We wash the fleeces in a biologically friendly agent to remove dirt, grease
and suint from the fleece. Animal environments have varying degrees of contamination
from dust, sand and grit. It is imperative to remove this matter before further
processing. We wash the fleece in a five bath system - two with soap solutions,
and three rinses. A weight loss of 20-50% can occur in washing.
Our first bath of water is at 150 deg-f with ½ % soap addition, followed
by a rinse. The second bath will be at 150 deg-f with ¼ % soap solution. The
third and fourth are rinsing baths and contain no soap, with the temperature
around 150 deg-f. We vary the temperatures depending on the breed, type of fleece
and other factors.
At each bath, gentle spins in one direction followed by a soaking rest and
then a gentle spin in the opposite direction occur.
On exit from the rinse bath, the wool has a "clean" citrus smell. A residual
grease content of below 0.5% is ideal.
We use agents that are ecologically friendly as well as recycling of rinse
water in an effort to be good stewards of the environment.