I'm thinking of buying some wool socks. I hear they'll help keep my feet cool and dry by absorbing sweat while I bike. That's fine: sweat normally doesn't smell right away.

I don't own any wool socks yet. Out of all the garments I like to wear, only one is made of wool. I wash it by hand. Every time I do, I notice an unpleasant wet-wool smell. This smell begins right away.

When wool socks get wet, do they get the same wet-wool smell?


Most wool socks probably won't. Here's why. It sounds from my online research like the smell comes from wet lanolin. And Garth & Kim Travis write:

Not all wool sheep are high in lanolin; some, like, Gulf Coast have very low lanolin levels. So it would depend on the breed of sheep. Also, most spinning today is done with washed wools — very well-washed wools. The lanolin is removed before spinning.

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