When wool is boiled, thousands of tiny air bubbles are trapped in the material. They form an entirely natural barrier against hot and cold temperatures, producing a unique, natural feeling of snugness underneath boiled wool clothing. At the same time, her skin can breathe freely - comfort that not even the cleverest synthetic fibre can recreate.
Fulling means woollen fabric can combine the advantages of purely natural fibres with the temperature and humidity standards expected from modern clothing.
The trapped air bubbles act like an air barrier, keeping the temperature under a boiled wool garment almost constant even in cool weather. In rain, or even in snow, boiled wool is an excellent weather barrier as water drops simply run off the surface of the felted wool. Pure wool can also absorb almost half its own weight of moisture without feeling damp. Fulled materials are especially hard-wearing as the felting process considerably increases the wool's natural stretchiness and wear resistance. At the same time, the boiled wool remains soft, clingy and comfortable, as, unlike felt or loden cloth, boiled wool can be stretched in all directions.
As a purely natural product, boiled wool should only be cleaned very gently. The natural wax in wool, lanolin, envelops every single wool fibre, protecting them against dirt and harsh environments. This natural protection is what makes all woollen products so easy to care for.
If a boiled wool article has just got slightly dirty, it is fine to simply shake or brush it out very carefully. To get rid of unwanted smells in boiled wool garments, leave them overnight in the fresh air or in the bathroom when you take a shower. The air humidity will help make annoying smells vanish and smooth out wrinkles - thanks to the high elasticity and "self-cleaning" effect of pure wool.
If a boiled wool item does need washing, then woollen garments should always be cleaned in a hand wash or in a cold wool wash in the washing machine. When doing so, it is best to turn the woollen garment inside out and use a mild wool washing agent such as our Disana wool shampoo.
When washing woollen garments, do not wring, squeeze or rub them. Simply press them out gently and only leave them in the water for a short time. To dry them, spread the boiled wool items out flat on a terry towel and dry flat. Never dry woollen garments in a tumble dryer.
Today, large specialist machines similar to washing machines are used to produce boiled wool fabrics. Water, heat and friction break up the wool fibres' scaly structure. The adjoining fibres in the material get caught up and pulled together. The wool is felted and the material shrinks to almost half its size in both directions. During this process, countless tiny bubbles are trapped inside the material. Heat and moisture is applied repeatedly to the material, hung on tenter frames, until it is smooth, even and dry. Once the boiled wool has been treated in this way, it no longer shrinks when wet. Once finished, our disana boiled wool is ready to be made into clothes.
Back in the times of the pharaohs, the Egyptians discovered that wool could be made compact by stamping it in large containers of water and dung. The importance of this art is demonstrated by the fact it had its own hieroglyph: a pair of men's feet standing in a liquid.
Boiling wool was also known north of the Alps, where materials were pounded using the feet or mortars in pots of warm water, adding peat or fuller's earth, made of volcanic rock.
In the late Middle Ages, boiling wool was usually carried out using water-powered mills. Turned by the waterwheel, vertidisanacally mounted fulling stocks hammered the material for hours in a fulling tub. The resulting material had shrunk in both directions by up to 50 percent.
The inventors of the boiled wool used in traditional German and Swiss clothing probably came from the Alps. They discovered that woollen clothes which had shrunk in the wash provided better protection against the wind and rain than before. They used the fulling technique to make knitted and woven clothes tougher and more weather-resistant.