Is Mohair Itchy? How to Choose the Right Yarn

Deciding what yarn to use for your next project can be a tough decision, especially for a big project like a sweater. If you want to work with Mohair you probably want to know if Mohair is itchy.

Some people find mohair itchy and others do not. Mohair can be itchy if you have sensitive skin and you find the fibers prickly. If you are allergic to mohair you could have skin irritation as well as sneezing and itchy eyes.

In this post, I’ll walk you through why mohair is itchy, how to determine if mohair will irritate your skin and some ways you can try to soften an itchy mohair sweater. Let’s go!

Table of Contents

What is Mohair?

wool vs mohair

Mohair is a natural fiber that comes from the hair of the Angora goat (Ankara goat). Before we move on, we need to mention the Angora rabbit. Angora rabbits produce Angora wool. Mohair and Angora are two different types of fiber produced by two very different animals.

So, to clarify, Angora goats make Mohair wool, and Angora rabbits make Angora wool. Now, let’s jump back into talking about Mohair.

Mohair fibers usually have a 6-inch staple length (the length of the individual fiber) and a micron count of 24-45 microns (the width of the individual fiber). This means the mohair is a very soft fiber.

The fiber will get thicker or thinner according to the age of the animal, younger goats will have thin fibers while older goats will have coarse fibers.

A unique characteristic of mohair fibers has to do with the scales on the fibers. On mohair fibers, the scales of the fiber are not fully developed which gives it a silk-like texture.

Other natural fibers like wool and alpaca have scales on them, which causes felting and shrinking when washed. Because mohair has extremely small scales and fewer scales, it is resistant to felting and shrinking.

However, the smooth fibers of mohair also have some drawbacks.

If you try to spin mohair fiber into mohair yarn, it will be extremely slippery and hard to handle. Because of this, mohair spinning fiber is almost always blended with other fibers like sheep wool or synthetic fibers.

Also, because mohair is straight, it won’t stick to the other fibers around it and can poke out and irritate the skin. This also causes mohair yarns to shed fibers like crazy, leaving a fluffy mess everywhere.

Is Mohair Itchy?

is mohair itchy

Now to discuss the question you came here for: is mohair itchy?

Mohair can be itchy, but it largely depends on personal preference. Some people will find mohair itchy and intolerable and others will not.

A big factor in determining if you find mohair itchy is if you are allergic to it. As I’ve already mentioned, mohair fibers are very fine and can slip out of yarn easily, this means they can start floating around in the air and you can breathe them in.

Common symptoms of a mohair allergy are sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes. If you have this reaction to mohair, then it’s best to avoid it.

Another itch factor is about your skin. Many people just find mohair prickly. If you have sensitive skin, this prickliness can make wearing mohair unbearable.

If you have a mohair sweater that bothers your skin, you could try wearing another layer underneath it and see if that helps.

Don’t get discouraged about mohair, even if you’re allergic or you find it itchy, there are lots of other natural fibers out there that may not bother you.

If you’ve never worked with or worn mohair before, the best way to find out if it’s itchy to you is to try it.

But, I don’t want you to go all or nothing and buy a mohair suit to wear, that could be a recipe for disaster. To help you figure out if you find your mohair itchy, here are some ways to test out your mohair before you buy a ton of mohair yarn or an expensive mohair sweater.

How to Test Your Mohair

how to tell if mohair is itchy

If you have sensitive skin or allergies and are worried about mohair being itchy, you’ve come to the right place.

When you’re debating on a mohair in the yarn store, take the skein of yarn and wrap it around your wrist or hold it against your neck and keep it there while you keep looking around the store.

The skin on your wrists and neck are more sensitive than your hands or arms so if the mohair yarn doesn’t irritate these places after a few minutes, then you’re probably okay.

If you’re in a store debating about mohair clothing, you can do a similar thing, just hold it against the sensitive skin of your wrist or neck for a while. Alternatively, if there’s a dressing room, just wear it in the dressing room to test it.

These are all fine and good, but what if you’re buying these things online? That’s where it gets hard.

Before you go and buy an entire sweater quantity of yarn, I would recommend first buying a single skein of the yarn you’re thinking of using.

Then, use this single skein to make a test swatch and make a little yarn bracelet. The yarn bracelet can just be a few strands of the yarn twisted together and tied in a loop.

Making the test swatch will determine if you can tolerate working with the mohair, the little yarn bracelet is so you can wear it around your wrist to see if it irritates your skin.

If you do both of these and you aren’t irritated in the slightest, then you’re good to go with your mohair project. But, if you get any kind of irritation then it’s probably better to leave mohair alone and try a different yarn for your project.

Now, if you’re bound and determined to have a mohair sweater and it’s just itchy and doesn’t give you a rash or any other symptoms, then you could try a few things to decrease the itch factor.

How Do You Soften an Itchy Sweater

how to soften wool without fabric softener

1. Wear Another Layer

This one isn’t really something you do to the sweater itself but something you can do to keep the itch off your skin.

If you have some mohair knitwear like a sweater or an external layer, try wearing a thin, light weight layer under the sweater.

This extra layer can help stop the prickly fibers from irritating your skin. But, if that doesn’t do it for you or the item is something like a hat or gloves that you can’t wear something under, then you can try these other things instead.

2. Wash With Hair or Wool Conditioner

You could try to wash your mohair sweater with a hair conditioner or a wool/mohair conditioner. This could help tame the fibers down which could help prevent the itch.

To do this, fill a tub or sink with cold water and add some of the conditioner. Let the garment soak in the conditioner for at least an hour.

Then, remove the garment and squeeze out the excess water. Refill the tub with plain water and let the garment soak to rinse it.

Squeeze out the water again and then lay the garment flat to dry out of direct sunlight. The conditioner can help tame the frizz and prickle of the mohair which might help it itch less.

3. Wash With White Vinegar

Last but not least, you can try rinsing the sweater in a vinegar solution. Vinegar can be a gentler fabric softener for garments made of animal fibers. It helps deodorize, removes any excess soap that can cause stiffness, and fights mold and mildew.

I would not recommend using fabric softener on your mohair garment or any other item made of natural fibers. For information about fabric softener and wool, check out this post: Can You Use Fabric Softener on Wool? How to Care for Merino

To do this, fill a tub or sink with water and wash your mohair with a mild detergent that is wool-safe such as a wool wash or even dawn dish soap.

Remove the garment, refill the tub with water, and add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar.

You don’t want to add too much as it could leave a vinegary smell on the clothing. Let the garment soak in the solution for about 20 minutes.

Remove it from the water, squeeze out the excess water, and hang it flat to dry away from direct sunlight.

Once it’s dry, give it a second chance and see if it’s still intolerable. If it’s still itchy, then, sadly, it might be time to find another home for your sweater.

Why is Wool Itchy?

Wool can be itchy if the type of wool is a coarse or thick fiber such as with Icelandic wool, or if the length of the individual fibers is short. The short fibers will stick out of the yarn and poke you which can irritate your skin. For additional details on wool being itchy and four super soft wool breeds, check out this post: Why Is Wool Itchy? (4 Wool Breeds That Are Soft On Skin)

What Are the Differences Between Mohair and Wool?

Both mohair and wool keep you warm and are fire-resistant. Mohair is softer and smoother than wool, has shine and drape similar to silk, and it is wrinkle and felt-resistant. On the other hand, wool is less expensive and wool fibers have a spring to them. For a complete comparison of mohair and wool, check out this post: Differences of Mohair Vs Wool: Which Fiber is Better

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