Washing Fleece

I bought a couple of fleece a while back and tried to wash one bag yesterday. I think I may have tried to wash too much, even though it all fit in the washer. For the most part it is clean.There are some tips which still have lanolin and dirt on them though and there is a lot of VM, even though I tried to go through and pick it out the best I could beforehand. Do I now just card it and get the vm out that way? Any tips for the future? Thanks

You washed it in the washer?

Initial prep [B]always[/B] pays in the end.

I did a fleece myself last night in the washer. Spread out the fleece and remove [U]all[/U] tags and shorter length staples.

Separate fleece into workable bunches. Open the fleece up (use a picker or by hand). The more you open & fluff the fleece the better the detergent can get in and dissolve the lanolin & dirt (and a lot of VM falls out). Open the cut end and the tips. Yes, it’s time consuming now, but you’ll have a much cleaner fleece and less work later on.

Dissolve your detergent in your washer (I use regular laundry detergent at 2-3 times the recommended amount plus add some borax since I have hard water). Fill machine with HOT water. Turn off the machine Add your picked fleece bunches, pushing them under the soapy water. Close the lid and let soak for 30 minutes. Put on spin (hopefully your machine does not shoot water during the spin cycle).

Remove and examine fleece. Open up more tips, pick any VM you can. Repeat soaking with detergent (use less than the first load).

When fleece is clean, do one more soak, but this time no detergent and a few glugs of white vinegar.


Thanks so much for your “recipe”. I think at this point I’ll go back and pick and open the fleece up and go one more time to get it really clean. The great bulk of it is clean but not clear of VM. I’ll keep you posted.

With some fleece, you’ll be picking out small vm before you scour, after you scour, when you pick and/or card, when you spin and when you knit!! So the more you can get out in the beginning, the less you’ll have to deal with it later.

I would also recommend using a mesh laundry bag to hold the fleece, because the fiber can clog up your washing machine if you don’t.

Thanks Sandy. I have been using one. The wool still has some yellow in it but it doesn’t seem really sticky for the most part. I’ve washed it numerous times. I guess I could try combing and spinning it. Are some fleece just partly yellow?

K guys, can ya’ll enlighten me here? What is “VM”? Or do I really want to know:zombie:

VM is “vegetable matter”.

Dirt, weeds, seeds, dead bugs, and yes…occasionally some animal poo. :ick:

Thank you Shandeh and may I say, You are lookin Gooo Juss!!! WTG hun!!!:woot: :thumbsup:
(sposed to be gorgeous btw) heheheheheh lol!!

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Yes, fleece can be stained yellow from a heavy lanolin load.

I guess you could dye it to make it the color you want. :think:

I’m thinking that I will start a log cabin afghan. That way I can dye small amounts of yarn at one time and there is not a lot riding on consistent yarn size and gauge.

Ooooh! That’s a great idea! :slight_smile:

Maybe if there are other spinners interested we can do a KAL.

Very often the yellow is caused by urine staining. Any parts of the fiber that have this will take on dyes differently than the parts that don’t:http://danceswithwool.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/naturally-dyeing-wool-fleece/

Washed up some CA Red lamb fleece this weekend:


After 2nd scour:

After 4th scour & rinse:

Beautiful. I hope to get the hang of this some day.

Wow. I can’t wait to get my hands on the fleece that is waiting for warmer weather in my basement.

Thats purdy :slight_smile: