Superwash Explained

As a knitter, crocheted, weaver or spinner, you probably love yarn. And as someone who loves yarn, you probably pay attention to it both when shopping in stores and when browsing online. If so, you have undoubtedly come across the term “superwash merino wool” as a popular yarn option. What exactly is this fiber and why is it trending?

This yarn’s popularity lies in the first descriptor: “superwash”. This is a wool that can be washed in the washing machine. Just a generation or so again, all of the natural fiber yarn that was made for the hand knitting & spinning market required hand washing. With new technology in yarn, this all changed, and now we have superwash wool,, which is a natural fiber that has been treated so that it can be washed in the machine. Whereas regular wool will shrink in the wash (and will most likely felt), superwash wool will come out of the machine pretty much as it was when you put it in.

Let’s look at the science.

Superwash wool is made by exposing the fiber to a chlorine gas that erodes the scales and then it is coated in a plastic like polymer called Hercosett 125. Hercosett 125 is a polyamide-epichlorohydrin polymer. While the chemicals that comprise this polymer are themselves highly toxic, that does not mean that the polymer itself is. At it’s base composition, polyamide is a protein.

100% superwash treated wool is still 100% wool. Shop our beautiful collection of superwash yarns here.

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