In addition to linen and cotton, wool is one of our tried-and-true, go-to textiles for all over the house. It’s both hardy (as in a dependable wool rug) and luxurious (as in soft sheepskin blankets), and we love the way it looks in all its forms. But wool has other benefits, too: It’s eco-friendly, water-resistant, antibacterial, and even has the potential to help you sleep better. It’s also the traditional gift for wedding anniversary number seven (in case you want to drop any hints). Here’s what to know about this all-purpose, dependable material.
1. It’s been around for millennia.
Weaving wool is an ancient practice: the oldest known woven wool textile in Europe was found preserved in a Danish bog, and is estimated to date from 1500 BCE.
2. It doesn’t always come from sheep.
Though we commonly think of wool being made from sheep, when they’re sheared in spring, the wide category of “wool” actually includes textiles made from the fur of alpacas, llamas, camels, goats, and other animals. Cashmere and mohair (both from goats) are types of wool, as is angora.
3. It wicks moisture.
Fan found out, when she ordered a wool dish-drying mat, that wool is naturally water-resistant (that’s why she dubbed it her life-changing dish drying mat). She noted that, as she says, “when you place just-washed items on the mat, you can actually see drops of water resting on top of the wool.” And: “Whatever water it absorbs eventually evaporates. The mat never feels soggy.” That’s because wool fibers both repel and absorb moisture: The exterior of the fibers is water resistant, but the interior can absorb a huge amount—30 percent of its weight. This makes it a great choice for dish drying mats, bedding, and socks alike: Whatever moisture is absorbed will be released, keeping the wearer or sleeper comfortably cool and dry.