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Why do wool sweaters stretch?

Why do wool sweaters stretch?

Wool is a natural fiber that has the ability to expand and retract. This property is due to the structure of wool fibers. Wool fibres, in fact, as explained in the article on the Sewingiscool.com website, are elastic and can extend when subjected to tension.

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The structure of wool

natural wool fibers are made up of a series of overlapping layers. The outermost, called cuticle, is covered by small scales that overlap like roof tiles. These scales can open and close based on changes in humidity. This way the wool can absorb water and expand.

Why does wool spread?

When a wool sweater is washed or wet, the wool fibers absorb the water and swell. This causes the cuticle scales to open and the fiber to widen. 

How to prevent wool spreading?

To prevent a wool sweater from stretching, it is important to follow some simple care rules:

  1. Hand wash: Wool sweaters should always be hand washed in cold water. Hot water causes the cuticles of the natural wool fibers to open and therefore the fibers to widen.
  2. Do not wring: After washing, do not wring the wool sweater. This can stretch the fibers. Remove excess water by gently rolling the shirt in a towel.
  3. Dry flat: Wool sweaters should always be dried flat to maintain their shape. Hanging wool sweaters can cause the wool fibers to stretch.

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By following these simple rules you can keep your wool sweaters in good condition and prevent unwanted stretching.

Remember, wool is a natural fiber and requires special care to maintain its beauty and functionality. On our blog you can find many articles about the care and maintenance of your wool sweaters.