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Superwash vs Untreated wool

Wool is a great material for clothing, especially for babies and children because of its insulating properties and soft texture. Wool has only one major drawback – it shrinks and felts when washed. But for that, there is superwash wool! Or not….

How does wool work?

A wool fiber is similar to a human hair; it is a hollow fiber with scales. The hollow fiber absorbs body heat and the scales regulate temperature by opening when warm and closing when cold. This makes wool provide warmth in winter and cooling in summer. The scales allow wool to breathe and wick away excess moisture (sweat). In addition, wool naturally has lanolin. This is a greasy coating that is water repellent, dirt repellent and antibacterial. Lanolin keeps the wool fiber supple and prevents dehydration. For sheep, lanolin protects against wind and weather and keeps their skin supple and healthy. Lanolin is also commonly used for skin ailments such as chaps and diaper rash. Superwash wool, what is it? Superwash wool is wool that has undergone a chemical process in which the wool is washed with Chlorine. This is done to break down the scales on the wool fibers. (Yep … the same scales we attributed such good qualities to above.) Superwash treatment makes wool less breathable and less insulating. Also, a layer of synthetic resin is placed around the wool fiber.

So why Superwash wool?

None of that sounds good you might say. However, Superwash wool also has advantages. The layer of synthetic resin keeps the wool from being greasy like untreated wool. And now that the scales are off, the wool no longer shrinks. This way, it can go in the washing machine with the regular laundry and does not require extra attention. Nowadays there are also natural processes to superwash the wool, which of course is already a lot better. Unfortunately, the good properties of wool are still lost in the process.

Superwash wool or not?

As far as we are concerned, no Superwash wool. We choose wool precisely for its good properties and we are not going to negate that. Untreated wool does need some extra attention when it needs to be washed, but we don’t really see a problem there. Washing is much less frequent and often a quick rinse is enough. Matter of collecting a wool wash and putting it in the machine on the wool wash setting. After that, just hang out.

How do I know if the wool has been treated with Superwash?

Usually this is not mentioned on the Internet. I also caught myself saying that my products did not state/do not state that the wool is not Superwash treated. Actually thinking that if such a treatment is done you mention it, but not so… If it is not explicitly mentioned please contact the manufacturer. You can also find on Google which producers use superwash wool and which do not.

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Nice of you to visit my page! I am Maike and mom of 2 cool guys. I started looking into natural (wool) baby clothes and natural motherhood with my second son. And I am very excited! Hopefully I can inform and inspire you to make your little ones as comfortable as possible!


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