Lanolizing Wool Covers
September 09, 2016
Save on drying time if you follow this procedure immediately after washing your wool but before drying it. If you have machine-washable wool you can move directly from the washer to this protocol:
3. Mug & something to stir with (spoon, chopsticks, mini-whisk)
1. Fill basin with tepid water (around 90°F).
2. Fill your mug with really hot-boiling water but leave some room so you don’t spill when stirring. Between 6-8 ounces of water is a good amount to keep the solution concentrated (I usually measure the water and microwave it in the mug to get it nice and hot).
3. Add ¼ teaspoon-1 Tablespoon solid lanolin to the hot water (depending on how heavily you want to lanolize---more for extra wetness protection). A good starting point is 1 teaspoon per garment.
4. Allow the lanolin to completely melt.
5. Add emulsifier (a few drops of wool or baby wash, one or two emulsifying cubes, or a chunk of emulsifying soap). If you're using an emulsifying soap or cube, we like to let it sit a minute or two until it dissolves.
6. Stir and keep stirring until your mixture becomes milky and the lanolin goes into solution. To be certain, you can let it rest for a minute to check for un-emulsified lanolin (a thin yellow film that will float to the top of the solution).
7. If after 30 seconds of stirring the yellow lanolin is still floating on top; add more emulsifying agent a little at a time until the lanolin is emulsified and goes into solution leaving NO yellow film behind.
8. Pour the mug of emulsified lanolin into the basin and stir with your hand. Be sure the water bath isn’t above 104°F after adding the hot water/lanolin. If the bath feels too hot let it sit until it feels tepid.
9. Add your clean wool knits that are already wet. Adding dry wool to the lanolin bath can result in lanolin spots or uneven lanolin coverage.
10. Keep fully submerged by weighing them down with something (ceramic mugs work well).
11. Soak for 15 minutes or hours depending on when it’s convenient for you to finish.
12. Gently squeeze out the wool.
13. Lay wool flat on a dry towel; roll up the towel; stand or push on the rolled towel to squeeze out the water. Alternative-put it in your washing machine on a “spin only” cycle to remove excess water. If you can regulate the spin speed, choose something low/moderate. Using the spin cycle to remove excess water can significantly decrease drying time. Do not ring/twist the water out of your wool; this may cause stretching.
14. Lay flat to air dry. Avoid hanging it to dry as this can cause stretching.
15. Discard lanolin water outside and not down your drain (storm drain, yard, etc. I use it to water my citrus trees). Repeated dumping of lanolin down your drains can and will cause major plumbing issues.
Notes on supplies
- Lansinoh lanolin can be used if you don’t have access to anything else
- If you really like for your wool to be scented after washing/lanolizing the most potent thing you can use is scented solid lanolin. Yooki stocks these in larger containers and also in a scented sampler set (try 6 scents!)
Also see our post on wool washing