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Hi everyone! I have been reading your posts for awhile and find them very informative and interesting. Perhaps someone would know a way to get rid of lanolin smell in pure wool yarn? I bought this wonderful yarn in Poland (quite a bit of it) directly from the sheep grower/spiner. it is natural in color and beatiful. But it smells! I know I could make something out if it and then wash it, wash it, and wash it some more. I would rather do something about it BEFORE knitting, becasue i know that the odor will drive me nuts. Perhaps there is some product on the market I amnot aware of, some soap, or detergent? Any ideas?

smiles,
Mariola (Chicago)
 

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mariolacronin said:
Hi everyone! I have been reading your posts for awhile and find them very informative and interesting. Perhaps someone would know a way to get rid of lanolin smell in pure wool yarn? I bought this wonderful yarn in Poland (quite a bit of it) directly from the sheep grower/spiner. it is natural in color and beatiful. But it smells! I know I could make something out if it and then wash it, wash it, and wash it some more. I would rather do something about it BEFORE knitting, becasue i know that the odor will drive me nuts. Perhaps there is some product on the market I amnot aware of, some soap, or detergent? Any ideas?

If it is not already tied into skeins then skein it and put at least 4-6 figure 8 ties around the skeined yarn. Make a sink full of the hottest water you can. At least 110 F. Better if you can get it close to boiling temp. Could boil some water and put it in the hot water to get the temp up,. Use a good detergent or hair shampoo.You can also use a dish soap but you have to be careful that you do NOT use anything that has OXY or enzymes or bleach in them. Those products break down the wool and make it brittle. Add your soap to the water after it is filled and swish it around. You want about double what you would think to use for soap. Water should be very slippery feeling but it is so hot you will not want to be trying to feel that. Then take your skeins and slowly sink them into
the water. You may have to push them down with something. I like to use one of my Wok tools that looks like a large circle filled with holes. Like the bottom of a strainer but is like a big flat spoon. Then just go away for 20 minutes and forget about the yarn. You could go and poke it around a very small amount a couple times to encourage thoroughly saturating the yarn. Not much tho as you do not want to felt it. The water will become milky and cloudy from the lanolin. Important do not let it stand more than the 20 minutes as the water will cool to much and the lanolin will redeposit back on the yarn. Depending on what you used drain water, dump water or lift out yarn and toss water. Oh it is good for gardens! cool first.... Not good for septic system but will not harm if only doing small batch now and then. I would throw out on garden or lawn if doing weekly wool washing of lanolin. Run another container of your hottest water. Sink the yarn into it. It may be very soapy and try to float so you may have to push it down a bit more. let soak 5 minutes. Do two more rinses, putting a 1/2 cup of vinegar into the last rinse and letting that soak for 10 minutes. The water on the last rinse should be clear and clean. Roll wool in towel and press out excess and hang skeins to dry. Should be free of lanolin.
I love the smell of the lanolin but it does hold onto dirt and things and some people are actually allergic to it.
Mariola (Chicago)
 

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You could try Febreze in a closed bag, or the home made version that someone posted on here awhile back, but you will probably have to wash it. I used to knit a lot with it because that's what is used for genuine Aran sweaters, and they needed to be waterproof. There's an upside to lanolin.....your hands will be very soft!
mariolacronin said:
Hi everyone! I have been reading your posts for awhile and find them very informative and interesting. Perhaps someone would know a way to get rid of lanolin smell in pure wool yarn? I bought this wonderful yarn in Poland (quite a bit of it) directly from the sheep grower/spiner. it is natural in color and beatiful. But it smells! I know I could make something out if it and then wash it, wash it, and wash it some more. I would rather do something about it BEFORE knitting, becasue i know that the odor will drive me nuts. Perhaps there is some product on the market I amnot aware of, some soap, or detergent? Any ideas?

smiles,
Mariola (Chicago)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for your valuable advice. I will deffinately follow it. And, by the way, I am also a vivid gardener, and the lanolin wash sounds yummy.As a matter of fact i feed my plants pulverized banana peals, coffe grounds, and eggs shells, so a bit of lanolin would do as well. Thanks again!
 

