Chlorine-free Wool

In order to reduce wool shrinking and felting, the scale structure of the fiber needs to be modified. This is traditionally achieved through scouring with chlorine or chlorine derivatives (e.g. sodium hypochlorite), and followed by the application of a polymer resin on the fiber. The chlorination process ensures that the polymer applied afterwards can spread evenly along the fiber surface while the resin prevents the scale edge and adjacent fibers from interacting and causing felting during washing.1 This process involves five major steps as follows: Chlorination > neutralization > rinse > resin application > softener application > drying2 The chlorine bath is usually about 6 percent by volume and generally mills work within a closed loop system. The process uses a large amount of water, chlorine or chlorine derivative which are powerful and potentially toxic substances and results in waste water loaded with organic halogen compounds (AOX).3

1- http://www.wool.com/Topmaking_Fibre-Modification_Treatment-Methods.htm

2- http://www.amtexyarns.com/superwash.htm

3- http://www.patagonia.com/eu/enGB/patagonia.go?assetid=9021