What Does Wool Feel Like? (Is Wool Itchy and Soft? 8 Tips)

All natural fabrics have their unique feel. It is one reason some people choose one over the other as their favorite fabric to wear. Having the right fabric feel can make all the difference between a bad and a good day. Feeling comfortable does go a long way.

What does wool feel like? Before the material is washed and processed, wool can feel a bit oily. After processing, it is a very soft fabric to wear that can make you feel a little bit itchy at times. Plus, it can feel warm, strong as well as not weigh you down.

To find out more about how wool feels just continue to read our article. It has information about wool so you can shop accordingly. The key is to use your hands to make sure the material ha the feel you want.

Tip 1: When your wool outfit is a little itchy, wear an extra layer underneath the wool outfit, preferably one that will wick away moisture

Tip 2: Do not wash the wool sweater, etc., too much. If you do you will remove some of the lanolin, the natural water, and fire protection that comes with wool fibers.

Is Wool Soft or Rough?


YES. Don’t those types of answers frustrate you? They can be annoying but in this case yes is the answer because wool can be both soft and rough. It may not be on the same fabric but different qualities of wool can have a soft feel or a rough feel.

If the fleece comes from the wrong sheep, or an unhealthy one or even poor quality of wool, then expect to feel some roughness to the material. Wool coming from the right sources produces a soft fabric that is attractive as well as keeps your body nice and warm and comfortable.

Tip 3: One source for that itchy wool feeling are the different chemicals used to create the fabric. The more processing the wool goes through the rougher it can be

Is Wool Itchy?

It can be. How smooth or rough wool becomes depends on the length of processing and the type of chemicals the manufacturers use to create their product. The more organic the wool fiber the softer and smoother the fabric.

Wool fabrics that are itchy also only have about 1 to 2 crimps in the fiber whereas the softer wools have up to 100 crimps. A crimp is that wavy look to the wool fibers. The more you have the softer the material.

The chemical treatments can also make wool soft removing the itch feeling if applied right.

Tip 4: a loose weave tends to be softer as it traps air in between its fibers. A tight weave means that the wool may be itchier than you want it to be

Does Merino Wool Itch?

Generally, no it doesn’t. That is because merino wool is made from fine wool fibers. The finer the fiber the less itchy problem you will have. Then because the fibers are not thick, they bend easily when pressed next to your skin which keeps the wool soft and not itchy.

Of course, if you have sensitive skin, you may still feel some itchiness even when wearing merino wool. The same fabric will feel different to different people because they have different skin types. So don’t take someone’s else word for the itchy nature of merino wool, it just may be their skin sending a different message.

Tip 5: If you can, check to see which type of sheep your wool came from. There is a difference between the animal and fine wool sheep produce nice, soft wool that makes wearing the fabric a good experience.

What Does Merino Wool Feel Like?

Merino wool feels nice and soft to most people. It is made with those fine fibers we already spoke about and those fibers make sure that most people have a great wool wearing experience.

Also, merino wool does not let anybody odor or sweat interfere with your social encounters. It is an added layer of protection when you do not feel fresh or ready to meet other people.

Then the fabric is seen as very warm as hikers use it to stay warm when on the sides of mountains. You can get triple protection from merino wool without feeling itchy.

Tip 6: Even if the wool you buy is itchy or rough, you are helping the environment by buying natural fibers over the synthetic materials made from petroleum products.

What Does Alpaca Wool Feel Like?

This brand of wool is nice and soft next to the skin. In fact, many people do not find it very itchy at all. But there is a difference between the alpaca animals that produce this type of wool.

The Huacaya alpaca wool tends to favor a crimpy style that is very soft and probably softer than merino wool. While the Suri alpaca variety is more silky and lustrous. Knowing where the wool came from will help you make a good purchasing decision as well as get you the feel you want from wool.

This is supposed to be warmer than regular wool.

Tip 7: Whether itchy or not, wool resists pilling, snagging, and breaking and often outlive synthetic materials. Plus it doesn’t sag, wrinkle or bag.

Is Worsted Wool Itchy?


Yes, it is and it is because the wool fibers stand up straight and are woven closely together. Children may find the worsted wool a lot more itchy than adults may as their skin is usually more sensitive than adult skin.

Some worsted wool can be spun to make sure that the fibers are not sticking into your skin but it is still a rougher wool brand that may cause more than one person to scratch at the wrong time.

While the rougher shorter fibers are combed out of this material, it can still feel rough and itchy.

Tip 8: those people who have sensitive skin and find wool itchy also find that they can wear alpaca wool and not experience those issues.

What Does Yak Wool Feel Like?

Some yak fibers are very fine and can be woven into some of the smoothest wool you will ever feel. This animal can grow a very luxurious fiber that rivals merino, alpaca, and other fine wool products.

Some sellers often fool their customers and say that their acrylic wool rugs are made from yak wool. If they were you would be paying $200 to $400 for a small one. Yak wool rugs can be very itchy and rough. It is far from smooth and soft.

To tell if you own a real yak wool rug, burn a little bit of it and the burning fibers should smell like burning hair.

What Does Boiled Wool Feel?

This is a lightweight variant of the wool family that doesn't feel itchy when worn. The boiling process helps shrink the wool and make it softer. This option is becoming very popular throughout the world, even in traditional cold geographic regions.

