Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boiling Fleece

If you just toss a bit of fleece in a pot, you do not know how much potassium salts there are to react with the lanolin and potentially the wool fiber.  Thus, one must watch the temperature, and keep it to no more than 140F, and the time ( no more than 20 minutes) to avoid damage to the wool.

If one rinsed the wool in cold water prior to heating it in water, then some or all of the alkaline salts will be removed and there is much less potential for damaging the wool, but some other cleaning agent will have to be added to clean the wool.

The cleaning trick that I offered the other day of cleaning unrinsed fleece by heating it in water will not work if the alkaline salts have been rinsed out of the wool.  And, if there is any excess of alkaline salts in the wool, they WILL react with the wool if the temperature goes over 140F more more than 20 minutes.  This is not felting, this is alkaline digestion.  Since the worker does not know the amounts of alkaline salts or lanolin in the fleece, temperature and time are the only safety factors.

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