Why does wool smell?

Most of us have a jumper, a scarf or a pair of socks in our possession that brings up a whole host of memories. Good or bad, an item of clothing has awakened long-forgotten moments in all of us. More than just another part of our wardrobe, something made of wool can often provoke a visceral reaction. Why is this?

Why does wool smell?

The smell of wool has a lot to do with it. High-quality wool products can smell of lanolin, which is naturally secreted by sheep. This is what makes their coats waterproof, and this often results in wool smelling more strongly when wet. Many wool products are made with wool that’s been heavily processed or ‘superwashed’ which can mask the smell, however Glencroft uses 100% British Wool which is never processed quite as much and retains a distinct aroma.

How do people react to wool smells?

Some people love the smell of wool because it is associated with positive memories, such as walking outdoors in the beautiful British countryside. Some associate it with visiting lambs at a farm as children, remembering how they cherished that special moment in their lives. Either way, many people are astounded at how they automatically associate wool with that warm, natural smell that feels like coming home.

However, some people have wildly different sensory reactions to wool. They find that wool smells unpleasantly of a farmyard – perhaps they haven’t had such positive times in the countryside! And to others, it might even serve as an unpleasant reminder of sheep’s dung, possibly because this is one of the few interactions they have ever had with such a natural scent.

We captured various reactions to the smell of wool in our video, below:

A natural scent

A lot of how people react to the smell of wool has to do with their early interactions with nature. If you were born and raised in a city, you may not feel as comfortable and familiar with the odours found in the great British countryside.

Wool lovers unite

If you love the smell of wool, it can bring back so many wonderful memories. Doesn’t that just make you want to find the old scarf your grandma made at the back of your wardrobe? There are so many gorgeous wool products just waiting for you to wear. Why not experience some cosy nostalgia of your own?


Why does wool smell?