Wool is a natural fibre that has been used by humans for thousands of years. From farm to wardrobe to recycling facility, wool has a long lifecycle with many intermediate steps. How much do you know about wool? International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) runs through some of the essential facts, some of which might surprise you.

Essential Facts About Wool

For  8,000 years, humans have used wool to improve their lives, keep warm, and protect themselves from the elements. In the modern age, we have developed all kinds of fibres that can be used for these purposes, but wool is still prized above all of them for its sustainability and natural properties. As the push for more eco-friendly solutions becomes ever more prevalent in a variety of industries, including fashion and décor, wool is increasingly in demand. What makes wool so special? Here are some key facts about this natural fibre.

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Some Things You May Not Know About Wool

Consider some of these key statistics about wool:

  • There are roughly one billion sheep in the world. Each year they produce approximately one million tons of wool.
  • Wool is not only used in clothing production. It is also used for insulation and acoustic installations in buildings, among other uses.
  • Wool is naturally flame resistant and is an excellent fibre for fire safety purposes.
  • Wool is the perfect weather for cold weather clothing because it retains heat even if it is wet and performs well in even extremely icy conditions.
  • Wool is produced in many countries around the world, but the main sources are Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • After shearing and baling, each bale of wool is tested according to a list of properties. It is then sorted and sold according to those specific properties.
  • The wool goes through a lengthy process before it is marketed. The steps in this process include washing, carding, combing, spinning, and dyeing.
  • The wool industry has high standards for sustainability and animal care. Growers and end users all know that the quality of the wool depends on the health and happiness of the sheep that produce it.
  • Growers also work hard to maintain high environmental standards and reduce the use of water, energy, and chemicals.
  • Wool is highly sustainable and recyclable.

Learn All You Need to Know About the International Wool Industry

To find out more essential facts about wool, watch this short video, which tells you most of what you need to know to become acquainted with fibre and its benefits.

For more information on the wool industry around the world, take a look at our fact sheets, statistics, and guidelines.

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