We get a few queries a month from people who have access to their own sheep wool supply – the question they tend to ask is whether they can use their own sheep wool for insulation in their home?
The answer in theory is yes – after all, we sell 100% pure sheep wool insulation with no additives. The issue however is that untreated wool becomes a breeding ground for moths, who unfortunately find the stuff rather tasty!
Once moths are present, it is almost impossible to get rid of them. Even if the insulation material is removed, they can move on to clothes, carpet and so forth. The eradication of the moths can cost £1000s and unfortunately most insurance companies will not cover it.
Treatment of sheep wool prior to install is absolutely imperative to prevent this happening; so yes, while you could install your own locally sourced sheep wool, we really wouldn’t recommend it.
Prior to installing sheep wool insulation, it should be scoured. This cleans the sheep wool and removes the lanolin – which is the oil found on the sheep wool fibres. The next step is to treat the sheep wool to prevent moths eating it.
How is sheep wool insulation treated?
There are broadly two ranges of sheep wool treatment – the first kills the moths when they start eating the wool. The common chemicals used to treat the sheep wool include Borax and Thorax IW. They are both insecticides that kill the moths if they start eating the wool.
The second, and the treatment that we now use, actually alters the wool fibres and means that moths simply don’t feed on the wool. The treatment we use is called plasma ionic treatment – basically we alter the surface of the sheep wool which makes it inedible for the moths. This treatment is revolutionary in the sheep wool industry because the sheep wool after treatment is 100% safe. It even carries the prestigious nature plus certificate.
So yes – you could use your own sheep wool to insulate your home, but we would recommend getting ours instead. It is still 100% natural and sustainable, but just means your home won’t be overrun with moths!