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How to Make Homemade Wool Wash

Homemade Detergent for Wool Clothes and Linens

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How to Make Homemade Wool Wash

Microsoft Publisher 2003

Wool fabric is made from the natural fleece of an animal - sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas. As with our own hair, for wool to look its best it should not be treated with high heat or harsh detergents. Mistreatment will cause wool loose its natural oils and luster, change shape by shrinking and develop wear and tear too quickly.

Caring for washable wool garments and linens demands cool water, a gentle detergent and a delicate wash cycle or hand washing. There are commercial detergents like Woolite formulated for delicate garments and wool items; but you can also make your own by following a simple recipe. You'll save money and reduce waste by reusing a plastic container you have on hand. Always remember to label your products!

Here are several "recipes" for making a gentle wool wash or detergent at home.

Homemade Wool Wash #1

  • 4 cups soap flakes
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup denatured alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus)

    Place the soap flakes and boiling water in a large mixing bowl and mix well with the stick blender or whisk. Or, you can do this in an electric blender. Next, add the methylated spirits and essential oil mixing very well. Pour the mixture into the large preserving jar. Leave the jar overnight and it will set to a firm jelly. To use, rub a small amount into stains or dissolve one tablespoon of wool wash in lukewarm water. Swish or soak the garment in warm water and then rinse well.

    Homemade Wool Wash #2

  • 6 1/2 ounces denatured alcohol
  • 2 cups soap flakes
  • 2 ounces essential oil

    Mix all ingredients and store in a wide necked jar. When ready to use, mix one to two tablespoons per cup of hot water. Stir until dissolved and then add to lukewarm wash water.

    Homemade Wool Wash #3

  • One cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon lanolin
  • 1/4 teaspoon baby shampoo
  • One to two drops essential oil

    Heat water in a microwaveable cup. Add remaining ingredients and stir briskly until the lanolin has melted and is suspended in little droplets thought the mixture. Mix the solution in the cup into a sink of lukewarm water by swishing your hand through the water. Hand wash your wool items and then rinse well.

    Emergency Wool Wash

    It happens to us all. We need to wash a garment and we discover that we have no commercial wool wash or no supplies to make our own. What to do? You can use the following occasionally to wash wool:

  • Shampoo - A product delicate enough to use on human hair will be gentle on your fine wools and other clothes which require hand-washing. Select a baby shampoo or a simple adult shampoo that does not contain extra conditioners or other products. Use the same way you would use a commercial wool wash - add a small amount to a sink of lukewarm water. Soak the garments for 10 minutes, then rinse in fresh water.
  • Fels Naptha Soap - Grate a bit of the soap and mix with hot water making sure the soap flakes are thoroughly dissolved. Add to lukewarm water before submerging your clothes for cleaning.
  • Castile Soap - Castile soap is an olive oil based soap which can be purchased as a liquid or in bar form. Dilution is the key to using this type of cleaning product for fine washables. Use only about 1/4 teaspoon per sink of lukewarm water for hand-washing and rinse clothing very well.

    Specific questions? Just ask here.

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