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Information from Meghan, wool care guru!

As with any brand of wool wash, when washing dyed wool, check for colorfastness before using. Colors can be set by soaking the wool in a vinegar and water solution. Fragrance oils contain solvents which help them remain suspended in soaps and candles and as such are not recommended for dyed wool.

If you have hard water, your Sudz will produce less lather, but will clean just as well. Over time, hard water leaves a residue on the wool fibers, a condition that no amount of washing or lanolizing will fix. To remove this build-up, soak the wool in a mild solution of vinegar and water, wash and lanolize as usual.

For best results always rinse your wool in plain, cool water BEFORE washing it!

Organic Wool Wash Bar:

To wash your wool, run tepid water over the bar into your sink, washing machine, or wash-bucket. If you like bubbles (not necessary, but FUN!), rub the bar between your hands to create a lather. The water will appear milky and will have a film on the top…that’s the lanolin. Soak, swirl, or swish your wool cover or soaker in the water and let it rest as long as you like. You may rub the bar GENTLY on any stains before washing. You may rinse the cover but it is not necessary. Rinsing in cooler water (but not cold) is best so you do not wash away the lanolin.

Store in a cool, dry place. (NOT in a Ziploc on top of your dryer!) I recommend using some sort of dish or rack that will allow air to circulate around the bar. When you use a bar of soap that is allowed to completely dry between uses, you prolong the life of the soap and eliminate waste. Do not leave the bar in the wash water to soak with the wool or allow it to be agitated in the washer.

Organic Liquid Wool Wash:

To wash your wool, run tepid water into your sink, washing machine, or wash bucket and add about a teaspoon of wool wash per gallon of water/per garment. The water will appear milky and will have a film on the top…that’s the lanolin. Soak, swirl, or swish your wool cover or soaker in the water and let it rest as long as you like. You may apply the liquid wool wash directly to stains before washing. You may rinse the cover but it is not necessary. Rinsing in cooler water (but not cold) is best so you do not wash away the lanolin.

Store upright in a cool, dry place with the disc cap completely closed. Lanolin may settle or separate after periods of unuse. Shake gently to mix it back into the soap.

Organic Lanolin Balm:

When your wool needs to be lanolized, simply scoop out a pea-sized dollop of the balm and spread it over your palms. Gently pat it into the inside and repeat on the outside of the cover or soaker. DONE! I love this balm because I can re-lanolize a cover that does not need to be washed and I can use it right away. If you prefer wet-lanolizing, melt a pea-sized dollop of the balm in hot water and add it to a sink-full of luke-warm water. Let the wool soak in the water as long as it is warm. Remove the wool from the water, lay it flat on a towel and roll it up to absorb excess moisture (and most of the lanolin you just put on it!) Lay your wool flat to dry.

Store upright in a cool, dry place with the sealing disc in place and the lid screwed tight.

Organic Lanolin Spray:

When your wool needs to be lanolized, from a distance of about 12 inches (the spray has a pretty wide swath), spray front and back, inside and outside of the cover. 2-4 puffs each side should suffice, depending on the condition and thickness of your wool and your own personal preferences. Gently pat the oils into the wool. You may use the lanolin spray on wet freshly washed wool but keep in mind that the lanolin and conditioning oils will seal in the water and add to the dry-time. Lanolin is much heavier than the other oils in the spray. Gently turn the bottle over a few times before us to ensure even distribution in the product. The first few puffs out of the sprayer might be more of a direct stream because the pump is being primed.

Store upright in a cool, dry place with the lid on and the spray mist cap screwed tight.

Troubleshooting:

What’s the difference between liquid lanolin and solid lanolin (the sticky stuff)?

Their source is the same, the contents different. Their purpose is the same, the effectiveness different. Both my liquid and solid lanolin are extracted from sheeps wool. Both are pesticide and detergent free. Liquid lanolin has been centrifuged to remove the wax from the woolfat/oils. Both are used for lanolizing wool but solid lanolin, because it retains the waxy component, is a more effective waterproofer. Many people find, especially on processed wool, that exclusive long-term use of liquid lanolin is inadequate and that periodic lanolizing treatments with solid lanolin are required to keep their wool at peak function.

I have hard water. What does this mean and how will this change my wool care routine?

