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Fibers Title
Stay Dry with Wool as a Moisture Buffer
Drop of water on merino wool fleece
Water Repellent
What Wool Does for You
Wool keeps your child’s bed dry.
Why
When you see a drop of water sitting on the surface of wool, this is a demonstration of its water repellency. It may seem confusing that wool is both water repellent and moisture absorbent, but two different parts of the fiber give wool these qualities. Wool is physically and chemically complex. Taking advantage of those complexities is what makes wool such a versatile fiber.
Water beads up on the surface of wool because the overlapping scales of the wool fibers create a hard outer layer that liquid water does not penetrate. Water vapor, however, is absorbed into the core. So, wool is both moisture repellent and moisture absorbent.
In order to create a similar water repellency, synthetic fabrics are treated with fluorocarbon chemicals, wax, silicone, or resins.
When a tighly woven wool fabric like our lofty wool puddle pads is used for a diaper cover or a diaper changing pad, the water repellency of wool creates the barrier parents want to keep clothes and beds dry.
Absorbent
What Wool Does for You
Wool feels dry to the touch even after it has absorbed moisture, so it doesn’t leave our skin feeling clammy.
Why
Wool wicks moisture---it is hygroscopic. If you sweat at night, wool absorbs it. If a baby’s diaper is wet, wool absorbs it. Because that moisture is absorbed to the core of the fibers rather than staying on the surface, we don’t feel the wetness.

Merino wool can absorb up to 35% of its own dry weight before it starts to feel wet to the touch. Cotton can absorb up to 24%, and synthetics absorb as low as only 1% of their weight in water. [1] It takes much less moisture for cotton and synthetics to feel wet against the skin.
Humidity Control & Moisture Buffer
What Wool Does for You
Wool keeps your child dry.
Why
Your child is damp, the bed is dry, and a wool mattress pad acts as a natural moisture buffer. Wool adjusts to climatic conditions, which is why it works so well as a coat, and wool adjusts to the microclimate our bodies create as we sleep on or under a wool blanket. Body humidity rises, and wool absorbs moisture. Body humidity falls, and wool release moisture.
"Moisture vapor held inside the wool fiber is chemically bound. It does not behave as a liquid inside the fiber nor does it move out onto the surface of the fiber as a liquid."
"Wool Dampness and Drying" [2]
In most cases, a wool puddle pad under a sleeping child is enough to keep moisture from reaching the mattress. If your child needs extra protection, you can even fold the puddle pad and place in a strip across the center of your child’s bed to double absorbency.
Compare Wool with Artificial Materials
You may notice that studies testing breathability, absorption, and clamminess of some polymer fibers don’t report their comparison with wool. That is because wool outperforms all synthetics, whether they come from petro-chemical or biological sources before they are polymerized.

Natural wool is the fiber that synthetic technical fibers are trying to imitate, but no synthetic fiber has yet been created that brings together all of the natural attributes that make wool the best fiber for diapering and sleep.

[1] “About Merino: Breathability,” Australian Wool Innovation Limited. http://www.wool.com/Wearing_About-Merino_Proof_Breathability.htm

[2] “Wool Dampness and Drying,” The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Image above is one drop of water on our merino wool.
Copyright 2011 Marc Pehkonen. All rights reserved.

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