Sheep & CountrysideWoolWoolRoom bed

5 reasons why wool is wonderful

By Kate Watson-Smyth
madaboutthehouse.com

Wool is the perfect material for our times. As we progress through the 21st century at a dizzying technological pace, there has been a renewed interest in our heritage, in the craftsmanship of old and, of course, a very real awareness of climate change and the environment.

Wool is the answer to all of that.

I have a British wool carpet from Alternative Flooring on my stairs - the Spotty in Damson from the Quirky B range - it lifts my spirits every time I open the front door and see it. It has been there for nearly 10 years and it still looks as good as the day it was fitted.

Here are five reasons why wool is wonderful:

1. IT’S SUSTAINABLE

As long as there is grass in the fields for the sheep to eat, wool will continue to exist, in contrast to synthetic fibres, many of which require oil and refineries for their production. A sheep produces a new fleece every year making wool a completely renewable product.

2. IT’S ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AND BIODEGRADABLE

Should you tire of the pattern, or design, before it has worn out, wool can also be recycled as it’s a completely natural product so it won’t end up in landfill. It will gradually decompose over a period of years and release nutrients back into the earth.

3. IT’S A NATURAL PRODUCT

Wool is made from keratin – a protein found in all animal hair that is designed to maintain a stable body temperature.  The complex layers in wool fibre mean it’s a naturally clean product – dirt and dust is trapped in the outer layers, which also repel liquid spills which will bead up and stay on the surface.

The two outer layers also have tiny pores which allow moisture to pass through to the central layer which absorbs it. This means wool can naturally regulate temperature. It’s warm in winter because it traps air at the centre of the fibre and it’s cool in summer because it absorbs moisture making wool perfect for both carpets and bedding. 

4. IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

A really key point, which many people get wrong, is that carpet is actually  better than bare floorboards for those suffering from asthma and allergies. This is because dust will float about on top of the boards and even continue to emerge from between them, whereas wool will trap the dust particles and hold onto them.

Wool’s capacity to absorb moisture also means that dust mites, which need moisture to survive, don’t like wool and they are one of the key triggers for asthma. As long as you vacuum regularly, a carpet is the best solution for allergy sufferers. It is also resistant to mould and mildew. It also absorbs pollutants and traps them in its fibres helping to purify the air.

5. IT’S FIRE RESISTANT

Wool is harder to set fire to than most other synthetic fibres and if there is a fire the flames spread more slowly. Not only that but it’s a great noise absorber, as well so it’s perfect for staircases and upstairs rooms. And it’s also naturally resistant to stains so you should be able to dab it with water rather than having to resort to chemicals to clean it.

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5 reasons why wool is wonderful Kate Watson-Smyth, madaboutthehouse.com
Kate's hallway, featuring Alternative Flooring's Spotty in Damson (Quirky B range)