If you have hard water, there are minerals (calcium and magnesium) dissolved and suspended in your tap water. These minerals react with air & water to oxidize, forming what you see as hard, white, stubborn film on your dishes, pipes, and sinks. This same film will coat the fibers of your wool, sealing the cuticle and reducing or even eliminating it’s urine absorbing properties. Wool that is washed in hard water may also feel rough or dry. This doesn’t necessarily mean it needs lanolizing, it might just mean you have mineral build-up. To prevent this, rinse the wool in a mild vinegar solution before washing.

I’ve washed this wool dozens of times with no problems, why did the color run this time?

1. What was the water temperature? A few degrees either way can make all the difference in the world. Water that is too hot or too cold can release dye, felt the wool, remove lanolin, and set stains. Ideal wool washing temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit…too cool for a bath but too warm to drink!

2. When was the last time you washed? Don’t wait till your wool reeks of urine to wash it. What you smell are ammonia salts and they are very drying and NOT good for your wool. When dissolved in the wash water, they make it highly caustic. High pH will leach color, felt the wool, and strip the lanolin. It is best to rinse your wool before each wash to remove the excess urine and prepare the fibers for washing.

3. How old is the wool? Wool is a natural fiber, and like our hair, prone to occupational stress! Plus it has been removed from it’s natural source of nourishment and moisture and it has to rely on us to care for it properly and protect whats left of the internal lanolin. Time will take it’s toll on wool and eventually, no matter how gently it is cared for, the fibers will weaken, the cuticle will open and color will gradually fade.

4. How much soap did you use? How often do you wash? No matter which brand you use, a little goes a long way, trust me on this one. If you washed your hair too often, or with too much shampoo, no matter how mild it was, it would also lose it’s color because the cuticle has been weakened.

My wool gets spots on it when I lanolize, what’s the deal?

Wool that has been heavily processed (commercial detergents, felting, dye, etc…) has had most of it’s natural lanolin removed, leaving it very thirsty. Traditional lanolizing is difficult because the lanolin, whether liquid or solid tends to float on top of the water rather than disperse evenly IN the water. Lanolizing dry wool, rather than wet wool might be helpful in this case. If you use a lanolin spray, increase the distance between the pump and the wool, using a towel to protect your counter or floor if necessary. This will ensure a fine even mist is distributed over the wool. Be sure to press the button all the way down and allow it to rise all the way up before pumping again. NO WIMPY PUFFS! This will allow the straw to fill completely with spray and the pump will be fully primed, reducing the risk of squirts and dribbles. If you use solid lanolin or my lanolin balm, warm it and spread it in your hands before patting it into your wool. Use just enough to put a thin coat on your skin, you can always repeat if you need more.

Why don't we wash wool after every use anyway?

Wool is a natural fiber containing natural oils (fatty acids). It has a natural pH between 5.5 and 6.5 (meaning it is slightly acidic). Urine is mostly urea (which smells like ammonia) and ammonia (pH 7.5-8.5...a weak base) If you remember anything at all from Chemistry 101 it's "acid + base = water & a salt". This holds true on our precious wool. The water, however evaporates, leaving salt residue on the wool fibers. Salt is neutral, and generally does not have an odor which is why we can re-use wool once it is dry. After repeated use, the acidic lanolin is "used up" by the caustic urine and any further peeing will leave an odor because there are no fatty acids present with which it can be neutralized into a salt. You may have read somewhere that wool is self-cleansing and doesn't need to be washed with soap because the lanolin and the urine combine to make their own soap. While true soap is chemically a salt, this statement is grossly inaccurate. Your baby would have to have a serious chemical imbalance to produce urine strong enough to convert the lanolin and woolfats into a true soap and you'd have much bigger problems to worry about than saving a few bucks on woolwash! Wool soap IS necessary and it should have three properties: the ability to cleanse the wool of any dirt or stains, the ability to do so GENTLY (without stripping it of its natural moisture and oils), and the ability to replenish the moisture and lanolin lost through processing, use, and time.

Will lanolizing cause stains in my wool?

The main reason wool is marked or stained by lanolizing is not due to the lanolin at all. It's a result of prior care. It's actually more likely to get stained when it is not clean, not cleaned often enough, when there is soap residue on the wool, or if it is in dreadfully dry, unkempt, unloved condition. Dirt, urine salts, and soap can bond with the product and if the wool is in poor condition. If the fibers are frayed, they will cling to anything that could soothe/seal them. Only hot water can remove it, and of course, that's not something we can do to the wool!

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