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Merino Wool vs. Cashmere Wool: Differences & Similarities You May Not Know

Merino wool vs. Cashmere

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The fast advance of technology has allowed many manufacturers to produce pieces of clothing that come in many different colors, shapes and styles. Many of them also use completely new synthetic materials.

However, the truth is that natural materials have remained very popular and cashmere and merino are certainly among these popular materials.

Cashmere wool and merino wool are fabrics with similar properties used in many products. But despite their similar appearance, cashmere wool and merino wool are different.

Let’s highlight differences and similarities of cashmere and merino.

Origin

To start with, one of the biggest dissimilarity between these two specific types of wool is their origin.

Cashmere wool comes from goats. But when we say goats we don’t mean any goat, but the Kashmir (Cashmere) goat.


Related Reading: Cashmere vs. Alpaca: What’s Your Winter Choice?


Several countries in Asia are natural habitats of this type of goat and some of them include China, India, Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Pashmina Goat. Image source: Wikipedia
Pashmina Goat. Image source: Wikipedia

On the other hand, merino wool comes from sheep or merino sheep to be more precise.

Although this sheep originates from Portugal and Spain, it is now most common in Australia and New Zealand.

The sheep was first recorded in the 12th century and thanks to their adaptability, they spread all over the world. They are known for their resistance to cold weather.

So, even though sheep and goats look similar to someone who never encountered such animal before (I doubt it), they are very different and the quality and appearance of the wool that comes from these animals is different.

What both types of wool have in common is their popularity since this is the finest and softest fabric that can be obtained these days.

Merino Sheep
Merino Sheep

Furthermore, it is also good to know that there is a huge range of variation when it comes to yielding.

According to some stats, one goat can give about four ounces of cashmere wool a year.

Some people may think that this is a relatively huge amount, but Merino sheep creates much more wool.

As a matter of fact, Merino sheep must be sheared at least once a year to prevent certain problems. The wool coat of these sheep is growing all the time, and in case it is not sheared regularly, they can experience problems with feeding and movement.

Taking Care for Cashmere and Merino

We all know that we should take care of the fabric that is used in our clothing. This is another difference between merino and cashmere wool.

Cashmere wool requires hand washing and it is highly recommended to avoid spot cleaning because this practice can ruin the appearance of the clothes.

Merino wool is slightly more durable and can be hand washed in both cold and warm water and it is perfectly fine to perform spot cleaning.

It is worth mentioning that there are special soaps that can be used for merino wool cleaning.

Price Differences

Price is one of the main factors that affect our shopping decisions.

When it comes to price, merino wool has a huge advantage because it is less expensive than cashmere wool.

But, as we all know price comes with quality and this is obviously a clear indicator of the quality of cashmere wool products.

Related Reading: Why is cashmere so expensive?

Because of the specific structure of cashmere wool, it is a little bit difficult to create all types of clothing from this wool.

Merino wool can be used in almost every piece of clothing including socks, gloves, hats, sweaters etc. Merino wool is also part of many exercise, fitness and sports pieces of clothing because it has features that are positive for people who are active. For instance, this wool is excellent at keeping body heat, but at the same time, you won’t experience overheating.

The only advantage when it comes to the type of clothing is the fact that cashmere wool is providing better insulation (it can keep your body warm). According to experts, cashmere can be 7-8 times warmer compared to merino wool.

Dyeing

All the fabrics and knits made from cashmere wool are lightweight and they provide extreme breathability.

You can rarely find a fabric that provides such good insulation and air flow at the same time. This is very important for people who are sweating a lot, although every wearer will benefit from this feature of cashmere wool.

Merino wool is great at dispersing moisture far away from the body. It has the ability to absorb the moisture and drying it fast.

This is the reason why many people use it when they are skiing or when they are involved in some other winter activities.

Another thing that makes merino wool different than cashmere wool is the presence of lanolin in the latter. This natural chemical is the reason why merino wool has strong antibacterial effects.

Cashmere is an extremely soft fabric with lofty fibers that come with natural crimp. The final result is lightweight yarns that won’t cause any problems with the movement or flexibility of the wearer. This specific type of wool also comes in three natural colors, something that merino wool can’t offer (the natural colors are not very attractive and most of the pieces of clothing made from merino wool are dyed).

Cashmere wool comes in three natural colors brown, gray and white. Just as we said before, cashmere, like merino wool, can be dyed in a wide range of colors. It accepts dye almost equally well as wool.

Durability

As previously mentioned, merino wool fabric is much more durable than cashmere wool. For example, it is quite easy to create clothes in different colors with merino wool (dyed wool). This wool also has the ability to absorb odor and it is not affected even by UV rays with high intensity.

But, cashmere has the ability to adjust to high humidity levels in the air and can be used in literally any climate.

While it is true that cashmere is less durable, it is also true that this material is softer, smoother and slightly more comfortable. There is something about cashmere that makes people feel more comfy and this material simply radiates luxury.

If we compare all the similarities and differences we should be able to get an answer to the popular question – why is cashmere wool is more expensive compared to merino wool?

Bottom Line

If you are in a mood of choosing something soft and durable to wear, and your only dilemma is the material used for its production, you should always remember that you can make a combination of these two natural materials because they are used in many different products. But if you seek for unique pleasure, need to try them both.

Before you make your final decision, don’t forget that there are cashmere wool and merino wool with different qualities and this is something that you need to take into consideration too, no matter if you are buying a pair of cashmere gloves or merino wool scarf.

Cashmere is our choice. What’s yours?

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10 thoughts on “Merino Wool vs. Cashmere Wool: Differences & Similarities You May Not Know

  1. Nice article Helen,
    concise and very informative, this will definitely help the end consumer to decide the right material.
    and yes the cashmere does radiates “luxury” 😀

  2. I choose cashmere as well. In terms of quality, differences between merino and cashmere are huge…of course on the side of cashmere.
    Great reading btw.

    Cheers, Yana!

  3. thanks . I had idea that merino was best but after reading this I decided to opt for cashmere

    1. I respect you choice Priya. Merino wool is exceptionally soft and warm while cashmere is love at first sight. And it speaks luxury 🙂

  4. The thing is, marino wool is far more long lasting and actually provides warmth for the wearer, while cas is only 1/2 of that. if you’re going to opt for cas just be ready for it to not last as long.
    it also comes down to where you purchase your wool items from. and depending on that the chances are you won’t even be able to tell the difference by the feel.
    I own both and I always opt for marino during winter because a) it’s warmer 2) lasts longer 3)holds colour better once washed.

  5. Cashmere is actually cheaper from some perspective, such as buying scarfs or socks, since it’s common in China which sells them cheap. Merino wool is more common in the U.S. however and therefore easier to find. I’ve actually always thought Merino wool to be more of a luxury since it looks and feels like cotton yet it insulates so well, whereas cashmere has that pilling and fluffy look like it’s going to fall apart very easily. After reading this I guess I’m comfortable at buying cashmere socks and I can get them very cheap from China. I don’t know about the quality but we’ll see.

  6. This content is really interesting. I have bookmarked it.
    Do you allow guest post on your blog ? I can provide hi quality articles for you.
    Let me know.

  7. Very Easy to understand explanation. Thank you very much.

    1. Glad that you like my comparison article Aamir. Happy Holidays!

  8. I think merino wool is better for me. It is my opinion. Perhaps I am wrong but if I have to choose, I will choose merino not cashmere.

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