Cashmere vs Wool: What Is the Difference Between Cashmere and Wool?

Cashmere vs Wool: What Is the Difference Between Cashmere and Wool?

Nov 30 , 2021

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Eugene Loh


Cashmere...or wool...?

Aren't they the same thing?

Yes, and no. 

Yes, cashmere is a type of wool, and they are both natural fibres, but cashmere feels like a totally different fabric from wool. 

While it may seem like you have the same thing, the two materials offer very different benefits.

Here are the main differences between the two:

cashmere garments

1. Wool comes from sheep, cashmere comes from goats.

Wool comes from animals like sheep, alpaca or even camels.

Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from the undercoat of specific breeds of goats found predominantly in Mongolia, Tibet, China, Pakistan and Iran. 

Cashmere goats have a unique double coat, with coarse outer guard hair and a soft and fine undercoat. Fibres obtained from the undercoat is used to produce cashmere.

cashmere goats

2. Wool is more readily available than cashmere.

There are only approximately 110 million cashmere goats in the world. In comparison, there are over 1 billion sheep in the world. 

In fact, cashmere makes up only 0.5% of the total wool produced worldwide each year. 

The fibres used to produce cashmere can only be collected once per year in the springtime when it gets warmer. These goats naturally shed their sought-after undercoat during that time.

Stack of cashmere garments

One cashmere goat will only produce about 250 grams of wool per year, which is nowhere near as much as a sheep that can produce 3 kilos annually.

Hence, it takes at least three cashmere goats to make just one cashmere sweater!

3. Cashmere is softer than wool.

The softness of cashmere is perhaps the most sought-after characteristic of cashmere. It is what makes it feel so luxurious.

The thinner the fibres, the softer it is. Grade-A cashmere fibres, which we use at Snurfle Cashmere, are approximately 15 microns in diameter.

Comparatively, regular sheep's wool is about 30 microns, and high-grade merino is approximately 19 microns.

family of sheep

4. Cashmere is warmer than wool.

Cashmere is up to 7-8 times warmer than regular sheep's wool!

But this doesn't mean one can only use it in cold climates. This is a common misconception.

Cashmere is highly breathable, making it a great temperature regulator. It is ideal to be used all year round, even in warmer climates.

5. Cashmere is not scratchy like wool.

One of the biggest complaints about wool is that it feels scratchy and uncomfortable against the skin—no such problem with cashmere.

It is super soft and comfortable and feels great against the skin.

lady wearing cashmere clothes and reading book

6. Cashmere is hypoallergenic.

There are many people with a wool allergy who find that they can wear cashmere with no issues.

It's perfect for people with sensitive skin and allergies.

That's why we believe our cashmere sleeping bag is just so perfect for babies.

Check out our article for the complete list of the benefits of cashmere.

7. Wool is more durable than cashmere.

Cashmere may be softer and warmer than wool, but wool has more practical benefits.

Wool resists shrinkage and stretching better than cashmere does and offers more durability because of this quality.

pile of clothes in laundry basket

8. Cashmere doesn't require as much washing. 

Cashmere doesn't require as much cleaning because it absorbs moisture well and doesn't need to be washed as often because of its natural oil, which repels dirt quickly.

9. Wool is less expensive than cashmere.

Cashmere is significantly more expensive than wool.

The high price tag is due to the scarcity of this fibre, the difficulty of its collection, and the lengthy process from raw material to finished product.

However, based on the high demand for cashmere, it comes to show that its price is definitely worth it.

We've done a detailed overview of why cashmere is so expensive. Make sure to check it out!

Conclusion

Wool and cashmere are both great materials to use for clothing. However, there are many differences between the two. Cashmere is much softer and warmer than wool, while wool is more durable and resists shrinkage and stretching better than cashmere does. The choice of which material you use will depend on your preference and what you want to do with the garment. For me, cashmere trumps wool almost every time. How about you?


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