Washing stubbornly dirty raw wool

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by spyiispy, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. spyiispy

    spyiispy Member

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    I need some ideas. I've washed and rinsed this stuff twice now and it still has hunks of stuff in it. I'm not even sure what the stuff is.......it doesn't really look like manure. I think its lanolin with dirt in it but it is stubborn as all heck to get out. I just use my washing machine on hot....with a pot full of boiling water to up the temp a bit and about a cup of Dawn dish detergent.

    In addition to the double washes today......I let it sit overnight in a cold water bath with some vinegar added. STILL I have dirty wool.

    Help me get this clean PLEASE!
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You're not running the washing machine through a wash cycle are you? If so it's (sorry to be blunt) felted together and ruined. Before washing a fleece ruthlessly pick all the veggie matter out, you'll end up with half or less of the fleece normally if its very contaminated. Soak it in very hot water with Dawn detergent. Drain and spin it out and rinse (in hot water) , drain and spin twice more. If it needs a second soak with detergent fine; but again remove what VM you can see manually.
     

  3. spyiispy

    spyiispy Member

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    LOLOL No, no, Ross....I'm not running it through the washing cycle. I've washed it, as you've suggested already.......except I wasn't real liberal with picking out the veggie matter. There wasn't a whole lot of chips/sticks/twigs/stuff like that. Just some unidentifiable "goo" on some of the fleece that I *thought* would wash out. I know its not tar and it doesn't smell/look like manure. I'm ready to just cut those parts out. Yes?
     
  4. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I'd just chuck 'em, that's for sure. I hate having to pick through dirty wool and am pretty liberal with the stuff that get's tossed :D
     
  5. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    also, it's not been mentioned yet, but the water temp needs to be above 140 degrees for the lanolin to release. We use old ringer washers and put in a "livestock watertank HEATER" (not the de-icers that float or sink) this thing looks like a part of a Harley tailpipe, round and tubular and gets to 180 degrees. then the rollers do a great job of getting most of the water out of the wool.
     
  6. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    Wash in as hot of water as you can. DO NOT let it cool down too much- that redistributes the lanolin back on the wool. Rinse in temps as close to the wash water. I usually let the fleece soak in my washing machine for 20 minutes, turn off the water supply, spin, turn on the water supply (this process helps prevent felting from the shock of different temps). Then I take out the spun wool, fill the machine back up with plain hot water, let it soak (Take a look at the fleece and if still dirty, do a repeat of the wash cycle first) and then spin out as I just described. I have one of those adjustable window screens I picked up at Walmart- I put it in the bathtub and lay the fleece on it to dry. Since we live in a VERY windy area, there is no place for me to put it outside to dry. I turn the fleece frequently so there are no "wet spots".

    Some people will soak a fleece in cool water overnight first to loosen the dirt. Next day, do the regular wash.

    Dawn is good soap... but can be a bit harsh depending on what you are using the fleece for (Good if you will be dying since it does tend to strip all the oils off the fleece). I use Orvus paste and I don't have to add anything to the rinse cycle. Some people use watered down hair conditioner in the rinse cycle (think lavendar?? <G>)

    If it is an extremely dirty fleece to begin with, be sure and try to get out all the loose stuff as much as possible before washing.. shake the fleece over an old sheet... repeat if necessary. Take out all the small bits (second cuts) and I go over the fleece to pick out dung tags, etc if they are present.

    If you have a very nice but very dirty fleece, you may need to resort to the "Lock by lock" method. Basically it is the same process as above but using a couple of plastic dish pans or something similar- one with the wash water - the other with the rinse. Lay a few locks in the wash water and soak just a few minutes.. I take my fingernails (gets gross sometimes) and gently wash each end out before placing the lock into the rinse water. When the wash water is too dirty, take it out and dump somewhere you aren't growing anything and refill. I did an entire HORRID LOOKING fleece this way.. over several days... turned out fabulous but a lot of work...

    HTH!
    Terri
     
  7. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How well was the fleece skirted...sounds like you are trying to wash out one of those mattered pooh balls that sheep have...yes huge "dags". Either that or its a ram fleece and your trying to wash out the tangled mattered bits that gather under his chin....both these areas on a fleece I skirt very heavily so I dont have trouble when hand spinning. :)
     
  8. spyiispy

    spyiispy Member

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    Thanks guys..........I just think I was trying to save too much of the fleece. I'm going to be much more liberal with my "picking" This is just going to be used for stuffing Waldorf dolls, not spinning or anything so it doesn't have to be perfect.

    I appreciate all your comments.....

    Lisa