Is Merino Wool Itchy?
Merino wool is a popular material used in a variety of apparel and accessories, from sweaters to gloves. It is known for its softness and warmth, but some people wonder if it is itchy. The answer is not a simple yes or no. It depends on the type of wool, the quality of the fabric, the diameter of the fibers, and the production process of the finished product.
Merino wool is one of the softest and most luxurious types of wool available. When it is spun into a fine, lightweight fabric, it is extremely soft and comfortable to wear. However, if the wool is spun too tightly, it can become quite itchy. Poorly spun wool is likely to contain short, prickly fibers that can irritate the skin.
The best way to avoid an itchy merino wool product is to make sure you buy quality pieces. Look for items made from 100% merino wool and see if you can determine the micron rating of the wool.
What Causes it to Itch?
"Prickle", the sensation to itch when your skin is in contact with specific fibers, is primarily caused by individual sensitivity, and the diameter of the fiber, measured in microns. Merino wool, which is the finest wool available, is typically 17.5 to 24 microns. Once the average diameter of fiber in a fabric exceeds 22 microns, one may begin to experience prickle, depending on your sensitivity. Wool products meant for continuous contact next to the skin, such as 100% Merino wool shirts, tend to be a finer material, and can range from 16.1 to 17.5 microns. The finer the micron, the more expensive the wool.
Our newer line of blankets are rated at 21 microns. For a look at the measurement of other natural fibers, check out this blog post.