If you have placed your hand on felted wool or wool felt then you will have an idea of what this brand of wool feels like. Even sensitive skin people may not feel itchy wearing this version of wool.

This wool is mainly used for winter garments and accessories, like gloves, scarves, hats, vests, jackets and on it goes.

Why Does Wool Feel Itchy?

The main reason wool feels itchy is because of the way it is spun or woven. The technique has wool fibers sticking straight out and pricking or annoying your skin. Those people with sensitive skin may feel the itchiness the most.

There is another cause of itchiness in wool and it is not due to the fabric either. The different chemicals used in the processing of the material can leave a residue, etc., that rubs your skin the wrong way.

Another cause is due to the fabric and that is when the wool fibers are taken from the wrong sheep or woven in a low-quality manner.

What Does Acrylic Wool Feel Like?

In the old days before technology got to the fabric industry, acrylic wool felt a lot worse than real wool and was a lot more itch. However, processing methods have changed due to technological upgrades and acrylic wool is made better these days.

Those manufacturing changes have made acrylic wool as fine and as smooth as real wool. Plus, it has cut down on any itchy feeling you may get. The softness and stain resistance of acrylic wool also contributes to its popularity.

It may be a cheaper price but that depends on where you do your shopping more than anything else.

Does Wool Get Softer With Wear?


Yes, it does so if your wool sweaters, etc., are not soft enough, just wear them more often. Also, washing your wool items will contribute to their softness, although you may not want to wash your wool items too frequently.

Of course, the breed of the sheep producing wool will play a role in how soft the fabric gets as you wear it. Try to get your wool items from the right breed of sheep or other animals to make sure you have the softness you want.

What is The Softest Wool?

If asked this question, you may say cashmere but you would be wrong. Cashmere is a fine and soft wool fabric but merino wool tops it in softness. This material comes from the actual merino sheep which is the most popular breed of sheep for clothing wool.

Alpaca wool comes n a close second or third as there are some expensive wools that may be just a tiny bit softer than that variety. But alpaca wool is a different style of wool with different properties.

If you know your wool fabrics, you know that there are lots of affordable and soft wool material that can be substituted for merino and alpaca wool.

How To Make Wool Feel Softer

After washing and wearing the sweater, etc., you can condition it to make the material feel softer. Regular hair conditioner will help you get the softness level you want. Next, you can buy those products that put lanolin back into the wool material.

Just soak the wool in a lanolin wash to get that softness back into the material. Next up is glycerin which can be used in the same way as a hair conditioner. There is no odor to this product so your wool won’t smell like hair conditioner when done.

White vinegar will not only soften the material it will help take the itch away from wool. Just add it to your washer load.

Softening a Wool Blanket

You can use any of the above methods to soften a wool blanket. Of course, we would recommend the vinegar solution as the best option because it will also remove that itchy feeling.

Just add a little vinegar to the rinse cycle and your blanket should be softer. Then you can try fabric softener but the chemicals in that may interact with the chemicals on wool. This is a trial and error method as all fabric softeners are not the same.

The thing about many of these softening methods is that they can wash out the next time you launder your wool items.

Are Wool Socks Itchy?

They can be and wool socks that fit tight around your ankles can cause this problem. Also, the lanolin found in sheep’s wool can create that itchy feeling and have you scratching at the wrong time.

On top of those sources, your sensitive skin may make your nice wool socks feel even itchier than they really are. Then, the fibers may be broad, or wide and not flexible. This will cause the itch to take place on your ankles.

These factors will appear in different wool socks and if the wool material is of poor quality then expect to scratch a lot.

How To Make Wool Coat Less Itchy


The simplest solution would be to add a nice soft, smooth lining. These go on quickly and cover more area faster than other solutions. Or you can use 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a bucket of water.

Then you let the wool coat soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse off and let dry. The hair conditioning method should also work and you need to massage some conditioner into the wool and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing and drying.

Those are just two methods you can try. It is possible that the other ones mentioned earlier will also work on wool coats.

Stop Wool From Itching Skin

The first and most logical method to use would be to wear a woven undergarment underneath your wool items. Do not wear a knit clothing item as that may still let the itch come through.

Or you can try using a softening method like vinegar as that is said to remove the itch from wool when it is done right. You get two positive results in one method as vinegar will also soften the wool and make it feel more comfortable.

All you need is a bucket of water, 2 tbsp., of vinegar, and 15 minutes of soaking time.

What Does Wool Look Like?

Some people say that raw wool still on the sheep looks like dreadlocks. It may be as it often has a crinkling look to the fleece and it is not straight at all. But that is only sheep’s wool.

Other types of wool may look like long hair and depending on the animal it may be white. The good thing about real wool is that you can dye it to any color you want to look at. It is very accepting of dyes so if you do not like one color, just change it.

How Can You Tell if a Fabric is Wool?


For yak wool, you just take a few strands off the rug or clothing item and put a match to it. The flame will burn the wool fiber quickly and it will smell like burnt hair. The same identification goes for almost all wool fabrics.

The ash of the burnt wool will not look like fine ash but rougher in texture. Then real wool takes a while to catch on fire. Unlike some synthetics which go up in smoke right away.

Some Final Words

Wool feels like wool and often that feeling can be itchy and scratchy as well as rough instead of smooth. But if you get that feeling from your wool items, then they probably were not made from top quality materials or came from the wrong sheep breed.

Just run your hand over the material to see if it will be as soft as you want.

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