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I would try putting a dryer sheet in a plastic bag of yarn.. and seal the bag up and shake it up a few times.. do that over a period of a few days and see what happens.. you could also go and get some essential oils.. put a few drops on some cotton balls and pop them into the bag of yarn and see what happens..
 

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Lanolin 'smell' and actual lanolin are two different things; you do need to eliminate the lanolin or be certain to store the garments (or fleece/yarn/fiber) in SEALABLE cloth containers—no plastic or other non-breathable containers so that you don't get infestations, if you're going to store them for any length of time. I've heard of some who use brown paper bags for raw fleeces, though completely sealing them isn't as easy as a zippered blanket or sweater bag of muslin.

The moths will leave their eggs and the larvae will eat through the protein fiber to get through to the 'good stuff' - the oils and dirt and suint and other materials left or deposited/trapped in the natural lanolin.
Sometimes the lanolin is purposefully let on the fiber, as for water-resistance or water-shedding but those should be air-dried completely after each wearing before storing or closeting, even if they haven't been in wet weather because they've still absorbed moisture from our bodies.
Wool fibers are hollow and can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in water/moisture.
This (and their natural elasticity) is why wool suits (and similar clothing) are able to shed wrinkles, and can be worn again and again between cleanings or pressings. They should be hung properly and allowed to hang with enough air circulation around them to evaporate this moisture, and the elasticity of the fibers will pull themselves back into place and shed most wrinkles from that day's wearing.
Most men know that if they have several good suits, they can allow a few day's rest between wearing each one and they'll keep all of them in tip-top condition that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
once again, thank you all for suggestions. your advice is greatly appreciated. I don't want to just mask the odor, I want to get rid of the lanolin. evech has suggested washing the yarn in very hot water and I think I will try that. You, my fellow knitters, are great!
 

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Whatever you decide to do PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT wash these fibres in the house (or at leat do not sluice the wash water down your drain). This could be a very expensive plumbing repair. The lanolin goes down liquid or soft then as it cools solidifies and blocks your drains. We used to have angora goats at our school and I have washed a few fleeces. Warm NOT HOT water and a very mild detergent palmolive/sunlight/dawn (not handsoap)works nicely and as some have mentioned previously a little hair conditioner and you're good to go. Also, do not agitate gently swish your fleece and if you have a garden or clothesline where you can air dry your fibre that will help as well. Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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mariolacronin said:
Hi everyone! I have been reading your posts for awhile and find them very informative and interesting. Perhaps someone would know a way to get rid of lanolin smell in pure wool yarn? I bought this wonderful yarn in Poland (quite a bit of it) directly from the sheep grower/spiner. it is natural in color and beatiful. But it smells! I know I could make something out if it and then wash it, wash it, and wash it some more. I would rather do something about it BEFORE knitting, becasue i know that the odor will drive me nuts. Perhaps there is some product on the market I amnot aware of, some soap, or detergent? Any ideas?

smiles,
Mariola (Chicago)
Well, as a shepherd, I'll suggest you use some very hot water (180 F or slightly hotter) and either some wool wash (NOT Woolite, but Eucalan or Mountain Wool Wash) and soak the yarn (if it isn't in hanks, make hanks first and tie them loosely in quarters with cotton twine) in this for about half an hour. Then take the temperature of the water and fill another container with water at that temperature (so as not to shock the yarn) with a half cup of white vinegar in it and put the yarn in this. The first bath's temperature will liquefy the remaining lanolin so it comes out of the wool. While a wool wash won't really need to be rinsed out, the second bath will strip out any remaining lanolin and the vinegar will help at that. You could add hair conditioner if you like, but it really won't cut the lanolin. Then squish as much water out as you can (personally, I'd put the hanks into a lingerie bag and pop them in my washer's final spin cycle for two minutes) and then hang them up to dry.

If the yarn still has an odor, it may have been spun from ram fleeces which will keep a somewhat musky odor for a time. That's when I'd use the Febreeze or put them in paper bags with a small bag of activated charcoal (pet fish department in your local department store) for several days.
 
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