Is Yak Wool Itchy? The Surprising Truth About This Natural Material

If you’ve seen yak wool, you may have wondered if it’s itchy. After all, the fiber is so thick and coarse!

So, is yak wool itchy? No! But the truth is, yak wool isn’t itchy at all. In fact, it’s a very soft and comfortable fabric that many people are starting to use in their everyday lives.

yak in the snow
Yak in the middle of the snow. Credit: canva

It has many benefits over other natural materials like sheep’s wool, and in this blog post, we will discuss some of them. Stay tuned to learn more about this unique fiber!

About Yak Wool

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Credit: canva

Yak wool is a type of down hair that grows on the undercoats of yaks, large mammals native to Central Asia.

These shaggy-haired animals are native to the Himalayan mountains and are well-adapted to cold climates.

Their thick fur coats keep them warm in even the harshest conditions. And as it turns out, this fur makes for some amazing wool.

It’s incredibly soft and lightweight, which makes it ideal for spinning into yarn. It is known for being extremely soft and comfortable, making it a great choice for people with sensitive skin.

Is Yak Wool Itchy?

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Primitive Nepalese spindle for spinning of yak wool. Credit: canva

The answer, surprisingly, is no! It is actually much less likely to irritate other types of wool. In fact, it’s one of the softest and most comfortable types of wool available.

Why? Here are the reasons:


One of the most important factors affecting how wool feels is fiber fineness. And the fibers are much finer than other types of wool.

Cashmere is widely considered the softest wool due to its fiber diameter of fewer than 18.5 microns. The yak down fiber also has a diameter that falls between 16-20 microns, making it just as soft as cashmere.

As a result, the fabrics are much less likely to cause irritation or discomfort.


Another reason why some people find wool itchy is the allergic reaction to the lanolin in the wool fibers.

Lanolin is a fiber protectant that wool-bearing animals naturally and evolutionarily produce.

However, unlike most wool, the yak’s coat does not contain lanolin. Therefore, it is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.


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Colorful yak wool scarves at Kathmandu street market. Credit: canva

Besides the above benefits, there are still many others, such as:

Temperature Regulating

Yak wool regulates the body temperature the same way as it does on the yak.

As the body temperature rises, the wool can transfer heat and moisture along every fiber and release it into the cooler, drier environment. When the temperature drops, it keeps the heat in. 

Highly Breathable

The yak wool fiber is full of tiny air pockets, making it an excellent insulator. At the same time, these pockets allow body heat and moisture to escape, making them a very breathable fabric.

This means you won’t get as sweaty when wearing yak wool, making it ideal for people who live in warm climates or tend to get overheated easily.

Extremely Warm

Even though it’s lightweight, yak wool does an amazing job of trapping heat, making it ideal for cold-weather garments.

So if you’re looking for a natural material that will keep you warm without being bulky, yak wool is definitely worth considering.


Finally, yak wool is also quite durable. It’s resistant to tearing and stretching, so it holds up well to wear and tear.

This makes yak Wool garments perfect for active people or anyone who wants their clothing to last.

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Yak wool rugs. Credit: canva

The Uses

Now that we’ve discussed the many benefits let’s discuss some ways it can be used.

Yak wool can be used for all sorts of things, including:

  • Clothing: Yak wool makes for great shirts, sweaters, pants, and other articles of clothing.
  • Blankets: Yak wool makes for an incredibly warm and cozy blanket.
  • Sleeping Bags: Yak wool’s temperature-regulating and breathable properties make it ideal for use in sleeping bags.
  • Rugs: Yak wool rugs are beautiful, durable, and add a touch of luxury to any home.

Related Topics

Is Cashmere Warmer than Wool?

Yes. It is said that cashmere is warmer than wool because the individual fibers of cashmere are thinner and more crimped than the fibers of wool.

This allows more air to circulate between the fibers, making them a better insulator.

What Happens if You Wash Wool in the Washing Machine?

It’s generally not recommended to wash wool in the washing machine.

The agitation can cause the fabric to become felted or matted together, and restoring the garment to its original state can be difficult.

Why Did My Wool Sweater Shrink in Cold Water?

Wool is a protein fiber; like all proteins, it will shrink when exposed to hot water.

This is why it’s important to always read the care label before washing your wool sweater. If the care label says to wash in cold water, that’s what you should do.

What is the Most Expensive Wool?

The most expensive wool is vicuña wool. Vicuña is a llama relative living in South America’s high Andes Mountains.

The animals are protected by law, so the fiber can only be collected from animals that have died of natural causes.

Is There a Way to Make Wool Less Itchy?

There are a few ways to make wool less itchy.

  • You can treat the wool with a substance that will soften it, like lanolin.
  • Add a synthetic fiber like polyester to the wool blend, which makes it less prone to itching.

What is a Male Yak Called?

A yak is a castrated male yak. A boa is a term for an intact male (bull), whereas a dri is the name for a female (cow). The white color in some domestic yaks does not exist in nature; most are brown or black.

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