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The BEST Ways To Use Wool Around The Home And Garden

When you mention pure wool, most people think of a woolly jumper. However, wool has lots of amazing characteristics which make it useful in so many more ways than a knitted sweater!

If you looked at a pure wool fibre under the microscope, you’d see lots of tiny scales. These are used to naturally control the environment around it by reactively opening and closing; pure wool fibres absorb air and moisture to maintain temperature and humidity… a bit like a natural thermostat. The fibres also appear to be serrated which helps them to stick together and trap even more air to aid this process.

As a material pure wool is an exceptional insulator, offers wonderful impact protection, and is malleable and easy to work with.

As it grows, wool fibres sequester carbon, taking it out of the atmosphere and storing it in the same way that trees do.

Then, at the end of its life, wool then completely biodegrades in 6-12 months, in the right conditions, and can even add valuable nutrients back into the soil.

On top of this, pure sheep’s wool is one of the most abundant natural textiles in the world - so we’re on a mission to extend its life as much as possible and put it to use!

We’ve put together a list of the best uses for wool in the garden, and around the home with the help of our online #hortiwool community:

 

1. Plant Hydration

a plant growing out of the soil, with wool wrapped around its base, secured with a wooden peg

 

Did you know that pure wool can absorb up to 30% its own weight in water, without even feeling wet to touch? Its amazing water retention makes it perfect for capillary matting, lining pots and planters, digging into soil, or simply wrap the wool around your plants like @greenhouseadventure for reduced watering required!

 

2. Plant Nutrition

wool blankets lining a compost heap, with a chicken looking on from the corner

Pure wool is 100% compostable. As a natural material, it breaks down in soil within 6-12 months, adding valuable nutrients back into the ground. This makes it a perfect compost aid, to add nitrates into your soil. Layer it into your compost, like @craig.goldsmith.37, dig it into the soil around your plants or plant it around rootballs for extra nutrition.

 

3. Lining Hanging Baskets

wool lining a hanging basket with bright orange flowers flowing from the basket

Another brilliant use for wool in the garden is to line hanging baskets, like @theaccidental_gardeners. Becuase wool retains water so well, it helps to keep hanging plants hydrated and offers a more planet-friendly alternative to plastic liners, or coconut fibres which have a large carbon footprint from being transported so far across the world.

 

4. Detering Slugs & Other Pests

wool placed beneath a strawberry plant, with freshly picked strawberries placed on top

Pure wool is a fansatstic natural slug deterrent as it is able to absorb their slime, and provide a texture difficult for them to manouvre, meaning generally they tend to avoid it where possible.

By placing wool around the base of your plants, you can keep the slugs away like @squid102 as well as keep your plants hydrated, and fed as it breaks down.. all at the same time! Using Hortiwool as a horticultural fleece to cover young plants can also stop birds and other wildlife from damaging them. 

 

5. Plant Protection

small potted young plants placed onto a hortiwool felted wool pad to keep them hydrated in the hot weather, before being transplanted into the soil with wool

Other great uses for wool in the garden are similar to that of any other mulching material: pure wool can keep weeds at bay, provide protecton from frosts, and even extreme heat like we've experienced recently!

@robsallotment reused the wool from his greenhouse which made perfect capillary matting to hydrate his plants throughout the heatwave, and planted it in the ground with his young sunflower plants to feed them as they grow.

 

6. Wool Cushion Stuffing

home made wool-stuffed cushions placed across canoe seats

Whether you need a kneeling pad for your gardening activities, or cushions for your garden bench, table set, sofa, or like @lucybery, your canoe... pure wool is a great choice.

Wool fibres are natural, sustainable and hold their shape incredibly well. A wool fibre can be bent up to 20,000 times before it breaks!

 

7. Wildlife

a tortoise

Wildlife love wool. It's natural and perfectly pet-safe and similar to the many uses for wool in the garden, it's properties lend themselves well to animals.

Use pure wool to build a hedgehog home, bug hotel, insualte beehives, or leave out for birds to use as nesting. 

@brales01 uses his wool pads to lag the bottom of Fred the tortoise's hibernation bed.

 

8. Insulation

wool pad being palced up a chimney to prevent draughts

Wool is nature's best insualtor, beaten only in performance by still air. @tupsie101 used a wool pad to draught proof the chimney, but you could use it to insulate outdoor taps, sheds, or lag pipes.

We can't recommend using Hortiwool or Woolcool as house insulation as this would require it to have been treated to meet building regulations. Our wool is 100% natural and chemical free.

 

9. Draught Excluders

a black draught excluder placed in front of a door

If you want to take draught proofing one step further, why not get the sowing machine out? @haldane.sheila made this great druaght excluder stuffed with wool for one of her clients.

 

10. Blankets, Quilts & Pillows

a gloral yoga pillow positioned on a sofa, next to a fluffy cushion and in front of a coffee table that's home to a book and some yellow flowers in a vase

While some people are unfortunate enough to be allergic to wool, it is actually a naturally hypo-allergenic material!

If you find it itchy, it's likely becuase we use the coursest wool which often otherwise goes to waste, so is more likely to feel scratchy on your skin. If you want to use it to suff pillows, like @taranealarts, or quilts we recommend covering it well.

Our wool goes through a rigorous washing and scouring process, so that it’s clean before being made into Hortiwool, but if you would like to wash it first, we'd recommend handwashing as it's only loosely felted together.

 

11. Pet Beds

a dog lying down, using a wool pad as a bed

Talking of creature comforts... 

The naturally sheepy smell of pure wool attracts your pets, they love it! Turn it into a toy to play with, make a cosy pet bed or simply let them roll around on it for hours of fun! Heres @willow.out.n.about modeling it perfectly.

 

12. Upholstery

wool and various upholstery tools scattered around a newly upholstered chair

Just like stuffing cushions, wool can be used for a more permanent seat pad. @coorie.comforts used wool for their perfectly planet-friendly reupholstery project.

 

13. Works of Art

a rabbit made from needle felted wool

For the truly arty, pure wool also makes a wonderful textile from which to needle felt, paint, or use for kids arts and crafts during the school holidays. @lizrumble created this lovely needle felted rabbit!

 

The uses for wool around the garden, at home and even further afield are endless! Make sure that's you're following us on social media, and keep an eye on #Hortiwool to see how our online community use theirs!

If you'd like to trying using wool in the garden, our Hortiwool Muilti-Use Garden Pads can be bought here.