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Thursday, April 25, 2013

My method of washing a fleece

Washing a fleece
Shearing season is here and there are lots of wonderful fleeces to be had out there! My critters are all shorn and the preparation process for spinning them has begun.
My method for washing a fleece:

I'm asked all the time, "how do you wash a fleece?"  I have a few methods, but the easiest one that I like to use most of the time is the one when I use a salad spinner.

The following pictures will show you the steps in order.

I fill the sink with the hottest water from my tap as possible.

Add the dish detergent (Dawn) it cuts the lanolin. I add about a tsp.

Fill the basket from the salad spinner with fiber. Not packed solid but full with a little push and then add a little more.

Put the spinner in the water in the sink. The water should cover the spinner and fiber well

In a few minutes I lift the salad spinner up out of the water about 3-4 times letting the dirty water drain from the spinner each time.

Let the spinner with wool sit for 20-30 minutes, not letting the water cool down to much or the lanolin will redeposit itself onto the fleece leaving it sticky.

Next drain the sink and fill with the hottest water for your first rinse . Let sit 15-20 minutes. Lift in and out once again a couple of times-drain and repeat 2-3 times, rinse  #2 I add about 1/4 cup vinegar, this helps rinse  out the soap and leaves  the fleece shiny. Rinse # 3 I add about 7-10 drops of lavender essential oil, this treats the wool and helps repel moths while waiting to be used, not to mention the slight smell of the lavender . But of course this is optional.

Next you will place the basket back into the salad spinner and spin!! Empty spun water and repeat until there is no water spinning out from the wool

Notice I have not agitated the wool in any way at all. My hands never touch it until the final spin.

Spread onto a wire screen for faster drying or onto a towel and turn every 4 hours or so, so the wool will dry evenly.

This is my favorite method of washing wool for a few reasons. It does not allow any wool to accidentally go down my drain, I don't have to handle the wool once I begin the washing process and finally the spinning of the wool in the spinner, taking out excess water allows it to dry much quicker.
I hope this will help those of you that wonder how in the world you'll clean that fleece!
I do an entire fleece in this method. I can do a little each day of spend a few hours doing an entire fleece.
 Salad spinner

 Soaking in soapy water
 Lifting up and down


  Rince until water is clear
 Essential oil

 Spinning the water out

 Fiber drying on wire rack
  Needed items
 Dried fiber
 I hope this all makes sence to you. E-mail me with any questions or comments Ill be glad to try and answer any questions.