Merino Wool vs. Cashmere – What are the Differences?

Last Updated on January 1, 2023

Merino Wool vs. Cashmere: Cashmere and merino wool are two different varieties of wool, but both are usually considered to be quality, fluffy, and very warm, so they often need clarification. Let us comprehend the differences between Cashmere and merino wool. We will give you guidelines on which one is better to choose.

Cashmere and Merino Wool: Where Do They Come From?  

The first and distinguishing feature of these fabrics is their origin, both from a geographical and animal point of view. As explained in this article, discovering the king of yarns, all you need to know about Cashmere, the king of yarns are obtained in raw form through the manual shearing of a specific breed of goat, the Hircus goat. The Hircus goat is mainly found in India, Mongolia, and the Middle East.

Merino Wool vs. Cashmere

In contrast, merino wool is obtained by shearing Merino sheep, the same name as the fabric, and found in New Zealand, Australia, and, to a lesser extent, Spain and Portugal.

In particular, only merino wool can be considered wool as it comes from sheep. Cashmere, which comes from the Hircus goat, cannot be considered wool.

Cashmere vs. Merino Wool: What are the Differences 

Merino Wool vs. Cashmere Differences
Photo By edevansuk

The main difference between Cashmere and merino wool is: Cashmere comes from the fleece of a particular breed of goat, the Hircus, native to Kashmir, a historical region currently divided between India, Pakistan, and China, while merino wool comes from that of the namesake Merino sheep.

Let’s discover the main differences between these trendy and equally precious yarns. We do this by analyzing the characteristics that will probably interest you most when buying: the intrinsic properties of Cashmere and merino wool!


Cashmere is, from this point of view, a much more delicate yarn to handle than merino wool, which is more resistant. This depends on the difference in the raw material obtained during shearing: much finer for Hircus goats and much thicker for Merino sheep. 


Cashmere is the winner here and not itchy, as it is delicate and soft to the touch in contact with the skin, as opposed to merino wool, which can feel rougher than Cashmere.

The felting phenomenon

Cashmere has a clear tendency to feel less and less quickly than merino wool which, especially after washing, has the defect of felting more easily.


Another difference, perhaps the most important, is how you care for the fabric. Cashmere is much more delicate and, therefore, more challenging to wear, wash and recondition. In this case, washing should only be done by hand. On the other hand, Merino wool is much more resistant and, therefore, easy to care for. It can also be machine washed with a delicate washing cycle at 20° C and a specific detergent.

Attention to post-washing
let both dry in the open air and avoid the dryer, which damages the garments in the best cases.

Cashmere: Characteristics and properties

Cashmere Wool

Firstly, compared with ordinary wool, it is much brighter, softer, and more isothermal. The main characteristics of Cashmere are extreme softness, high thermoregulation capacity, ability to absorb moisture and sweat, antistatic, and therefore, a clear tendency to weigh less. The negative properties of Cashmere include pilling and durability.

The term pilling indicates the appearance of fiber balls that form with the use and maintenance of the garment, giving it an aesthetically unpleasant appearance. Therefore, it has a much shorter life cycle.

Merino Wool: Characteristics and Pproperties

Merino wool differs from other wools by its finer fibers. Therefore, Merino wool, thanks to its fibers’ structure, has particular characteristics that make it unique.

Merino Wool
Merino Wool

Merino wool is thermoregulating, hygroscopic, breathable, and highly hygienic since the structure and course of the fibers prevent the accumulation, at the base, of dust and dirt, not to mention that the lanolin present creates a hostile environment for humans. Dust mites are fire retardant and antibacterial because they do not irritate the skin and protect against bad odors.

People Also Ask – FAQ

Is Cashmere less itchy than merino?

Cashmere is less itchy than merino and other wools because it does not have any lanolin. It is a hypoallergenic substitute for merino and other wools.

Which is more expensive, merino wool or Cashmere?

Cashmere is more expensive than Cashmere.

What wool is more expensive than Cashmere?

Vicuña wool is more expensive than Cashmere, even the most expensive of all other wools.

Cashmere or Merino Wool, Which one to choose?

Merino wool is less expensive than cashmere fiber and is much stronger. Cashmere is much more costly, delicate, and difficult to care for.

However, Cashmere is undoubtedly on the podium of the most precious and expensive wools, a true luxury: vicuña wool comes first, Cashmere second, and finally, angora wool.

Therefore, the choice must be purely personal once all the pros and cons have been considered. Depending on the needs, it would be good to opt for one type over another.

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