We all know that wool keeps you warm, but what is it exactly about the properties of wool that differentiate it from cotton or any other common natural fiber?
To help explain what makes wool so different from almost every other material on the planet, we’ve assembled a list of seven interesting properties of wool that you may not know:
1. Fire Resistant
Most of us have never had much reason to throw wool into a fire, but if you did you’d notice that it doesn’t burn well. The reason for this is that each and every wool fiber retains a certain amount of air moisture, even wool that’s several years old.
2. Moisture Wicking
It isn’t so much that wool retains moisture as it is that wool retains an ideal balance of moisture (regardless of how much or little water is exposed). In fact, wool can soak up to as much as 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet. Scientifically, this can be explained as a result of the “‘crimp” design nature of wool that causes each fiber to butt up against the next, as opposed to simply laying flat in parallel with itself like other fibers. When each fiber of wool butts up against the next, air pockets form, creating a natural insulator.
3. Mildew & Mold Resistant
Another benefit of moisture wicking is that it creates a naturally anti-microbial environment. This prevents mold, mildew, and other undesirable “stinks” from ever infiltrating and destroying an otherwise luxurious fabric.
According to Woolrevolution.com, “Dust-mites don’t like wool. They prefer hot humid environments that are more common in synthetic or down products. Dust mites are [also] the major cause of allergy and asthma suffering.”
5. Extremely Flexible & Durable
One wool fiber can be bent back and forth up to 20,000 times before it will eventually snap. For context, the same cotton fiber can only be bent about 3,000 times before the same will happen. The balance of air moisture retained by wool keeps it from getting brittle over time like other fibers.
Since wool is essentially just the regrown hair of an animal, it is an entirely sustainable resource that requires no harm to animal or plant life. Unlike a lot of other man-made fibers, most wool is also produced organically without the use of any refinement or treatment chemicals along the way.
7. Wool Also Keeps You Cool
In the Sahara Desert, Bedouins wear thin wool clothing to help them keep cool in the scorching heat. The breathable “air pocket” characteristics of wool mean that sweat doesn’t weigh down your insulation layers, which causes you to feel consistently warmer the more you sweat.
While it may initially seem unorthodox to employ wool within the comfort layers of a mattress, the reality is that the same properties of wool that make it a highly versatile option for clothing designers are the exact reasons that make it such a great option for mattress building. Spink & Edgar have been using wool as comfort layer material for over 130 years. It’s ability to regulate body temperature, wick away moisture, and prevent microbes from growing inside your mattress are all ideal factors in continuing to choose wool over more common (and less expensive) materials.