Discover the World’s Finest Wool – How can you tell that it is Real Wool

Worlds Finest Wool

The importance of verifying whether a piece of wool clothing item has wool content or not can never be overstated. This can help you avoid laundry accidents especially if you purchase a fabric with no fiber content label or come in possession of an unmarked material or piece of vintage clothing.

Furthermore, knowing the wool content of a material is important if you intend to sell it or gift it out, as this will help you label it properly for potential buyers or recipients who could be allergic to wool. This information is equally important if you intend to dye your fabric as most dyes are specific to certain fibers.

Here are two different tests that you can use to determine the fiber of your fabric with the help of common household items.

Materials Required:

  • Match
  • Water
  • chlorine bleach
  • Small glass bowl

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The Burn Test - Identify Real Wool

We explicit point out that this test should not be performed at home! Be warned that something could catch fire - if you are not working carefully enough!

There are certain safety precautions that must be put in place before carrying out a burn test. First, you need to make sure you’re working in an area that is well ventilated. The burning fabric should only be held with tongs or metal tweezers and there should be a fire extinguisher around, just in case.

Also, avoid using refillable lighters or matches with strong fuel smell, it is better to use a disposable lighter – the smell of the fiber is essential for identification. The fact that you need to be able to identify the smell of the fiber explains why you should not do this test when you have a cold or sinus problem. 

Step 1

You need to carefully remove several fibers from the mystery fabric from a place where it won’t be noticed. Wind the fibers tightly around one end of a metal wire that can’t burn.

Step 2

Fill your glass bowl with some water.

Step 3

Light your match

Step 4

Hold fabric over bowl and touch with the lit match. An original wool fabric will immediately catch fire and maintain a steady burn, though it might be difficult to keep it burning. Burnt wool fabrics have the smell of burning hair.

Textile Fibers Burning Test by: chemixish

Animal fibers – wool, cashmere, merino, and silk – all smell like burning feathers, with a sharp hint of burning sulfur. They also form a tiny firm black ball of ash but you can crush it between your fingers when it has cooled down!

Oil-based fibers burn with a smoky black flame, they form a tiny sticky black ball that’s at about 400° F and can cause deep skin burns. When it’s cold you can’t crush it!

The burning test is a rapid method for identifying fibrous materials and other materials, also plastics. It is used to distinguish between the major types of raw materials and between the various synthetic fibers. It is not very suitable for textile of different fibrous materials. For this purpose, the different fibers would have to be separated from the composite and tested individually.

The following table gives a brief overview of characteristic features of burning natural fabrics and synthetic fibers:

Natural Fiber / SyntheticFlameSmellFlammabilityFiring Residue

Cotton
bright flamesimilar to burnt paperburns very quickly, afterglows, glow can be reignited by careful blowing
whitish, light, finely spreadable ash

Wool
only small yellowish white flame, burns down quicklyafter burnt hairextremely fast, especially with loose fine fibers, the flame extinguishes easilycharcoal-like friable, easily pulverized ash residue

Silk
Like WoolLike WoolLike WoolLike Wool

Polyethylene
bluish glowing insidelike candle waxQuickly Flammablepractically no residues, melts - slight traces of soot

Polyamide
blue flame with yellowish edge, not sootinglike fingernailsmelting, then burning, foaming and creating brown-black edgesglassy, yellow to dark stringy fused pearl

Polyester
indefinitemelting, then burningvery hard melting pearl

The Bleach Test - Recognize Wool Counterfeits

Step 1

You need to carefully remove several fibers from the mystery fabricfrom a place where it won’t be noticed. 

Step 2

Place the cut out piece in a small bowl and cover it with bleach.

Step 3

Keep the bowl in a ventilated room for 8 hours.

Step 4

Check the cut out fabric. Real wool will dissolve substantially or disintegrate completely.

identify-real-wool
Identify Real Wool

Thank you for reading about – How to identify Real Wool!

If you have something to contrinute about wool counterfeits? We are very much interested in reading from you – leave us a comment

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Categories: Wool

Kayla Kinsella

Kayla Kinsella is a freelance writer with a penchant for trying new things. She has a passion for words, which is reflected in her ability to transform even the most mundane of topics into a literary work of art. When she’s not working, you can find her traveling, listening to music, or checking out the latest sustainable fashion trends! Her preferred fabrics are merino wool and mohair from South Africa.

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