Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Using a Wool Wash Bar on Delicate Wool

This method is better for cleaning delicate merino and blue faced lancashire wools.  It is simple with fewer steps.  It will also work well for cleaning wool that isn't very dirty or for that first lanolizing on a new piece of wool.  Felting is caused by agitating the wool fibers in warm water.  Please use cool or cold water when washing your wool.  Allow it it air dry.  Avoid scrubbing with a lot of friction.  The wool wash bar used here is my own Carver Creations bar.

1) Turn the wool inside out. 
2) Rinse the wool in cold tap water.  Swish to remove the urea salts from the fibers.  Pour out the rinse water.
 3) Put an inch or two of hot water in the bottom of your wash basin.  Drop in the wool wash bar.  You need enough hot water to cover the wool wash bar.  Do not allow the hot water to get on the  wool.  Let the wool wash bar sit in the hot water for a while.  Go do something else and come back when the water is nice and cloudy.  I made smoothies for my kids while this was soaking.
4) After soaking for several minutes, remove the wool wash bar from the hot (now warm) water.  Add cold water to the hot/warm soapy water until there is enough wash water to immerse the wool.  The end wash water should feel cool or cold to the touch. 
5) Gently swish and squish your wool in this water to clean it.  Feel free to allow it to soak in the wash water for a few minutes.  If you let hand-dyed wool soak for more than 10 minutes, it will probably bleed dye into the wash water.
6) Spin out the wool in a washing machine.  This needs to be spin only, no water should be added to the machine basin or agitation by the center agitator.  Remove wool promptly after the spin cycle has completed.  Wool left in the machine may be forgotten and felted with the next load of laundry. 
7) Air dry.  Normally I lay the wool flat across the top of my drying rack, but this time the rack was too crowded.  Hanging wool may cause it to stretch.

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