Friday, July 10, 2009

How-to Wash a Raw Fleece

Since my comb and hackle set is almost completed, I thought it was time to wash the raw fleece I bought at my local fiber fest.

Since I didn't have the slightest clue where or how to start, I did a little research on Ravelry, and joined a new group here and they had alot of info on washing fleece including this link with step by step HOW-TO directions.

I printed out the directions and followed them exactly. Here is how I washed my fleece.

This is the fleece before washing...............dirty and with a strong farm smell that no one else can stand. I don't mind it at all. This is 1 pound of raw fleece.I started by filling a super large stainless steel pot with cold water

Then I submerged the raw wool in the water, gently pushing it under until it was all covered. The water became cloudy and dingy almost immediately. I let the fleece soak for 15-20 minutes before removing it from the bath and placing it in the colander.

This is the dirty water left in the cold bath after I removed the fleece.

Even after just 1 soak in the cold bath the raw fleece is distinctly lighter.

I rinsed the pot and added 1/2 scoop of powdered laundry detergent. I used Gain.

Then I filled the pot with scalding HOT HOT HOT water!

Then I added the raw fleece and used a long handled wooden spoon to gently push the fleece under the water until it was completely covered.

Then I placed the lid on the pot and let the fleece soak in the HOT soapy water for 15-20 minutes. I repeated this process with the soap once more and then I repeated it without the soap until the water remained clean when the fleece was added to the pot. After that the fleece still smelled very farmy and so I soaked it for 15 minutes in another hot bath, but this time I added shavings of lavender soap my mother had made for me. It eliminated the farmy odor and left the fleece smelling great. After that I soaked the fleece in a final HOT water bath to remove any leftover soap residue
This is my 1 pound of raw fleece all washed, bright, clean, and drying outside.


Keli said...

How many times did you have to rinse it? And did you rinse it till the water was clear of dirt and soap? Do you sell your lavander soap? Love the pics going to dry this method with some samples I received. THANKS

lildebi said...

I think i repeated the process about 7 times. Each time the 20 minutes was up, I scooped the fleece out with a spoon and put it in a colander. Then I dumped out the dirty water, refilled the pot and put the fleece in again. I did this until the water was no longer dirty or cloudy looking. and the last time I took the fleece out, I squeezed it gently, not wringing it, just pressing it in the colander, to release the water and then I rolled it in a towel like a sausage and took it outside to lay it flat to dry.

lildebi said...

oh, and yes, my mother makes and sells the lavender soap in her Etsy at She has been making soap and things since 1999.

I am glad this info was helpful.

Holly Marie said...

Very nice debi! It sounds as if you have been a busy bee! I look forward to seeing what you spin from you raw fiber!