Many of us wash our fleeces with HOT soapy water . . . some of us wash using a cold water bath . . . and then there are some brave souls who save water, and wash in a single bucket, leaving the fleece for days, fermentation-style! (Some people call this Fermented Suint Method). I have seen these techniques compared online, but never in person. So when I saw Janneke Plomp (of Wolkol) posting pictures of her own “Nature Washing” on Facebook I couldn’t resist asking HOW? WHY?
And Janneke was kind enough to provide a guest post for today! Janneke is all the way in the Netherlands . . . but thanks to the internet, it’s like she’s right here with us!
Here’s Janneke Plomp’s “How To for Nature Washing”
I do love washing my raw sheep fleeces with rainwater and sunny weather.
In my garden I have a rain-barrel so I can catch the rain for fleece washing.
How do I do it?
First I skirt my raw sheep fleece.
I take a big plastic box with a cover and fill it with rainwater from my rain-barrel.
Put the raw wool into the water and close the box.
Let it sit for a few days up to a few weeks, depending on the temperature outside.
The higher the temperature, the faster the results.
Bacteria and algae will grow in the water and they eat the dirt out of the wool.
When the wool is really dirty, the water becomes almost black.
When the alga forms on the water, you take the wool out and save the water.
Watch out! IT SMELLS BAD!!
Take a new box, fill this with hot water and clear dish soap.
Put the wool in it and let it stay for half an hour.
Than take the wool out and rinse the wool (30 min in clean hot water).
Put it in a spinner and let it dry outside.
Why do I use this method?
I need much less water to get the fleece clean.
Rainwater is much softer than tapwater so the wool will be softer after washing.
Thanks so much for sharing your method with us, Janneke!
Janneke Plomp is the owner of Wolkol; for fleeces and advice, you can get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org