Support TAS

Author Topic: Wool washing  (Read 539 times)


  • Joined Jul 2015
Wool washing
« on: October 26, 2016, 10:03:01 am »
I'm used to preparing sheep for showing/welfare reasons but have now got some fleece wool (BFL and Shetland) for felting (thought I'd have a go!) and - now this might be a daft question - wondering how to wash out hay, bitsnpieces etc without the wool actually felting up! Does washing in a large basin with washing liquid work or should I chuck it in the washing machine? Or should I just pull apart a good handful and sort the muck out by hand? It was all so much easier when it was on the animal.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 10:07:02 am by namethatsheep »


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 10:17:00 am »
Washing fleece is really to get the lanolin and little bits of dirt out. It won't get out hay etc. In fact you are in danger of them getting embedded and making it even more difficult for you.

Pick out the bits first and then hand wash. Do not put it in the washing machine or it will felt. I know you want to felt but presumably you want some control over what you are felting.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2016, 10:53:06 am »
Just as Bionic says.  In fact, it's a good idea to pick off the worst veg matter (VM) before the sheep is shorn if it's yours, and to dag it. Don't go for a dirty or heavily contaminated sheep when choosing which one's fleece you will use. Once shorn, you lay out the whole fleece and pick out the VM by hand, first one side, then turn the whole thing over and do the other side.  This also tends to allow dried mud etc to fall out.

There are various questions on here in the crafts section about how to wash fleece, so it's worth searching through.  Basically, handle gently, doing the opposite you would do for felting - no shocks.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2016, 03:54:06 pm by Fleecewife »

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus


  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 10:58:31 am »
Bionic and Fleecewife - many thanks, I'll follow your instructions. So it's Radio 3 and some mindless yet somehow satisfying activity to look forward to over coming hours in removing the vegetative matter.... it'll be worth it. Thanks again


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 03:46:58 pm »
The Wool Clip (creators and organisers of Woolfest) have some good leaflets about fleece, including one on washing.

Links on this page linky
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing


  • Joined Jul 2015
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2016, 04:17:27 pm »
Sallyintnorth - great leaflet, thanks for the link. I've been to Woolclip in Caldbeck a number of times - splendid shop/collective - which also provides an opportunity to see John Peel's resting place in the Church opposite.


  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Wool washing
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 02:38:23 pm »
I followed the leaflet too and having done about 40 fleeces now, various sheep breeds and angora goats have tried slight variations in technique but the instructions are excellent.  I've been spinning rather than felting so it may make some difference.  By the time I had finished the first product I had more idea how much effort to put into cleaning out VM for example, and even how to keep the sheep more clean to save effort later. As Fleecewife suggests, once you have done a few you are inclined to avoid the really messy ones, there are enough clean ones around in the world to make the contaminated once not worth the trouble. I look forward to hearing how your project goes.


Opps Ive over heated the wool when washing!

Started by Mel Rice

Replies: 6
Views: 1079
Last post January 02, 2013, 10:37:28 pm
by Mel Rice
Washing fleeces

Started by clickowls

Replies: 4
Views: 1257
Last post March 08, 2010, 09:50:55 pm
by woollyval
Washing Fleece

Started by in the hills

Replies: 19
Views: 3869
Last post May 20, 2014, 09:08:59 am
by madcat
washing sheep's fleeces

Started by Fluffywelshsheep

Replies: 6
Views: 3217
Last post June 15, 2009, 08:21:55 am
by Fluffywelshsheep
What 3 ply wool?

Started by colliewobbles

Replies: 14
Views: 5085
Last post June 06, 2013, 08:35:35 am
by Bionic

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Assist Animal Care Services Thomson & Morgan G.J.W. Titmuss Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Cornwall Turkeys

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS