Why buy wool instead of acrylic or polyester?

Why buy a wool blanket instead of an acrylic or polyester blanket? After all, 100% acrylic is nearly always a third of the price, looks similar and shares some of the key properties. Namely, it’ll help to keep you warm as it traps a layer of warm air close to the surface of your skin.

If you’re already a convert to wool, you’ve probably experienced first hand at least one of the ‘extra’ benefits that a wool product brings to the table.

There are even organisations like the Campaign For Wool that have been set up to extol the virtues of wool over other textiles.

Having recently taken up skiing again after a 20-year break, I was reminded of three of wool’s endearing properties.

Rather than buy some ‘extremely’ pricey Gortex gloves, I decided to put my trust in a pair of 20-year old Dachstein wool mittens...Bear in mind, that these had been heavily used for both skiing and mountaineering in my youth. Clint Eastwood actually wore them in the 1975 film 'The Eiger Sanction' (the clips worth a look:).

Wool Dachstein Mittens

First, observation: no moth nibbled holes or unpleasant odours:) In fact, they were just as thick and odour free as the day i bought them. In fact they were still moulded to the shape of my hands when i put them on. This is something that happens with wool mittens the more you wear them, especially if you have worn them wet and for long enough that they dried.

As I wore them through the week, my hands were kept comfortably warm and dry, despite the weather fluctuating between very warm, almost spring like, and bitterly cold and snowy with a biting wind.

Wool has this amazing ability to absorb water without feeling wet, as well as being thick enough to prevent the wind cutting through to your skin. Due to its composition, wool is able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet to the touch.

It also has a natural resistance to mould and bacteria, making it more resistant than many synthetic fibres like acrylic and polyester to bad smells.

The other significant advantage of wearing my wool Dachstein mittens over their Goretex counterparts, was that my hands didn't end up soaked in sweat when the sun came out. This is a well known property of wool and one of the reasons why it makes such a good material for blankets and clothing.

Having spent the evening snuggled under a wool blanket while watching the television, you are unlikely to feel slightly damp and cold as you leave it on the sofa to make your way to bed.

Snuggled up on the sofa in a wool blanket

Suffice to say, my Dachstein mittens were an extremely good investment, being cheaper and more durable than any other mitten I've used, and will be coming with me next time we go skiing.

If you want to read more about the qualities of wool, please read some of our other blogs on the subject. You may also be interested to find out how biodegradable it is and how using wool instead of synthetic fibres is an excellent way or reducing your contribution to the build up of microfibres in our natural environment and oceans in particular.