Q:

What are the pros and cons of wool and cotton?

A:

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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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:

    What is mercerized wool?

    A:

    According to Reference Dictionary, mercerized wool has been treated with a caustic alkali under tension. Once the process is complete, the wool has increased strength and luster, and it accepts color dyes more readily.

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  • Q:

    What are disadvantages of wool?

    A:

    The primary disadvantage to wool lies in its limited wearability. Wool is a coarse material, which often makes it uncomfortable and itchy to wear. Over time, wool also pills, or forms small balls of fuzz or fabric on the exterior of a garment. In addition, wool is sensitive to the climate it lives in; heat and moisture cause wool to felt, as Love Sewing points out.

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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:

    Where does cashmere wool come from?

    A:

    Cashmere wool comes from the downy undercoat of cashmere goats. These goats are bred specifically for their fleece; the cashmere fleece is removed in early spring after its maximum length is reached.

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