Sheep to Sweater – Part 3: Washing fleece with a pre-rinse

Click to watch the video!

As I read more about fleece preparation, I realize there are many options and variables in the process, particularly in washing or cleaning a fleece.

Temperature, time, type of detergent, number of rinses, and other variables can be combined in different ways depending on the type of fleece to be cleaned, how dirty it is, and how long it has been sitting around.

The cleaned Romney fleece.

This week, I tried a similar method to the hot water and detergent, but began with a hot water pre-rinse to try to melt and remove some lanolin and dirt from a Romney fleece that had been sitting around since the spring of 2017.

After allowing the fleece to sit in hot water for 10 minutes, I placed it into a hot water wash with detergent, then rinsed a couple of times. This method worked fairly well and definitely used less detergent overall, but I wish I had done two detergent cycles back to back rather than rinsing in between.

Through these first two washing trials I’m learning that, in order to get fleeces as clean as I’d like, I do need to wash them at least twice before rinsing. In the video I discuss this in more detail. Next up will be another hot water pre-rinse followed by a double wash cycle.  At the same time I’ve started a similar Romney fleece in a suint fermentation vat, which will take at least a week or two to work.

Published by Sarah Scully

Sarah is the owner/operator of Vermont Natural Sheepskins. She is an avid knitter and knitwear designer. She also enjoys cooking and gardening.

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