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Wool Wash Bar

Wool Wash Bar

I love wool clothing. I don’t have much patience when it comes to knitting or crocheting sweaters, socks, hats, mittens and scarves. However, each wool article in my closet is a treasured item. There is just something about wool that is so soft and warm. I love that. There is just one problem. Taking care of your wool garments can take a little work.

Many modern detergents and laundry softeners are great with cotton, rayon, spandex, and even bamboo, but they turn wool into one of the most itchy items you own in a heartbeat. Talk about absolutely aggravating.

Today I wanted to make a wool wash bar that gently cleans and softens the fiber while keeping its life and integrity. Tomorrow we will make a wool conditioner, and Friday I will show you how to wash and care for your wool items.

This bar has a very high content of lanolin. This is what helps condition the wool, keeping it soft. Because the lanolin content is so high, you may not like it as a hand bar, but I am sure you will love it for your clothes. Just remember that when washing wool you don’t want to use hot water or scrub vigorously. This can cause the wool to shrink or distort the finished piece. Be gentle with your wool items. They will last longer for it.

SUPPLIES

Ingredients

Palm Kernel Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Lanolin
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water

Equipment

Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

RECIPE

Recipe in Ounces

4 oz Palm Kernel Oil
4 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
4 oz Lanolin
2.12 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water

Recipe in Percentages

25% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
25% Lanolin
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

INSTRUCTIONS

Now to make our wool wash bar.

Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. Lanolin is sticky and can be immensely difficult to measure out. To simplify things, I like to warm my container of lanolin so it is in a slightly molten stage. It makes weighing the lanolin out and clean up much easier.

While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Your safety is our first concern!

Weighing Oils

Weighing oils.

Waiting for Lye and Oils to cool

Waiting for lye solution and heated oils to cool.

Allow your oils and lye solution to cool. I like to put away my buckets of oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum.

When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. (Remember, lanolin is a temperature sensitive ingredient. Using lower temperatures is imperative if you don’t want a soap volcano or you want a smooth looking soap.) Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Remember, trace doesn’t describe a viscosity; it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk. That is extremely fluid!

Waiting to Add Lye Solution

Waiting to add lye solution.

Ready to Mix Soap

Ready to mix soap.

Mixing Soap

Mixing soap.

Finished Soap

Finished soap in the mold.

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can use your soap immediately, but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. It will also keep longer if your store it in an area where it doesn’t sit in water constantly.

A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! If you want a set, let our order desk know. They are awesome at taking care of special requests.

Taylor

P.S.

My empty Coconut Oil Bucket

My empty Coconut Oil Bucket

I have a funny for you readers. It isn’t very often I empty one of my large buckets of oil. When I went to make my soap, I was surprised to discover that my bucket was almost empty! I had only a few chunks of oil on the bottom. I was positive I would not have enough to make my soap.

Stubborn as always, I grabbed my trusty heat gun and started to warm the oil. I was able to get everything that was clinging to the bucket and to my little scraper. And would you believe it? I had 4.02 oz of Coconut Oil. Whew! I made it.

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