apx every 3-4 wks.) Unlike synthetic fibers, wool does not retain odors. Instead, wool quickly absorbs the moisture causing odors and they quickly begin evaporating into the air due to the nature of the fabric.
Wool is naturally flame resistant without the use of added chemicals (such as those in children's sleepwear.) It is naturally dirt and wrinkle resistant. The fibers of wool are very durable and outlast it's cotton counterpart in testing. Wool fibers break after an average of 20,000 bends and cotton breaks after an average of 3,000 bends. Wool holds dye better than any other fabric and is naturally available in a variety of earth tones (without dyes.) Lastly, the hydrophobic qualities of wool also make it mildew resistant.
As you can see, wool is a great option for all fabrics in the home as well as for diapering needs. Using wool will reduce the amount of laundry that needs to be done and will keep you and your family warm, dry, and comfy throughout the year.