Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Baby OIl III

I wash wool objects with soap.  So does Alden Amos.  He said so in his Big, Blue Book.  It works.
I tried a lot of other things, but soap works with a minimum potential to damage the wool.

Soap must be rinsed out of the wool. Given the nature of baby oil and water, there will be enough shear forces generated by the rinse process to disperse the baby oil through the water.  And, the water forms a hydrophilic film on the wool.

Baby oil is not like wool fat in many ways.  That is OK, the liquid lanolin in my cupboard is not like wool fat in many ways.  I have put all three on woolens and tested the results time after time.

The wool fat will provided better water proofing,  but these days, I put baby oil and not wool fat or liquid lanolin in the wool rinse water.

Now, what have you actually MEASURED?

Lanolin in spinning and knitting is like Santa Clause for children in the US circa 1900.  It has some truth, but it is also a myth. There was a Santa Clause, but in 1900, much of what was attributed to Santa Clause was the actions of others.  In the same way, at one time much wool was water proofed with lanolin. And, spinners/knitters remember that and forget that today, much of that water proofing is performed with or by other agents.

As a chemical engineering student,  I worked with reagents.  Lanolin was a reagent.  Wool fat was the technical grade of lanolin. Technical grade materials were still reagents. Today, we can buy wool fat from Now Foods labeled 100% pure lanolin.


 Those of you who have taken chemistry know that it is really only a pharmaceutical grade of perhaps 99% pure.  But, such are the lies of commerce.

Many health food stores carry it at a price of $10-$12 for 7 oz..  If you think lanolin is so magical, buy some!  Rub it between your fingers.  Smell it.  Do you want to put it on your fine new, just knit woolens?  Just how are you going to apply it? Will it stain?  (Oh, yes!!)  And, in a few months it will start to smell like a sheep.  And, when it smells like sheep, it will attract moths. Lets see - that would be next spring! , about the time moths will be looking to start a new generation. And it will attract, and hold dirt and grit.

It takes real courage to put wool fat on your fine woolens.  I have that courage, but most modern spinners and knitters do not.

I mix it with beeswax, olive oil, lavender oil and other things to make a hand lotion for knitting. All of my knits come off the needles well oiled. (My hand lotion also leaves a film on all the door knobs in the house, so if I have been knitting, I need to go around and wash the door knobs before my wife gets home. This is serious hand lotion, that puts Bag Balm by Dairy Association Co to shame. ) Then, I wash my just knit woolens with real soap and hot water, and put baby oil in the rinse water.

I encourage everyone to put a little pure "lanolin" on their hands and then go hug all the "rubberneckers" who claim to like lanolin on their woolens.  Then, at least the backs of the rubbernecker's sweaters will be water proof -- at least until the moths get to them   : )

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since you frequently bring up the issue of moths - moths are attracted to wool, regardless of whether the wool contains lanolin. I'm not sure why you only equate moth attraction to lanolin solely, it's the only thing you talk about. I've a lot of wool in my house, and a lot of wool sweaters, most without lanolin, and still had moths until I used things to distract them, like lavender and cedar.

I suspect - and this is just me without a sciencey degree - that whether your wool sweater has lanolin or (God forbid) baby oil, the moths will still appear unless you use something specific to keep moths away.

So, point being - Lanolin =/= moths. Your science is wrong again.

As for the 'sheep smell' that you claim is from lanolin. And how lanolin is dirty. I've wool sweaters with lanolin, and somehow - despite my years of using and wearing them - they're still clean. I've yet to acquire that 'sheep stink' that you speak so disparagingly of.

Maybe your lanolin covered sweaters stink because you stink.

Anonymous said...

"...who claim to like lanolin on their woolens. " Yet another hint of condescension? Lovely!

Yes, we get that you hate lanolin - there's 4 practically consecutive blog posts about it, and yet another.

One can only assume that you're such a man obsessed because you're getting a lot of comments that you're too chicken to publish, explaining why you're once again wrong. Where, I pray ask, is the scientific evidence that baby oil is better than lanolin? Since you're a man of science, or so you claim.

Anonymous said...

Aaron, please learn how to spell correctly. It's Santa CLAUS, not "clause," which is part of a sentence. If you claim to be such an expert that you need to teach us that we are all idiots, the least you can do is to use correct spelling and grammar.

Anonymous said...

You are a constant source of entertainment. Never change, Aaron.

Anonymous said...

So you put lanolin on your yarn while knitting with it, then wash it off and replace it with baby oil? And you want your rantings to be taken seriously?

You speak of lanolin being a reagent as though that's relevant or meaningful in this context - tell us dear teacher, what chemical reaction is taking place when you smear lanolin on your yarn/sweater?

Anonymous said...

Every time you make a new blog post, it's fadder for that rubbernecked thread about your blog. You need to either stop blogging or make sense. If you start making sense, the 'necking would absolutely stop, I'm sure.