Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Biopolished Wool vs. Superwash Wool

I wrote to the lady quoted in the article I linked to below about the new biopolishing process for wool. Commenter Miriam had asked why we needed this process if we already had Superwash. I thought that was a good question, so I asked her that. She responded that Superwash is a "chlorination" type process which is not legal in the U.S. That is why Superwash wool is so expensive-- it's all imported from countries with less stringent environmental regulations. The biopolishing process uses less harsh chemicals, lower temperatures, and shorter processing times, so it is a more environmentally friendly process, as well as being easier and cheaper.

She also said that the wool still won't dye with Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes; it would still require a wool dye (e.g. acid dye) to color biopolished wool. However, she did mention that the dyeing temperature would be lower (for acid dyes it's at least 180 degrees) and the dyeing time shorter, which makes me wonder if biopolished wool would be able to be dyed using adapted low-water immersion techniques that would produce results similar to those I'm getting on cotton with Procion MX.

This biopolishing process sounds really cool. Wool is a great fiber and it's about time that a new technological advance brought it back. I feel my tax dollars have been well spent in developing it. I'm eager to get my hands on some and work with it!