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How to Wash a Sheep Fleece

After shearing a sheep, its fleece is dirty, dingy and requires a thorough cleaning. Washing sheep fleece removes the dirt as well as lanolin, the yellow-waxy material that wool-bearing animals naturally secrete. Even though washing raw sheep fleece requires only a few items and little prep time, you can still wash it incorrectly. Improper washing of the sheep fleece can cause damage to the material. Too much agitation causes the fleece to felt and tangle, while grease left behind from missed lanolin makes the wool prone to rips and tears.

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  1. Remove grass, large pieces of dirt, faeces and other debris from the sheep fleece carefully.

  2. Fill a large, plastic container with hot water. The water temperature should reach 71.1 degrees Celsius. Use a container large enough to comfortably hold the sheep fleece.

  3. Add 1/4 cup of gentle dish soap to the hot water, and mix with a long-handled spoon while trying not to create too many suds.

  4. Submerge the wool fleece carefully and gently in the soapy water. Refrain from agitating the fleece when submerging it in the hot water. Push the raw wool fleece carefully into the water with the long-handled spoon.

  5. Soak the wool in the hot, soapy water for 20 minutes. Remove the saturated sheep fleece from the dirty water and carefully place it on the drying rack.

  6. Rinse the large, plastic container clean and fill once again with 71.1 degrees Celsius water. Add 1/4 cup of gentle dish soap and mix with the long-handled spoon. Submerge the damp fleece back in the water and let sit for another 20 minutes before removing it from the dirty water and placing on the drying rack.

  7. Repeat Step 6 if the fleece wool is still dirty. Lay the fleece on the drying rack and let dry overnight. During the drying process, gentle flip the fleece over and rotate several times to allow for proper drying.

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Things You'll Need

  • Large, plastic container
  • Thermometer
  • Gentle dish soap
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Drying rack

About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.

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