Washing Raw Wool
Updated: Jan 17
Washing Raw Wool Items that you will need... 1. Wool 2. A sink, tub, or bucket 3. Soap 4. Enough very hot water to fill the sink a few times An airy place to work and dry your fiber without having it trampled, tracked or blown across the yard Optional A muslin bag (and mesh bag will work a garment bag, a used onion bag), a plastic basket or strainer. Potential Problems during Washing
Felting occurs when the wool is exposed to some combination of the following factors: The wool is wet, is agitated, is exposed to temperature change in water, or is exposed to an alkali ph. Wash Water Water should be at least 100 - 140 degrees Fahrenheit Soaps -
For soaps to work correctly and not damage your fleeces (yes soap can damage your fleece) there are a couple important things to be aware of ~
1.) Your waters hardness level (Test using hard water strips like these - Water Hardness at Test Strips)
2.) Use a soap MADE FOR WOOL. This is pretty important factor, take my word for it or if you need to have more detailed information I highly recommend reading Scour Wool Like a Boss written by: Mary Egber I recommend using Unicorn Power Scour
Step 1. Fill your container with HOT water, and add soap.
Note: A 3:1-4:1 ratio of Water to Fiber is best.
Step 2. Add you fiber (either in a mesh bag or without), just push it down into the water until it is totally submerged DO NOT agitate, squish or squeeze (this is the hardest part but trust me submerge and walk away) Let fiber soak until water starts to cool (15 to 20 mins)
Step 3. Drain dirty water through a strainer to catch the fiber you are cleaning (if using a mesh bag just set bag in sink to drain.)
Hints and Trick I have learned over the years and find very useful
- If you have a fleece that has a lot of dirt, or has been in storage awhile, I have found that doing a pre-soak with cool water helps open the fibers up and makes washing go a little quicker.