Have you found yourself with wool fleece and aren't sure what to do with it? Here's a tutorial to help you navigate next steps.
There are many opinions about the best way to go about washing fiber. The steps below show how I've been washing my Shetland sheep's fleece twice a year for seven years. It seems to work well for me as I've never ruined a fleece!
Co-owner, Two Sisters
Two large tubs. I use kiddie swimming pools and think they work great. This year, I've put them on tables and am anticipating saving my back a lot of stress.
Detergent. For years, I used whatever detergent I was using for my laundry at the moment, without any discernible differences between them. I did discover, however, that for wool with extra lanolin, a detergent that cuts through grease was helpful. In the late fall of 2019 a customer asked me to use the detergent BioKleen on the fleece I was washing for her as it doesn't have any harsh chemicals in it. I think BioKleen does a great job and I have transitioned over to using it exclusively. This is not to say that other detergents don't work; it's just that BioKleen is my personal preference.
Hot water. Lots of it. I run a hose from a sink in my basement to my outdoor washing area.
Rubber gloves. You will want to wear these when you see how dirty the wool is!
Drying area. A tarp will do but even better is something that the air can circulate underneath the fleece. My drying area consists of several old tires with chicken wire resting on them. I can set this up outside or if the weather looks like it's going to take a turn for the worse, I can set it up in my garage.
Tarp. A tarp is useful for transferring fleece from one tub to another. Instead of a tarp, I use a third kiddie pool.