Why Wool? | Frequently Asked Questions

Wool is Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable - Sonoma Wool Company
Ten Wonders of Wool by Sonoma Wool Company
Infographic explaining the wonders of wool - Sonoma Wool Company

Why Wool? Why should I choose wool?

Wool is the most incredible, versatile fiber that exists.

For millennia, wool has been used to keep us warm and shelter us from the elements. You may say wool was the very first renewable resource! This is why our "slogan" is Re-Discover the Wonders of Wool - we want to help people re-discover what was forgotten - that wool fibers are special and have a place in every home.

Ewe (female sheep) receive their harm-less "hair cut" once a year, usually in the Spring or early Summer. The wool grows back by the following year - a completely renewable process!

Not only is wool a natural fiber, making it a more sustainable choice than synthetic fibers, but its properties make it the perfect choice for household products. Wool is temperature regulating, meaning our Wool Bedding Collection (100% Wool Comforters, Wool Mattress Toppers and Wool Pillows) will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And, it's naturally antimicrobial, so your bedding and home supplies, like our Wool Dish Drying Mats, stay free of harmful bacteria.

 

No one has ever invented a fiber that replicates all of the qualities of wool.

 

 

You'll find this beautiful, pure, chemical-free Wool Batting encased in 100% cotton throughout our Wool Bedding line.  

Here are a number of reasons that stand out to us on why we believe Wool is the most incredible, and versatile fiber that exists:

  • 100% Natural
  • Renewable resource - once sheared, sheep regrow their wool
  • Absorbs moisture up one-third of its own weight, yet repels liquids
  • Releases moisture evenly
  • Regulates temperature – both heat and cold, keeping you comfortable no matter the season
  • Resists dirt and stains, saving you time and hassle
  • Resists mold and mildew
  • Flame-resistant – it smolders rather than bursting into flames or melting
  • Durable and long-lasting (lifetimes)
  • Completely biodegradable which reduces the amount of waste going into landfills
  • Wool fibers are crimped, which provides natural buoyancy, elasticity, resiliency, and loft to make naturally comforting products
Sonoma Wool Company Wonders of Wool

Where do you get your wool from?

We only use USA wool. We source our wool from generational family sheep ranches throughout the United States, mainly from California and Oregon. Our home ranch is in Sonoma County, where we still get a portion of our wool and create our Wool Dryer Balls and Wool Pet Toys.

Most United States wool comes from sheep that are known to produce rougher, more porous and scaly wool fibers. This is perfect for our products, because it benefits the breathability of the wool, enhancing it's ability to regulate temperature (perfect for our Wool Bedding), and disperse moisture (perfect for our Wool Dish Drying Mat). You can read more about breathability in our blog post here.

We created Sonoma Wool Company in part to help support the United States wool industry. We believe it is supremely important to support domestic agriculturalists and are proud to do our part. You can read more on why this is important to us and to our communities in our blog post here.

Amy holds raw wool, freshly scoured and ready for felting.

Where are Sonoma Wool Company products made?

All of our Sonoma Wool Company products are finished in the United States. We make some of our products (by hand!) on the ranch in Valley Ford, California, and are partnered with a sewing room nearby. We also work with several mills on the East Coast to help keep up with demand.

Our wool is 100% sourced from family sheep ranches in the USA. Our linen comes from India, one of the last remaining countries that farms and harvests flax for high quality fabrics.

I am allergic to wool, should I use your product?

Wool is a protein, as opposed to a plant fiber or feather fiber. Genuine diagnosed allergies to wool are rare. However, some people's skins may be more sensitive to a coarse wool fiber, which might lead them to think they are allergic to wool. Others may be sensitive to chemicals used in the processing of wool.

In any event, for those who may be allergic, or are sensitive to wool touching their skin, note that our Wool Bedding is encased in 100% cotton, and the wool does not come in direct contact with the skin. With regard to our Wool Dish Drying Mat, it comes with a 100% linen sleeve, so again, there is little opportunity for direct contact with the skin.

May I wash my wool products?

Wool naturally resists dirt and dust, is antimicrobial, and air circulates through it, so it does not need to be washed between uses.

If a spill occurs on the bedding, you may spot clean the spill with a clean cotton cloth and natural soap and water.

To clean and sanitize your bedding, place it in the sun every few months. If you prefer, you may bring it to a professional dry cleaner who uses a non-toxic, chemical free method (either a non agitating wet-clean or CO2 process), but be sure to advise your cleaners that the fibers are natural wool.

Why can't I throw my wool products in my washing machine?

One of the wonders of wool it its breathability. If you look at a wool fiber under a microscope, you will see that it has layers and layers of scales on them. These scares are porous and are what enable the wool to capture, hold, and release air, in short, it is what enables the fiber to "breathe". If the fibers are washed in soap and water, the agitation in a machine will cause these scales to catch on each other, and start to felt together. (This is what causes your wool sweater to shrink, or the batting on the inside of your wool comforter to turn into lumps of felted wool.)

You may have come across wool garments that are advertised as washable wool, often described as "super washed". The wool fibers used to make these garments have been treated with a polymer so that the scales on the wool fibers no longer felt with each other when agitated. This may be preferred by some manufacturers of wool garments, but We DO NOT use wool that has been "super washed". We WANT our wool products to breathe and do all the other things that wool does - absorb and evaporate moisture, resist mold and mildew, and remain fire retardant.

We only use wool that has been washed with a simple plant-based soap and water. No harsh chemicals, no super wash, and no carbonization (an acid treatment to remove vegetation matter from the wool.)

Is wool more expensive than other products?

