Category: Classes

Washing Options

—Cold Water bath.
  • Effective at releasing dirt.
  • Will not remove lanolin. Much like leaving wool out to be washed by rainwater.
  • If a fleece is really dirty, this is sometimes a good pre-wash.
Fermented Suint Bath:
  • same cold water bath used over many times.
  • Fermented suint substance from the wool in previous baths takes on detergent-like role in degreasing and cleaning fiber.
  • —Very stinky
  • —May spoil in hot weather.
  • —If the bath is very strong, may damage fibers if left in too long.
Hot Water (loose, in bags, or layered)

  • —How to organize wool for washing? Range of techniques from “not at all” to “carefully placing individual locks into little bundles”
  • —Water Temp? 120-140 (some say hotter)
  • —Cleanser?  dishwashing soap (nothing with bleach or enzymes, though), wool wash, Orvis paste? Many specialty products out there for washing wool, but they can be significantly more expensive.
  • Never use anything with bleach in it on wool. Bleach will DISSOLVE wool.

Hot Water Bath Process

  • —Submerge wool. No agitation. Swooshing around a smidge to ensure water penetration is ok.
  • —Soak for 20-40 minutes
  • —Pour off wash water
  • —Rinse in progressively cooler water until rinse water runs clear (or almost clear). No dramatic temperature changes (may cause felting)
  • —Rinse again. Most fleeces will require a couple of rinses, but most will come clean with one wash. You might need t o repeat if fleece is very greasy (or your water wasn’t hot enough).
  • —Note to Septic Owners: You do not want to send a bunch of lanolin into your septic system. While you might not wash enough fleece for this to ever become an issue, a large amount of lanolin re-solidifying in your plumbing and or septic tank might be a real problem.  Most of your dirt and grease is going to come out in the wash water. Water from subsequent rinses probably won’t hurt anything.

Fleece Washing Gallery


  • —Spin as much water out first (washing machine works well), then dry in indirect sun (if you can find it this time of year!).
  • —Do not handle too much while wet, as fibers are more easily broken.  An old window screen works well to provide good airflow for faster drying.
Washed Fleece Drying on Window Screen
Washed Fleece Drying on Window Screen