Q:

What are the pros and cons of wool and cotton?

A:

Quick Answer

Wool and cotton fabrics have a number of pros and cons. Cotton is a comfortable and breathable material, but it tends to fade and wear easily. Wool is a strong, heavy, flame-retardant material that resists static electricity. Wool shrinks easily, especially when not properly washed.

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Full Answer

Cotton is a natural fiber that feels soft against the skin and has hypoallergenic properties. Because cotton is a naturally absorbent material, it wicks sweat from the skin and releases perspiration in the air quickly. Clothes made of cotton can keep individuals cool during the summer. It is easy to dye and can withstand bleaching and exposure to boiling water. Cotton is a bad insulator and dries slowly when wet. It is also less durable than other fabrics and breaks down over time.

Wool is derived from the coat or hair of animals, such as sheep, goat and rabbits. It feels warm on the skin and even retains its warmth when wet. Because of its opaque appearance, wool hides soil or dirt well compared to other fabrics, making it an apt material for making carpets. However, it is a relatively expensive fabric because of the preparation and processing costs necessary to produce wool. Like cotton, it is easy to dye, which also means it stains easily. The fabric doesn't take bleaching and chemicals well, and some liquids with a pH of 9.5 or higher can cause wool to become discolored and brittle.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can you restretch wool that has been shrunk?

    A:

    Wool that shrinks due to an accidental hot water wash may be restretched. However, if shrinkage is noted only after the piece has been washed and dried, restretching is not helpful, according to About.com.

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  • Q:

    Can you wash boiled wool?

    A:

    It is recommended that boiled wool be washed by hand or only in washers that have a wool cycle, and both types of washing should include a wool-specific detergent. Because boiled wool contains natural oil and lanolin, it should be washed sparingly and according to the manufacturer's care instructions.

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  • Q:

    Where does wool come from?

    A:

    Most wool comes from sheep, although some wool is harvested from goats, muskoxen, rabbits and certain camelid species. Wool produces a unique textile with qualities that cannot be found in fur, such as its crimped texture, elasticity and tendency to grow in clusters for easy harvesting.

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  • Q:

    What is Merino wool?

    A:

    Merino wool is made from the sheared fleece of Merino sheep. It is considered one of the softest and finest types of wool. Eighty percent of the world's Merino wool is made in Australia.

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