Where Does Merino Wool Come From?
You may have heard the term Merino wool or read on the fabric on a clothing label, but you still might wonder – what is merino wool? Well, let’s start by saying that Merino wool originates from Merino sheep. Merino sheep originate from Spain, however, Merino sheep are now raised in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and South Africa as well. Nowadays, Australia is the biggest producer of Merino wool.
For the end products to be as fine as possible, the raw material is sourced a year before creating the garments. The wool must adhere to some strict specifications, not only for the fleece quality but also for the welfare of the sheep, sustainability and the protection of the farmland. Merino wool is considered to be one of the softest sheep wools. It is safe to say that it is next to skin soft, therefore merino wool ball is regarded as pretty luxurious wool for producing garments for children and adults.
Benefits of Merino Wool
It Is Natural
Merino wool is made of proteins composed of amino acids and natural compounds. Hence, any soft merino wool ball that stores and online retailers provide, is a natural fibre. This is also a renewable fibre, which means that one sheep can grow 4-5 pounds (1.8-2.2 kg) of wool per year. Moreover, this fibre has evolved over the years to keep sheep comfortable in harsh environments.
Helps Regulate Body Temperature
Merino wool is really good at keeping the body at a stable temperature. This material has properties that enable it to keep you cool in the heat, and conversely, the wool keeps you warm on the coldest day. Therefore, when it’s warm outside, it transports sweat rapidly away from the skin, thus keeping you cool and dry. On the flip side, when it’s cold outside, the natural crimps and bends in its fibre trap air, thus insulating you.
Helps Keep You Dry and Sweat-Free
Merino is known for wicking sweat and moisture away from the skin as a vapour. This fibre is inherently porous. Merino wool consists of little plates that moisture vapour can get in between, which means that you won’t be left feeling wet, cold, and clammy. Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, aren’t porous. Typically, they wick sweat when it’s already a liquid, and then your body has to heat it up to evaporate it, making you feel clammy in colder weather. However, merino takes a step out of the process by helping you stay warm and dry when you’re moving and playing outdoors.
Another positive side of Merino wool is that it absorbs body odour caused by bacteria. This fibre traps the smell caused by the bacteria and keeps it from building up. This means that you can wear this odour-resistant clothing for longer without having to worry about smelling unpleasant. For this reason, clothing made from merino wool is great for travelling or longer treks when you may not have as much room to pack.
It Is Durable
Merino wool yarn is super soft and fine and naturally long. Its length makes it a durable natural fibre. Garments that are made of many shorter fibres are more likely to develop holes, but merino wool has a natural crimp to it – the crimp strengthens the material and makes it stretch easily.
How to Wash and Dry Merino Wool Knitwear?
If you want to dry clean your knitwear, you should take it to a professional dry cleaner to ensure the superior quality of your sweater is maintained upon cleaning.
You can hand wash your wool knitwear in clean lukewarm water inside out. Use a mild and gentle detergent. Soak for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly in lukewarm water and then finish with cold water.
Wash your knitwear inside out and use the wool setting, which is usually a 30-degree gentle cycle. Use a mild detergent. You should avoid biological detergents since they contain enzymes that will attack the wool causing irreparable damage.
Never tumble dry your wool knitwear, instead, leave it to air dry by laying the garment flat. Also, dry it away from the heat, never on a radiator, in front of a fire or in strong direct sunlight.
In order to maintain a smooth appearance, you can occasionally steam pass your garments after washing. For best results, turn your garment inside out to protect the outer surface. Always iron on a low-temperature setting, if possible whilst your garment is still damp. If you’re dry ironing, use a slightly damp cloth to avoid glazing.