Sustainable Living

Living naturally in a synthetic world Part 1 – Wool

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Wool is a natural, sustainable fiber obtained by shearing sheep. 

It’s durable, warm, naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial.

One thing that turns people away from wool is that it’s itchy. The reason for this is because of how it’s processed. 

Large manufactures use formaldehyde to strip the wool of impurities. 

This leaves the wool dry because the natural oils have been stripped away, which in return causes you to itch. 

This can be easily fixed by adding lanolin back into the wool.

Lanolin is a natural oil produced by wool bearing animals. It’s naturally waterproof and provides protection for the wool and the animal’s skin against harsh climates. 

Lanolin and wool soaps can be purchased here.  

Using lanolin on your wool clothing will re-hydrate it making it softer and will keep it looking new longer.

Always hand wash your wool with a specialized wool soap and air dry it as it will shrink in conventional dryers and washers are hard on clothing. Hand washing also applies to Cashmere, Angora and Alpaca.

Use wool dryer balls instead of conventional dryer sheets which are full of toxic chemicals. They are reusable and better for the environment which is a win, win for me.

We are always on the lookout for wool, but what we like in particular is Merino.

Merino is the finest and softest wool. It’s commonly used for base layers and sweaters for the winter months and tee shirts for summer months.

The Merino base layers cost more than the traditional synthetic ones, but they are so much more comfortable and will keep you warm without causing you to overheat. 

For the summer months Merino tee shirts are great because they are lightweight and they allow air flow which keeps you cool.

Because of it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties wool is popular with travelers as you can wear the garments for a few weeks without washing them

Something to keep in mind about wool is that it breathes and it will keep you warm even if it gets wet. 

This is something I love about wool. 

My husband and I hunt with our dogs in the winter months and we used to wear synthetic base layers, but synthetics don’t breathe, so we would become overheated and oddly enough there were times we couldn’t get warm. This is not ideal when you’re walking several miles in the dead of winter. 

A few years ago we switched to wool base layers and what a difference that made! We stay comfortable and warm without overheating. 

Wearing wool has changed our view of the cold winter months. They are no longer unbearable, but enjoyable.  It has also changed our view of synthetic materials and has made us more aware of the materials we buy. 

What natural fibers do you wear? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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2 Comment

  1. I would say the same. It has changed my way of life coming from forever tropical Philippines. I wish I am not allergic to it though.

  2. I’m glad I found this article as my husband and I recently discovered how wonderful wool is. He recently received a pullover jacket that is made mostly of wool and he says it’s the only pullover that really keeps him warm. For Christmas last year he got me a sweater without realizing it had wool in it and I commented on how warm it is. This winter I crocheted a throw for our living room using wool yarn and we both love it. It is so soft and warm that it allows us to keep our thermostat set at 65 because now we can just put on our wool and use our wool blankets and we’re fine.

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