At first blush, wool is a more expensive fiber than any synthetic fiber on the market, and in some places it may be more expensive than feathers and cotton. However, there is a value to wool that is immeasurable, and as consumers we have the ability to support our values with the purchasing choices we make.

  • Human Costs

Synthetic products are inexpensive because they are made with man-made plastic materials, and often manufactured, woven and sewn in countries that do not pay fair wages. Laborers can be exposed to harsh chemicals and other dangerous working conditions while processing these types of materials.

  • Environmental Costs

Synthetics and plastics are not biodegradable. Studies have shown that the microscopic fibers of those soft synthetic "snuggly" blankets, throws and clothing, have been found in the bellies of fish and birds all over the planet, and of course we are all aware of the island of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Every time that synthetic product is placed in a washing machine and dryer, the plastic fibers get washed down the drain, ultimately ending up in our streams and waterways.

Wool, on the other hand, is a renewable natural fiber which will last for generations, and when it is time for it to go, it biodegrades in a matter of months.

  • Durability

Wool fibers can bend over 20,000 times before they break! They that with cotton, and you'll get about 3,000 bends before it breaks. This long-lasting fiber is the basis for a life-long use of your bedding products, which, with proper care, may become family heirlooms. In short, you won't have to repeatedly purchase bedding every 3-4 years.

How does the wool get from the sheep to the comforter?

  1. Once each year, usually in the Spring, the wool on each sheep is sheared by professional sheep shearers. Annual shearing is essential for the sheep's health, does not harm the sheep, it is similar to getting a hair cut.
  2. Once sheared, the fleece (wool from one sheep) is placed on a skirting table, where quality imperfections in the wool are removed by hand.
  3. The wool is then baled and shipped to a scouring mill, where it is washed with soap. At this stage, much of the lanolin is removed and collected for further processing for cosmetics or other uses.
  4. After washing, the wool is re-baled and shipped to a carding mill where it is combed and placed in large rolls of batting.
  5. The rolls of batting are then shipped either to a felting mill or our sewing rooms, where it is used to create the Sonoma Wool Company products for you and your home!

Is your wool organic?

One of the primary reasons we started Sonoma Wool Company was to support family ranches in the United States. The ranchers in the United States do not certify their wool as organic, primarily because of the costs, related to the low return on such an investment. This does not mean that we don't take care to ensure the wool is of the highest quality available.

The priority for us is the health of the animals, and the land on which they are raised - the standards of which are often beyond those specified for organic wool.

Can I ask you a question that isn't listed here?

Sure! Head on over to our contact us page or send your question to sawyer@sonomawoolcompany.com

Consider us your wool experts - ask us anything!


American wool is an incredible fiber with many benefits - and we want to share it with the world! Our goal is to educate consumers on the value of wool - and the value of supporting domestic industries, so that we can ensure economic viability in our communities for generations to come. We believe that wool has its place in every household. Wool is environmentally friendly and versatile. Previous generations used wool for anything ranging from carriage covers, to hats, to coats and gloves. We are hoping to help people Re-Discover the Wonders of Wool so that consumers can remember what a great fiber it is, and hopefully begin to enjoys its many uses!

With all the benefits of American wool, it has its place in the modern household, and is not just for the winter months! Wool Bedding is perfect for all-season use because of its temperature controlling abilities. Wool helps sheep stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer! Wool's individual fibers are structured so that they allow for air to pass in and out. This is what makes the fiber breathable, and mold/mildew resistant! Wool can help to control night sweats - and even eliminate them all together. When we sleep, our bodies warm up. If that hot air has nowhere to go, and is trapped next to our skin, we tend to over-heat, causing us to wake up in a sweat. Sleeping in, on, and under wool will help to release that hot air. Wool's breathable fibers allow cool sir to come in and replace that how air, keeping us at an ideal temperature for a long restful night of sleep. We designed our comforters for all-season use. They are made of our 100% USA Wool batting, encased in 100% cotton, which allows for the wool to do what it does best! We always encourage using natural fibers over synthetics, both for their function, and impact on the environment. Synthetic sheets (those made of polyester or other lab-made fibers) will trap hot air in, and negatively impact the wool's breathability. Synthetic fibers also do not degrade in soil the same way that wool will. Synthetic fibers will leave their harsh chemicals and invasive materials in our soil for years and years (no one really knows how long), versus wool will degrade completely within the span of a year or less, nurturing the soil with its natural components!

We believe in the Wonders of Wool! Here are our top 10 Wonders of Wool for easy learning.

  1. All Natural
  2. Renewable
  3. Ultra Absorbent
  4. Sustainable
  5. Resist Dirt and Stains
  6. Breathable
  7. Resists Dirt and Mildew
  8. Fire Resistant
  9. Durable
  10. Biodegradable

To us, it's a real no-brainer that wool belongs in every home. We are proud to be able to support domestic industries and would like to see the American wool and sheep industry grow as the years go on. Our promise is to source wool from USA sheep ranchers, so that we can ensure the quality and standards of the way the sheep are raised and the wool is shorn. Sheep do need to be shorn in order to thrive on the ranch. The long history of shepherds has led to the domestication of sheep, meaning that they depend on us to survive. If we let their wool grow too long, they would become weighed down and not able to freely move due to the sheer mass of wool produced. Shearing the sheep is comparable to a haircut. Once a year, the sheep are brought into the barn and professionals remove their fleece with care. The sheep are not harmed in this process. Wool is a gift to mankind, and if we show these wonderful ewes respect, then the symbiotic relationship that has developed can continue in harmony through the future.


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