Washing Fleece Bulk Method

Posted by on Aug 11, 2013 in Natural Dyes | Comments Off on Washing Fleece Bulk Method

 

 

WASHING WOOL FIBERS USING BULK METHOD

 

 

 

This method should work to thoroughly wash 12 to 20 lbs raw greased wool.

Fill bath tub with very hot water (as hot as your tap water will run – preferably 120 degrees).

Add approximately 1 cup of washing soda and 1 three pound box of detergent. A cheaper store brand also works well and if it includes a fabric softener, all the better!) Make sure the detergent and washing soda are thoroughly dissolved before entering your fleece.

Put your fleeces into net bags (I made net bags rather cheaply by purchasing netting at the local fabric store. You should cut the netting at approximately one yard lengths and fold it over. You only have to zig zag a stitch at the bottom and up on side.

Gently poke your fleece filled bags into the very hot tub of water and let it soak overnight or for approximately 6 hours. Please note that if you are washing angora goat (mohair) do not allow the water to cool down. You must drain the tub before the cool down point.

Drain the tub and put your fleece filled net bags into the washing machine (2 or 3 bags evenly spaced will allow the machine to stay balanced during the spin cycle). Use the gentle spin cycle to spin out excess water. Remove bags.

Fill your sink with warm water and gently swish fleece by the double handfuls to rinse. You will probably have to change your rise water fairly frequently.)

Put your fleeces back into their net bags and repeat the gentle spin cycle again.

On nice days you may put your fleeces outside to dry. Turn and fluff them often. During winter months you may dry them next to heat vents or under a wood burning stove.

This process will usually remove all the lanolin and enough dirt to allow your fleece to be processed on a commerical carding machine. When the fleece is dry there should be no gummy or tack residue.

Felting usually occurs due to a drastic change in water temperature (or air temperature) or by moving the fleece excessively during the washing process. Remember if you wanted to felt your fleece you would use agitation, soap and drastic changes in temperature to accomplish it.