Modern high performance sheepskin combines the exothermic properties of wool with the hydroscopic quality of each individual wool fiber. The resultant fabric is as strong as leather, can absorb upto 30% of its own weight in water and can be washed and dried like a quality pair of jeans.
Man made fabrics can’t absorb water like sheepskin. This is because sheepskin’s absorbency doesn’t depend on surface tension (the physical property that makes water ‘creep’ up the sides of a jar). Instead, sheepskin ‘holds’ moisture within the air trapped between its wavy strands. Tight curly hairs inhibit air movement to such an extent that the space between them works in our favour, locking moisture comfortably away and producing heat as it does so.
Sheepskins produce heat as they absorb water
“Wool is a hygroscopic fibre. As the humidity of the surrounding air rises and falls, the fibre absorbs and releases water vapour. Heat is generated and retained during the absorption phase, which makes wool a natural insulator. Used in the home, wool insulation helps to reduce energy costs and prevents the loss of energy to the external environment, thus reducing carbon emissions.” –Campaign for Wool
Sheepskins are naturally anti-bacterial, and will work surprisingly well as picnic rugs, particularly suited to nestling bowls and glasses away from the British weather. They also work well as baby changing mats and medical cushions – the moisture handling comes into its own on long journeys or when confined to a bed. Shake them out and they are ready for more.
Plastic isn’t fantastic
You can spend as long as you want snuggled up with a sheepskin. Unlike polyesthers, sheepskin releases zero endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Fight fire with fur
Wool is flame retardant, see for yourself in this short video.
No only are man made fibers derived from oil, but they also lack the heat and moisture handling properties of natural sheepskin. Sheepskin is flame retardant. Polyesthers are fuel, the difference couldn’t be more stark.
Plastic fabrics break up, rather than breaking down like organic matter. Each time a man made fabric is flexed, it sheds, and millions of tiny plastic micro-fibers end up in our air, water and food. Microfibers are found in almost every living being on earth, whereas sheepskins are 100% biodegradable. In fact, everything you buy from Dartmoor Sheepskins, including the packaging, will return harmlessly to the earth.
99.6% of sheepskins are destroyed each year after the sheep have been slaughtered. All Dartmoor Sheepskins are by-products of the meat industry, which consumes 5.5 million sheep a year but preserves just 60,000 hides. We think that’s a huge waste of material with some outstanding physical properties.