How To Tell The Difference Between Cashmere And Wool?

Before you are making the decision for a high-quality cashmere or wool blanket, it is always good to understand the difference between these two.

The Source

Most regular wool products are made from the outer hair of sheep, lamb, llama, or similar animals. The fibers are collected during the annual shearing of the animals and then processed.

Unlike wool, cashmere comes from the very fine and soft undercoat of cashmere goats, originally found in the area of Kashmir, where cashmere goats got their name from, Cashmere goats live across the Himalayas region and Inner Mongolia. In the process of adapting to extreme seasons, the outer layer of cashmere goat resists wind, rain, sun and sand, and the soft and warm undercoat of fluff is a hidden gem called cashmere.

Cashmere vs wool

China is the world's largest supplier of cashmere, in which Inner Mongolia accounts for 70% of the world's cashmere production.

Fiber Collecting Method

Collecting wool is like giving sheep a haircut. The process is called "shearing", that the woolen fleece of a sheep is cut off with a blade or machine shear. Shearing is usually done in the spring, so sheep don't get overheated in the summer. Most sheep breeds need to be sheared at least once a year, although some breeds have wool that grows faster and need shearing twice a year.

Cashmere is collected in spring when goats naturally shed their hair grown during the previous winter. he undercoat of cashmere is carefully collected using a "combing" method when herders use a special metal comb to brush and remove the undercoat fluff little by little. In the northern hemisphere, the goat's depilation season begins approximately in March and runs until May at the latest. On average, each goat can harvest 150 grams of cashmere a year.

Combing vs shearing

Warmth & Softness - Fiber Micron

It is said that cashmere is about 7-8 times warmer than regular sheep's wool.

Unlike sheep wool fiber which is solid in the middle, cashmere fiber is hollow, and much finer than that of wool, generally between 13um-19um. The surface of the cashmere fiber is smoother, so it is lighter, softer and more resilient. In fact, cashmere fiber is the thinnest and has the smallest scale, which makes it the softest fiber amount wool, alpaca and other natural animal fiber except for silk.

cashmere fiber

Hygroscopicity & Temperature Regulating

Cashmere fiber is more hygroscopic than wool. It can absorb and release moisture according to the environment and adjust body temperature to a comfortable level. Compared to wool, cashmere has a much higher moisture regain rate, at about 15%.



Pilling is inevitable for almost all knitted products from all-natural fibers. The softer the fiber is, the easier it may pill, that is to say, cashmere is more likely to pill than wool. However, pilling usually happens more often when the product is new. All you need to do is to gently remove the pilling with a cashmere comb and with a little care, cashmere lasts for a lifetime and it gets softer and smoother throughout time.

Here is a quick summary of the difference between wool and cashmere.

Source Outer layer of sheep collected by "shearing" Undercoat of cashmere goat collected by "combing"
Warmth wool is very warm 7-8 times warmer than wool
Authenticity "100% wool" label Must say "cashmere" or "pure cashmere"
Fiber Coarser, not hollow in the middle Very fine and thin, hollow in the middle
Pilling Pilling exists Pilling happens more often when it's new, getting smoother through usage
Gentle to Skin Coarser fiber may cause irritation to sensitive skin

Finer and softer, gentle to sensitive skin


Price Expensive but not as much as cashmere Very expensive but worth the cost

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published