How to Treat Wool with a Water Repellent

Wool naturally tends to be somewhat hydrophobic and requires very little additional water repellency unless a lot of residual surfactant is evident on the goods.  As wool is blended with cellulosics, the fabric becomes more hydrophilic and will require more water repellent.  In general, you have two choices on repellents; a non-durable metallic salt type like the Orco Repel WZC™.  which is fairly easy to apply and economical, or, a durable type, such as Orco Repel S which is somewhat more expensive and requires heat to cure but does offer good durability to laundering.


Orco Repel WZC™ is a non-durable, economical wax emulsion water repellent containing a zirconium salt base, providing excellent water repellency on both synthetic and natural fibers.

  • Fabrics to be treated should contain no residual surface active agents and have no higher pH than 7.0.
  • Bath concentration for padding will vary depending on the fabric weight but generally 2-5 % owb is adequate for most purposes.
  • Water temperature should be in the area of 50-100°F(10-38°C) before adding the Orco Repel WZC™.  Higher temperatures sometimes cause insolubility.
  • Treated fabrics should then be dried thoroughly at temperatures below 300°F(150°C) if possible.

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