9 Alternatives To Wool: What Can Be Used As a Substitute?

It may be rare but there are people who do have allergies to wool. When you are one of those people, you are actively seeking some alternatives to replace that excellent fabric. Unfortunately, not everyone can wear every fabric in existence today, and substitutes are always needed.

What can be used as a substitute for wool? There are some excellent fabrics that you can wear if you cannot wear wool. These are cotton, flannel, hemp, linen, fleece, seersucker, ramie, silver, Tencel, and many different synthetic fibers. Allergies are real and you should protect yourself by wearing the right fabric.

To learn more about the many substitutes for wool just continue to read our article. There are some great alternatives that still make you look good and keep you nice and warm. Spend a few minutes learning what you can wear even when you do not have allergies and do not like wool prices.

What Can be Used as a Substitute for Wool?

For starters, you can go with bamboo or a bamboo blend of materials. This fabric is like wool and has hypoallergenic qualities that protect you from allergy and asthma triggers.

Then you can go to linen as it is a bit heavier fabric that comes close to wool. It is comfortable as well as stylish. Plus it is good for those hot and humid areas of the country.

Or you can choose thicker or heavier weight cotton to help you look good as well as block out the cold weather. This fabric does it all and keeps you looking nice and stylish when you need to look your best.

Then you can always turn to the in-between fabric category and go with those fabrics that are neither natural nor synthetic. They make great substitutes for wool as you shall soon read. The same goes for the synthetic fabrics that haven’t been mentioned so far.

Synthetic Alternative to Wool


When one hears the word synthetic, their first thought is usually polyester but this fabric is not the best material to use as a wool substitute as it does not breathe that well.

But if you need a synthetic substitute, you can go for silver which is made of either polyester or nylon. It is microbial resistant and helps keep the clothing you are wearing odor-free. You will find a lot of silver in winter clothing, survival clothing items, and party or evening wear.

Then if you are vegan you may want to try some polypropylene fabrics or you can go with synthetic fleece or flannel, to make sure you stay nice and warm as well as very comfortable. You can also try clothing made from soy although technically that is not a synthetic fiber.

Can I Use Acrylic Yarn Instead of Wool?

In the beginning, when acrylic was first introduced to the world as a fabric fiber, it was seen as a material that was inferior to wool. But as time has passed technology has been able to upgrade the processing and make acrylic a very good substitute for wool yarn or other materials.

Those same upgrades have also given acrylic a lot of positive attributes that make it very attractive. First, acrylic is a lot cheaper than wool. That makes that fabric very affordable and allows you to buy more than you need just in case.

Second, acrylic is easier to care for than wool. It is a durable fabric that can be machine washed and the color usually does not fade away. What makes acrylic a bad substitute is that it is basically plastic. It will melt when a match is put to it while the wool can resist some flame.

Most people are not allergic to plastic so if you have allergies, the positives of acrylic tend to outweigh the negatives.

Best Alternative to Wool is Rayon


When you are looking for a wool replacement you should seriously consider rayon. It provides the best of both fabric worlds as it is a blend of two different fabric processes. And you get some rayon options to make life a little simpler when you can’t or do not want to wear wool.

There is modal which is a form of rayon. This material option is made from beech trees and can be quite soft like wool. Plus,. the material is usually smoother than wool in some cases which makes it comfortable to wear.

Also, the modal keeps its shape even when wet and has a nice drape to it. The in-between fabrics may be a good choice for a wool substitute because of their durability, and other strengths.

Other in-between fabrics made from wood chips, like Tencel, are also a good option if they come in the right weight. you do not want to use a lightweight fabric in place of wool.

Best Alternative to Merino Wool

Cotton in its many different forms can help you cut the clothing costs down and still give you that merino wool look. In heavier weights, cotton does make an ideal substitute for this fabric and it should be easier to clean as well.

Ramie is also on the list as a top replacement for merino wool. Its best attribute is that it is all-natural and comes from the ramie plant. Its drawback is that it is not very flexible or elastic but it is a lot like linen and cotton.

The other problem with ramie is that it is very expensive to turn into fabric thus it may cost as much as merino wool costs. That cost is overcome by the material being very strong and comes with anti-bacterial capabilities.

Hemp works well when called upon to replace wool. It is 8 times stronger than cotton. It is hypoallergenic but not antimicrobial. Seersucker may not look that good but it is a form of cotton that works well in suits and shirts.

Vegan Alternatives to Wool


We have mentioned some of these fabrics already. If you choose polyester, acrylic, and other synthetic materials then you are getting a good start in finding a good substitute for wool.

When flannel and fleece are made from synthetic fibers, then those fabrics are good options as well. Some vegans allow for organic cotton and linen materials to be used in place of wool. Organic cotton doesn't destroy eco systems which is why it is on this list.

Then their unique fabric choice is seaweed and the brand may be called SeaCell. This fabric is not supposed to be itchy and helps detox your body. There is an anti-inflammation factor included also.

The porous nature of seaweed helps you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Fabrics that are made from wood chips like rayon, viscose, modal, and Tencel or Lyocell are also vegan approved substitutes for wool.

Alternative to Wool for Babies

Bamboo is one good alternative and its healthy properties make it ideal to cover your child. Whether you use this substitute as a blanket or clothing item, bamboo should keep your child nice and warm.

Then you can go to the more popular options like cotton, flannel, fleece, acrylic, or even rayon and linen. There are a lot of options for you to protect your baby if they have a wool allergy or you do not like anyone in your family wearing wool.

