Washing & drying large amounts of wool

This weekend has been very busy. Saturday was a boys day … complete with changing trailer wheel bearings and rock fishing. Sunday was a domestic day … including washing, house cleaning and wool ๐Ÿ™‚

This is what the end hallway of my house looks like.

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Bags and bags of unwashed alpaca and sheep fiber. Being the first sunny day in over a week, I figured some serious wool washing was in order.

My usual mode of operation for cleaning wool is to put chunks of fiber into ‘delicates’ bags, washing them in buckets then hanging on the line. My problem with this method is that it seems to take days to dry as the fiber isn’t spread out.

So, after reading a few things on the net I decided to try a new approach.

As follows chronicles my morning in pictures…

1. One large bucket of water.

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2. Add detergent, but don’t make bubbles.

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3. Submerge portions of the fleece in water. Wash twice and rinse once.

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4. Spread wool out over the drying rack.

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I tried covering the portable clothes rack with old fly-screen…but the holes were two small and the water didn’t drain properly. So I switched to using the delicates bags which have larger holes and pegging the bags to the frame.

By 5o’clock it was getting close to dry, but unfortunately it began to rain again. So now the laundry looks like this.

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The only variation that I would change next time is to put a piece of flyscreen in the bucket before submerging the fleece to help when getting the fleece out without burning your hands.

Overall, the wool was definitely drying faster this way, so I’ll be using this method again.

๐Ÿ™‚

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4 thoughts on “Washing & drying large amounts of wool

    • Hi Emily,

      No I didn’t get it all washed, but my aunt and I went halves in buying it and she seems to like the Border Leicester better than I do, so I might leave the rest of the wool to her, and keep some of the alpaca ๐Ÿ™‚ I have some fibre samples coming in the mail from the states so I might spend some time on those next.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I have some fleece arriving by courier this Thursday so I imagine my room will be looking much like yours. It’s still pretty cold here in Canada and the wool will freeze if I try drying it outside so I’m going to wash it up a bit at a time and put it on some sweater drying racks. Basically they are the same as your delicates bags but hooked into a wire frame to keep them taunt. Good idea with the drying rack though and I have the same one so I’ll look into making a similar type of contraption.

  2. I too wash vast quantities of fleece. The way I dry it in Scotland (not famous for it sunny weather) is drying it on the drying frame in windy weather but I eventually resort to bringing it into the house and use a dehumidifier. This gently and efficiently dries it without costing the earth

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