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AD6UY Washing Fleece

In order to wash a fleece you have to apply heat, water, soap or detergent and a little agitation. Unfortunately those things also produce felt!

Wool shrinks by felting. The actual fibers do not shorten in water, the fabric, fleece or yarn turns to felt. Felting is irreversible and once it starts it continues. The scales on the wool fibers open up and mesh together producing a tangle that cannot be undone.

Hot water is necessary to remove the wool fats which include lanolin. I use water as hot as my water heater will get it, about 160 deg. F.

To remove grease I use a liquid dish detergent, the kind intended to wash dishes by hand. Dishwasher detergent is way too strong. Some people add a little sodium carbonate {washing soda} to their wash water, I do not.

Soak your fleece for a while, then drain it. Mix a second wash bath at the same temperature as the first. Repeat the soak. You can move the wool a little in the wash water but not very much!

You can wash wool in your washing machine if you are very careful NEVER to agitate it. Check to make sure the machine is truly off or you might wind up with a hideous felt donut surrounding the agitator instead of a nicely soaked fleece. It ruins the wool and is none too good for the machine either.

Rinse and drain several times. Do not abruptly change the water temperature as you rinse. Each successive rinse may be a little cooler but be careful not to shock the wool.

You may use a washing machine to spin out the water if you are very careful NOT to use a spin-spray cycle. The spraying will cause felting.

Dry your wool away from kids, cats, dogs, curious spouses...

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