Can wool yarn go bad?

I bought some 100% wool yarn a few years ago to make diaper soakers and never used it. It ended up in a metal tin in the closet of the computer/sewing room. I recently unearthed it and it SMELLS!

My first thought was that sewing machine oil had somehow leaked into it but that’s not the case.

It smells kind of like… mildly rancid crisco. I can only assume it is the lanolin in the wool.

Is this yarn ruined? Would washing it with eucalan (sp) help or is anything I make with it doomed to smell funny?

I would think that cleaning it would take care of it… but I haven’t ever tried it

How are you supposed to store unused wool yarn??? I put it in plastic baggies. Is that alright?? I’d hate to have it ruined.

Take it out of the plastic and tell me how it smells. :slight_smile:

With no other input I wonder if I am the only person to have experienced this. I never smelled it BEFORE I put it into storage so for all I know it always smells weird and it is just that I have a super-sensitive sense of smell (which I do). It’s pretty weird, though.

Guess I’ll see what happens after a wash.

Yep try winding it into hanks and soaking it for an hour or so each time… with some shampoo/wool wash, maybe some vinegar or lemon juice, etc… just squeeze through gently, make sure it’s submerged, and leave it for a while then come back and squeeze through again, should be enough.

i would guess its the lanolin in the wool causing the smell. when you do wash it, make sure to use very hot water, possibly even boiling water, submerge the yarn, but dont aggitate it, so to avoid felting. add some very gentle shampoo, wool wash or dawn dish soap to the water before adding the wool. should remove the lanolin, clean the wool, and make it nice again :slight_smile:

knit1drop1…this has only happened to me once and occurred with undyed alpaca balls of yarn. I opened the plastic tub they were in and yes…like rancid criso. I was moving and so just aired the box for an hour and then put in a couple of natural deodorisers. This reminds me that since I’ve moved in I’ve forgotten to check the box! I’ll try to and let you know if that helped. I didn’t want to wash the yarn as yet unless absolutely necessary. The smell, oddly, hadn’t transferred to the other yarns in the box thank goodness.

I suspect the smell comes from the lanolin on the wool. As this is an oil (of sorts) it can go ‘off’ I think the more natural the yarn is and the more untreated it is.

Sorry jeanius80… I hadn’t seen your reply when I commented on the lanolin (I have a thing about people not crediting others who said the thing already! :??)

Be very careful about using hot water, the temperature shock can be enough to felt some wool especially wool fibre wool, and 100% like you are using, and soap doesn’t help as it is alkaline and kind of roughs up the fibres. Acidic shampoo is best for natural fibres. Think carefully before using baby shampoo or normal soap, there’s a reason people use soap when felting.
If you can’t be bothered washing you might get an improvement if you just hang it up in fresh air for a few days and it’s summer for you right? Mmmm… sun on natural fibre… smells so good when you bring it in…

no prob sue :slight_smile:
here is a good source for washing fleece to remove lanolin
she leads you step by step preping/washing fleece which will work for cleaning your yarn too