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How we use wool?

The British wool industry has a remarkably rich heritage with sheep being one of the first domesticated animals. With Stone Age man first utilising wool. And with science and technology yet to create and replicate the unique properties of this 100% natural fibre.

Did you know?
  • Britain’s 32.7 million sheep (AHDB – Jan 2021) produce around 30 million kilos of fleece wool each year.
  • It’s durable, versatile, flame and water resistance.
  • It’s sustainable, renewable, biodegradable.
  • Varying grades of wool, from different breeds of sheep, ranging from soft wool which are perfect for clothing. To the coarser grades, that are more suited in insulation and carpets.

Here are some of the traditional everyday uses of wool.

Carpets

British wool is ideal in making strong, durable carpets. Many believe British manufactured carpets are the best in the world. Hard-wearing wool carpets can withstand high volume of active and traffic and are easy to care for and resist the indentations left by furniture. Which occurs due to the crimped structure of wool. Which gives it flexibility and the waxy coating which contributes to its resilience against stains.

Naturally flame retardant, due to high water and nitrogen content, wool is a safe solution. Wool carpets are also fairly resistant against almost anything daily life can throw at them!

Beds & bedding

Wool bedding is a great way to help your naturally regulate your body temperature at night, helping you sleep better and longer. This is a result of wool having the ability to breathe naturally. Absorbing moisture when the atmosphere is damp but releasing it when the atmosphere is dry. It’s a natural fibre that helps to keep you cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s not!

Fashion

One of the most recognisable uses for wool is clothing. Wool has historically used to protect and keep us warm but has many additional benefits.

Wool’s unique structure makes it robust and resilient to damage. Natural elasticity allows woollen fabric to stretch comfortably around the body yet return to its original shape without sagging.

In the same way that it works for sheep – wool regulates the temperature of the wearer by reacting to how hot or cold the wearers body is.

Wool is also comfortable, breathable, hypoallergenic and has a high level of UV protection, which is much higher than many synthetic alternative fibres. From London’s Savile Row to school uniforms, wool fabrics take fashion from sheep to chic!

Insulation

Insulation is a familiar way of keeping buildings warm. Creating a barrier from the outdoors, insulators such as foam, fibreglass and wool help to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.

Sheep live in harsh conditions, relying on their coats to protect them from the elements. Wool allows millions of tiny air pockets to form which creates a thermal barrier, regulates humidity and keeps the sheep warm.

It works in precisely the same way when used for insulation. Wool provides sound insulation too and is becoming increasingly popular for use in offices and schools, helping to aid concentration.

Interiors

Wool soft furnishing create the perfect blend of strength and comfort required by interior designers. Including products from upholstery to soft furnishings in homes, offices, hotels and public spaces.

Versatile to work with, easy to handle and practical. Wool fibres readily absorb dyes in a wide range of colours making them a natural and creative choice.

As wool recovers its shape, fabrics resist wrinkling and drooping and also repel grime. Due to wool’s natural durability and resilience. It offers a lifetime of quality even with heavy use, enabling stylish interior products to look newer for longer.

As wool is naturally flame resistance it means it is a safer alternative to man-made fibres and can be heated to around 560°C before it burns.

Craft

Wool is a firm favourite with craft enthusiasts. Felting, knitting and crochet are just a few of the ways British wool is creatively used by crafters.

Art and craft projects are a useful way of introducing children to wool. They can begin to play with, experience and understand its properties, uses and origins with hands-on activities. For wool craft activities and other ideas involving wool check out our British Wool Pinterest profile.

Product Research

At British Wool, we also support companies, universities and community projects on researching new ways to use British wool in our everyday lives.