How to Wash Wool - The Homestead Way

Here is what we suggest for washing larger amounts of wool in your top loader washing machine: 

  1. Skirt and sort fleece, removing as much hay, undesirable wool, sticks and debris as possible. A good shake outside will remove lots of smaller debris! 
  2. Fill washing machine with very hot water.
  3. Add your favorite soap (Ours is Dawn Dish soap or laundry soap). TURN MACHINE OFF!
  4. Gently add wool (generally up to 5 pounds of wool). Let soak for 45 minutes.
  5. Even though it is tempting, do not move the wool around while it soaks or you could end up with a washer full of felt! Hot wool felts very quickly!
  6. WITH LID UP ON MACHINE, turn machine on and allow water to drain.
  7. When the water has drained, turn washer to spin cycle, close lid and allow water to spin from the wool.
  8. Remove wool, wipe out washer.
  9. Refill washer with hot water, turn machine off. Gently add wool, allow it to soak for 1 hour. Repeat step #3. 

This process should give you a nice clean, fluffy wool that is ready for the dye pot or let it dry on a screen outside as it is. If you feel it needs further washing, just repeat the two steps. Some wools that are heavier in lanolin (such as Merino and Rambouillet) do require more washing to completely remove the lanolin. 

To wash smaller amounts, just use the same procedure in your kitchen sink, with a smaller amount of soap.