sheep wool uses

Sheep Wool – a Natural Product With Many Uses

Sheep’s wool is obtained through the annual shearing, during which an animal is lightened by about four kilograms, depending on its breed and age. Each year, the approximately 1.5 million Merino sheep, Heidschnucken, Rauhwolligen Pommerschen Landschafe and Co. registered in Germany provide about 6,000 tons of wool.

Processing of the animal natural fiber

Traditionally, sheep’s wool is used for the production of warming textiles such as hats, socks, gloves, sweaters, vests or coats, as well as carpets. The diverse end products are created through various wool processing techniques such as knitting, crocheting, weaving or felting. However, virgin wool cannot be used in its raw state because it contains lanolin, a wool wax, which has a very unpleasant odor and makes the wool very greasy.

First of all, the mostly whitish, but also brown or black raw wool needs to be washed gently. The washing should be done as soon as possible after shearing, otherwise there is a risk that the lanolin will gum up and the wool will turn yellow. Movements of the wool in the water bath must be avoided with regard to an undesired felting. The wool is then rinsed carefully and the washing process is repeated if necessary.

Washing is followed by plucking, which involves portioning the wool into small pieces and at the same time removing any remaining dirt or small knots. Finally, the wool pieces are carded or combed, resulting in long, knot-free and clean wool fibers, which can later be easily spun and finally knitted or woven in the form of thin threads.

Other uses of sheep’s wool

The use of the renewable raw material sheep’s wool is no longer limited to the production of warming clothing, felt slippers, hats, carpets, blankets or bags. Due to its good properties in terms of heat and sound insulation, the natural fiber is considered a good alternative to synthetic or mineral insulation materials. Sheep wool, which is produced in a very environmentally friendly way compared to other insulating materials, is excellent for interior insulation, because it purifies the air in the room and binds odors and pollutants. Since it is able to absorb a lot of moisture, sheep’s wool is an ideal insulating material for rooms with high humidity. In order for the natural insulating material, which consists to a very large extent of the protein compound creatine, to provide effective protection against insect infestation or flames, it requires treatment with boric salt, which, however, makes subsequent composting more difficult.

The natural material sheep’s wool also performs valuable services in the garden. Containing phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and a lot of nitrogen, unwashed wool nourishes crops and ornamental plants for a very long time and ensures healthy growth. Thanks to its ability to absorb a lot of water, the organic slow-release fertilizer also acts as a moisture reservoir. In the form of so-called fertilizer pellets, the untreated and ideally manure-soiled sheep’s wool is available both in well-stocked specialist garden stores and online.

Pressed into mats and spread on the bed in the garden, the completely biodegradable sheep’s wool is very suitable for weed control. The weed fleece not only protects against plant competition, but also provides an effective slug brake. Due to the higher heat in the soil, the air and water permeable mat made of sheep wool further contributes to faster plant growth.

In the medical field or that of body care, the natural product is used as healing wool for babies. With its high residual fat content, it ensures the necessary wound healing as a result of diaper wearing. Baby care creams also contain the wool wax lanolin, which is obtained during the washing of sheep’s wool.

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