Merino Is Great But......

It is a huge pain in the ass to clean. I bought ten pounds of white merino fleece. It's pretty clean, not a lot of vegetable matter but it's SUPER greasy! The normal "clean the fleece in the washer" doesn't work for this stuff. I'm having to put it pots of soapy water on the stove to get the water hot enough to break the grease down. Then, the wool is so fine that what little VM there is in the clean wool, it wants to stay put. Ugghh.....! However, when it's clean, it's beautiful. Let's hope I can spin it up into something nice.

PS: If anyone has a more efficient way to break down the grease in fine wool fleece, I'd love to know your secret.


KnitteryNinja's picture

There is no efficient way to wash Merino. I follow Margaret Stove on how to wash it. Lock by lock. Very labor intensive, but otherwise the Merino felts very easily. Dawn Dishwashing Soap is what I always use for the soap.

Here's how I do it. You are making a big "cigar" of netting with locks layered inside.

Buy some of that netting material at a fabric store, enough to double it.
Pull out some individual locks, which should be the size of your finger or a little larger.
Lay them horizontal along the edge of the netting, roll the netting over them enough where the netting is now around them and stays rolled. Lay the next layer of locks. I sort of stagger them with the other layer, but it probably isn't necessary. Do this until you have a rolled up "cigar". Place a rubber band on each end, and a couple of them in the middle just tight enough to hold it together.

Immerse in very hot water from the tap with a generous squirt of Dawn. I do several cigars at a time.
After soaking for about 15 minutes--move gently around--more like pushing down in water.
Remove, change to very warm rinse water, let locks rest immersed in rinse water 15 minutes. Move gently around ever so often. Remove, and rinse again with fresh water.

Spin water out in laundry spinner (I got one from Laundry Alternative online) or spin cycle of washer.

Lay locks out on sweater dryer to dry.

Spin from flicked lock.

2manyhobbies's picture

You might try experimenting with Fuller's Earth. If you do a Google shopping search, you'll find a number of places that sell it.

I documented an experiment (not with Merino) I did here:

I was using diatomaceous earth, but there are a number of types of fine clay that fall under the category of "fuller's earth", and i'd recommend using one of those rather than diatomaceous earth. But, my experience was the the DE really helped with the grease removal, and there's historical precedent for it's use in the dry cleaning industry.