You can also go to different polyester options if you want to keep your expenses low and the decorative look for your baby high. Flannel or fleece is always a good choice no matter which fiber, except wool, is used to create them.

All it takes is a little searching in the fabric department to get a hold of numerous different materials that will readily replace wool. your child should stay warm in all of them.

Alternatives to Wool for Felting


If you are doing needle felting, then the best substitute for wool would be silk. that material resists breaking and fraying a lot better than synthetic options would. Plus, it holds its texture quite well.

Also, silk chiffon or silk velvet is great for needle felting. Woven cotton is also a good substitute for other felting processes. it is less costly than wool and should still make your felt look good and last a long time.

When you do nuno felting just about any fabric with an open weave other than wool can be used to accomplish your goal. Cheesecloth is one such fabric if it is not made from wool fibers.

Then you may try linen, denim, canvas, bamboo, and velvet if you want. The fabric options need to have the right knit or weave to work successfully. The key is to identify those wool blends in the same rack and avoid them.

When you use velvet be prepared to pay a lot of money as it is about as expensive, if not more so than wool.

Alternatives to Wool for Knitting

There are a lot of wool yarn varieties. Far more than we could list here and still have room for their substitutes. If you are in a hurry, acrylic is one of the top choices when you can’t or do not want to use wool. Plus, it is a lot cheaper to buy.

Other substitutes are rayon, cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo, and soy silk as well as synthetics like nylon, and microfiber. One thing that may be possible is that all of these substitutes may not work for every wool yarn variation out there.

If you are looking for a unique wool substitute instead of just the basics listed here check out this website. It provides you with an easy to use search function that will get you an exact match for those many wool yarn variations.

Our search for wool produced a long web page full of wool yarn options so be prepared to do some serious searching and be specific.

Good Alternatives to Wool Socks


Wool allergies do not stop when it comes to your feet. Wearing an alternative to wool doesn't mean you have to go without good thermal socks this winter. There are many top brands that make a blend of fibers without using wool that keep your feet warm and healthy.

Also, you can get good thermal socks in 100% non-wool fabrics. Cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, and spandex all work well in keeping your feet warm and comfortable when you have to venture outside in the winter.

If you do take the blend option some socks come with up to 5 different fibers in them to make them vegan friendly. Some of those blended fibers are rubber, bamboo, polyester, cotton, and nylon.

Make sure to read the labels to make sure you are getting the fibers that fit your lifestyle and preferences. Hemp is included in some blends as are specialty fabrics like Repreve, Coolmax, and Lycra.

Alternatives to Wool Carpet

When it comes to carpeting you do not have to have wool in your home nor do you have a limited choice of fabrics to use. The alternative you use will depend on your taste, your budget, and if the material is durable enough to use in high traffic areas.

You can go with polyester, nylon, acrylic, cotton, hemp as well as any number of other fabrics. Your hardest part is deciding which one looks the best for the room or hallway you want to place the rug.

The next hardest decision is how soft you want the rug to be. The easiest part of this decision is finding a non-wool rug to buy. Which one you choose will be up to your preferences as well. If you are vegan there is also a lot of choices for your home and it shouldn’t be that difficult to find one to match your lifestyle.

Alternative to a Wool Coat


Like finding an alternative to a wool carpet, this is not a difficult selection to make for anyone including vegans. Any synthetically made winter coat will be ideal as well as stylish. There are plenty of winter coats made from these fabrics.

There are vegan faux wool coats that are in that category just mentioned as well as faux fur coats just to get started. If you want a puffer style coat, you can find those made in many different synthetic fabrics, including polyester, fleece, and nylon.

One thing we haven’t mentioned is that wool is a good substitute for wool In our research we found that the people allergic to wool are usually allergic to the wool that comes from sheep. Cashmere has been mentioned as a great wool replacement as it comes from goats.

Also, alpaca and camelhair wool are mentioned as good replacements for sheep’s wool. These alternatives may cost more but at least you can still wear wool.

Alternatives to Wool Dryer Balls

It is hard to beat wool dryer balls as the experts all claim that wool helps clothes dry faster. If time is of importance to you then you may want to use this option over the others. But if you have allergies or do not like anything made from wool, then you have a couple of other options to choose from.

Other options you have are dryer balls made from rubber or plastic. Both do a commendable job but they are not up to the level of wool dryer balls. Plastic ones tend to make more noise than wool versions and do not allow the clothes to dry that well.

Plastic dryer balls also last longer than wool ones. It will depend on their cost and your preference which one you use.

Alternatives to Cotton Wool Buds

You may be more familiar with cotton buds like Q tips or other ear cleaning tools that are very similar to Q tips. The problem with these is not the material used for the cotton buds but the plastic stick holding the buds.

There some sticks that are made from cotton wool and are 100% organic. This may be an option for some people as the organic nature makes them available to vegans, vegetarians, and possibly some wool allergy sufferers.

If you do not like the plastic stick, you can get those sticks made out of paper, bamboo, or even cotton. These are all biodegradable and some come in paper boxes instead of plastic tubs to remain 100% eco friendly.

Some Final Words

Wool allergy sufferers and vegans do not have to worry about finding wool substitutes. there are plenty of good fabrics that do the same job as wool does. The good part is that most of those substitutes are cheaper than wool.

On top of that, those fabrics will still keep you fashion-forward, in style, innovative, or creative.

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