Merino wool itch.

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Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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I have bought several merino under layers, but never been able to wear them for more than a few minutes. They itch like mad!
I do have sensitive skin, and have rarely been able to wear any woollen item next to my skin. Even a woolen jumper has to have a long sleeved shirt, and another cotton shirt over that to be able to wear a woolen jumper. Unless it's a v neck, I also have to wear a scarf around my neck or it irritates my chin.
So does anyone have a solution to this princess and the pea situation?
I have washed my vests several times as advised to soften the fibres, and used fabric conditioner all to no avail.
Is there an alternative apart from synthetic.?
How can I make my investment wearable?
Am I doomed to wearing synthetic thermals?
 
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Woody girl

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Perhaps try a different fiber, like silk, bamboo or hemp. Some better for colder climates than the others.

I've tried bamboo t shirts, but I find them sweaty under the armpits. Not nice! Dont want that with thermals! Never come across hemp thermals. Are they any good?
Silk is the obvious solution, but the price is a bit steep for me.
I bought my merino thermals from aldi, so they were relatively cheap for merino clothing.
I'd realy like to be able to use the merino, but it's like wearing thousands of angry bees! :(
 
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zornt

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Apr 6, 2014
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I am allergic to wool. Besides making me itch like crazy it makes me stink like a wet goat.
I have never found any solution to this problem.
Watching this to see if I can find a solution.
Jon
 

Woody girl

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I've been researching silk thermals and found a company called lands end, that have a half price black Friday sale. For a ladies vest , normally £50 they are down to £25. Will give them a ring tomorrow and try and order a long sleeve vest. They do mens silk thermals too. Haven't looked at the price, but perhaps worth a punt zornt?
 
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Paulm

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May 27, 2008
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Not all merino is equal !

Cheaper stuff uses the coarser fibres from the animal, sometimes mixed with other stuff, while better quality ones use finer, softer fibres from the animals.

I've tried aldi and some other cheap stuff and itched like crazy, but not had any problems at all with Icebreaker and Woolpower brands, which is a shame as they're way more expensive unfortunately !

Some folk swear by aldi and similar brands though so I guess some are more sensitive than others maybe?
 

Woody girl

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A cami or slip underneath makes them lovely.
I think I last wore a slip in about 1964!
Never worn a cammi. Just doesn't go with my image! :)
Silk underwear? Well, dont tell anyone eh? :)
I'm prepared to give it a go though. I need thermals, and I just can't wear the suit of a million angry bees!
I put the merino vest on for a total of just under 3 minutes this morning after its last wash, and I'm still itching!!!
 
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Mar 6, 2020
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I think I last wore a slip in about 1964!
Never worn a cammi. Just doesn't go with my image! :)
Silk underwear? Well, dont tell anyone eh? :)
I'm prepared to give it a go though. I need thermals, and I just can't wear the suit of a million angry bees!
M&S, they are great and no one knows, except maybe the other half, and that can only be appreciated.

But seriously, I wear them most days on the ice, and it is cold there (with marino, then a hoody for training)
 
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SaraR

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I've tried bamboo t shirts, but I find them sweaty under the armpits. Not nice! Dont want that with thermals! Never come across hemp thermals. Are they any good?
Silk is the obvious solution, but the price is a bit steep for me.
I bought my merino thermals from aldi, so they were relatively cheap for merino clothing.
I'd realy like to be able to use the merino, but it's like wearing thousands of angry bees! :(
I’ve not really tried anything other than wool, synthetic and cotton thermals, but have seen some around. Silk is the obvious choice as cool in summer, warm in winter, but as you say, very expensive. Although considering how much used I’ve had out of my merino thermals, I guess it’s not that expensive when spread out over the years.

If you’re not going to do very high-intensity activities, have you tried wearing the merino top you bought over a normal top that you have? Worn over a tight-fitting cotton top it would add warmth even if it’s not the normal way to wear them.
 

lostplanet

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I had a Swanndri ranger for a little while and hated it. no matter what i did it was uncomfortable. pretty sure someone on here said try your wife's expensive hair conditioner and hand wash a few times. it had gone by then.

I reckon the merino in the cheaper garments isn't as good as the more expensive stuff as mentioned woolpower and ice breaker. I had a craghoppers merino top and that was a lot harsher than WP, i've also got a keela top which again isnt as soft.
i've got a couple of woolpower tops and trousers, they are my go to for mid layer.

If you want I will send you my Woolpower 400 zip front to test, as long as I get it back ;).
I would be really interested to see if it still itches as it is an expensive item.
 
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Herman30

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Aug 30, 2015
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I have bought several merino under layers, but never been able to wear them for more than a few minutes. They itch like mad!
Have you tried Varustelekas? To me they are silky smooth. No itching at all. I have all sorts of their merino undergarments, from socks to balaclava and everything in between.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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If you can't wear wool, you can't wear wool. I bruise like a peach and my skin flares up with any irritation, yet I can wear silk and good merino. I line the neck of my wool 'bushshirt' type garments with linen though.
I like linen, or the modern bamboo, under my woollens.

I'm with Allison on this, a slip or a camisole underneath makes a tremendous difference to the warmth of my layering.
I like Patra, but M&S do make decent slips for under frocks and skirts.

There is one other thing you might try with your Aldi thermals. Wool is just hair, if you wash it with something suitable, and then use hair conditioner instead of fabric conditioner, it's supposed to help soften it. I think you need to look for one for dry hair.

Best of luck with it, and this is the link to Patra :)

 

Herman30

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I wash my merino undergarments with detergent specially intended for wool and fabric softener that is made for wool and contains lanolin. And in cold water 30 degrees C.
 
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Toddy

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Shampoo works just as well, and if you use basic supermarket stuff, it costs a fraction of the price.
Lanolin is good stuff, but it's just the grease from sheep's wool....and it has a miasma about it at times.
Hair conditioner works well on wool, is softer, it's not just oiling it, it actually smooths the strands, and it doesn't have that miasma of greasy sheep about it.

I do use lanolin, but not for my inner garments.

M

p.s. @Herman30 , I'm sorry, having just read that it sounds like a dig at you, and it wasn't intended that way. I have a really good sense of smell and I notice lanolin smell on things.
 
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TLM

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Discussions here has me rereading things on a lot of substances, like lanolin this time. It seems to be more of a wax than fat and actually is a cocktail of various types of chemicals. The smell is mostly not from lanolin but from other sheep impurities like sweat. It might be a fair water repellent on other than wool clothing too, not in warm conditions though.
 
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Toddy

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Discussions here has me rereading things on a lot of substances, like lanolin this time. It seems to be more of a wax than fat and actually is a cocktail of various types of chemicals. The smell is mostly not from lanolin but from other sheep impurities like sweat. It might be a fair water repellent on other than wool clothing too, not in warm conditions though.

I have pure lanolin, it's intended for cosmetic use, and even this has a distinctive smell.
Sheep produce a flaky substance called suint. This is the natural cleaning agent of the wool. It helps clean off when the sheep gets wet.
 
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