Oops - wool shipped with massage oil!

I just received a lovely package from a friend in England with four skeins of 100% wool from Twilleys of Stamford, and soaps and a massage bar from Lush. Of course, it’s 90º in California and the massage bar melted all over the wool. Now it smells absolutely heavenly, but I don’t think I should knit it without cleaning the oil off. However, I’ve never done this before.

Is there a particular soap I should use? I know enough to wind it into skeins (it came balled with 120 m in a ball) but have no idea what I should do next - temperature (cool, I assume), soap or other de-oiling compound, how to tell when it’s all gone, etc.

I’d appreciate feedback and figured the spinning list was where to look, since you folk are fibre-competent in ways a plain old knitter might not be!

Many thanks - and if I can keep the smell but lose the oil I will be extra happy!

When I had to clean raw wool from a fleece I used my washing machine. The tutorials I read suggested dish soap and the hottest possible water. Of course, you wouldn’t let it agitate, just soak. Then you can use the spin cycle to get out excess water. I’d maybe soak the yarn in really hot water and some dish soap, then 2-3 rinses in equally hot water. Then spin and lay flat to dry. This is assuming it is dyed with a good colorfast dye. I think you’ll have less luck in cooler water since the bar will stay in the solid state, even with soap.

You have to clean raw wool in hot water because the grease is actually a wax, which needs to be melted to be washed out. Hence the hot water. Since you’re just removing oil, you can do that in cold or warm water which is less likely to felt the wool.

I’d just soak them in the sink in some warm water and dish soap. Do not agitate, just let them soak for a while. Then gently rinse in the same temperature. Repeat if necessary, then squeeze them, and hang to dry.

And a little bit of oil in the wool isn’t going to harm it, so if you can’t get it all out and squeaky clean, don’t panic. :slight_smile:

The Yarn Harlot has a recent post about washing wool fleece, should work for yarn too…

I personally wouldn’t follow the fleece washing instructions since you’re just washing massage oil out of wool yarn, not trying to scour the lanolin out of fleece. Raw wool can take the high heat because of all of the lanolin on it. If you indeed use scouring instructions the oil will come off but the yarn will probably full up a little bit. I’ve recently been spinning up some yarn from roving that wasn’t properly scoured and still a bit greasy and scouring the yarn afterwards. The yarn didn’t felt, but it did get a little fuzzier and shrink about 10-15%.

Since this isn’t just regular massage oil, but a melted massage bar, cold water would probably not work too well since it would most likely just solidify the stuff. You’ll need water warm enough to keep it melted and shampoo or dish soap, I’d recommend dawn.