Using Unicorn Fibre Products How to Clean by Fiber


Unicorn has blessed us with wonderful guides for transforming your greasy fleeces into squeaky clean billowy clouds of fiber - as well as guides on how to clean fine fibers like angora and cashmere.


Raw Fiber 101

Before you start washing here is how to prepare your wool for washing & tips on successfully washing your fleeces.

Supplies Required:

Raw Wool. We recommend skirting your wool, removing tags, and vegetable matter. Unicorn is excellent at removing grease, grime, and soil - not soap cannot dissolve vegetable matter (hay, grass, straw). If your fleece has a lot of vegetable matter, it will need additional processing (picking, carding) to become fully clean.

A Washing Receptacle appropriate to the amount of wool you will be washing. If you're just washing a couple ounces, a large bowl is perfect. For a couple pounds of raw wool, you can use a bucket or sink. For an entire fleece, your bathtub or top-loading washing machine will be just right. Use the Goldilocks Principle. Not too little. Not too much. Just right.

Hot Water. Unicorn cleans at lower temperatures, so test the hottest water that comes out of your tap. If it is too hot to touch - it's plenty hot enough to wash your wool. A temperature of 140F is sufficient if you want to test the exact temperature. We recommend turning up your hot water heater so you have plenty of hot water available while you're washing fleece. Then turn it back down when you're done to save energy. Some of the fibers below may require hotter water than what comes out of your tap. But most will not.

Unicorn Beyond Clean to Wash Greasy / Sticky / Waxy / Lanolin Wools and Mohair.

Unicorn Beyond Fibre Wash for fibers that do not hold grease (angora, alpaca, llama, cashmere, camel, etc.) but rather need dust & dirt washed from them instead of lanolin.

Unicorn Beyond Soft to Soften & Protect (optional) - if you plan on dyeing your fibers we recommend using Fibre Rinse when you are setting your handspun & dyed yarns. But if you are keeping your fibers a natural color - feel free to add some Fibre Rinse to your final rinse bath to soften and protect the wools before spinning.

A place to dry your wool when it's done being washed, direct sunlight works great. Wool can hold up to 30% of it's weight in moisture without feeling damp, so make sure it doesn't feel cool to the touch before you store it.

Cotton Pillowcases for storing your clean, washed wool. We do not recommend storing wool in plastic, as it may "sweat" moisture and mold and mildew may grow. Plastic bags can also cause fine wools like angora and cashmere to felt. However, it is okay to store washed wool in cotton pillowcases, and place those pillowcases into plastic bins to protect from odors, pets, and moths.

Helpful Hints & Tips

Protect from Moths. For additional protection of your fleeces, add a lavender sachet or cedar sachet to your bags of clean fleece - as this is a natural moth repellant and can keep your fleeces smelling fresh.

Overnight Soak. If your fleece is very, very, very dirty you can always soak it overnight in cool water before washing. This step might not be necessary, but some spinners swear by this step.


Synthetics 101

If your item has a care label, always review it before proceeding.

Synthetics are some of the easiest fabrics to clean because they are so durable. If your item can be washed in a washing machine, here is how you can use Unicorn to wash them.

Spot Remover
  • Apply one drop of Beyond Clean on stain and gently rub to work detergent into the stain. Let sit for 10 minutes. Launder as usual
Top Loading Laundry Soap
  • For a Full Laundry load - add 2 oz (4 TBSP) of Beyond Fibre Wash and use Cool to Warm Water for an Energy-Efficient Clean
  • For a Dirty Laundry Load - use Hot Water
  • For a Half Laundry Load - use 2 TBSP of Beyond Fibre Wash
HE Laundry Soap
  • For a Full Laundry load - add 1 oz (2 TBSP) of Beyond Fibre Wash and use Cool to Warm Water for an Energy-Efficient Clean
  • For a Dirty Laundry Load - use Hot Water
  • For a Half Laundry Load - use 1 TBSP of Beyond Fibre Wash

How to Clean Angora Sweaters and Knitwear

If your item has a care label, always review it before proceeding.
  • Fill your sink or a large bowl with lukewarm water
  • Put in 3 drops of Beyond Wash
  • Swirl the soap around in the water
  • Place the clothing in the large bowl and let it soak
  • Gently knead the fabric (like you're kneading bread) for two minutes
  • For softening, add two drops of Beyond Soft
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water
  • Gently squeeze or press out water
  • Lay flat to dry

How to Clean Cashmere Sweaters and Knitwear

We understand that owning a cashmere garment can seem like a big commitment, but with Unicorn's top cashmere care tips they will teach you how to get the most from your garment, and also just how rewarding cashmere can be if cared for correctly. If you thought that cleaning cashmere should be left to the professionals, you are wrong! It's time to save yourself some time and a lot of money with this cashmere care guide.

Preparation:

Begin by washing in a clean sink, it is imperative that the sink is completely clean of food or cleaning product residue as this would cause lasting damage to your garment. A good way to avoid this would be by going out and getting a brand new plastic wash basin specifically for hand washing your garments.
Fill the basin with lukewarm water (always check the label for specifics as this may vary) heat and wool are not to be combined as this leads to shrinking and disfigurement of the fabric composition. It is also very important never to stretch or wring the wool whilst it is wet, wool has very elastic properties which means that it is easily pulled out of shape and unfortunately these effects cannot be reversed.
Once your basin is filled with lukewarm water add a few drops of Beyond Wash.

Soak the Garment:

Carefully submerge your cashmere garment into the basin and swish gently, taking care not to stretch (the added density of the absorbed water will make this very easy to do, so make sure you do not pull from one end of the garment and try to distribute force evenly when you swish the garment). You should soak the garment for 10 minutes.

Rinse Off:

Gently ball the sweater up, and squeeze the water out, being sure to do so without wringing or stretching your garment. Once you are satisfied that you have removed as much excess water as possible, (without wringing or stretching) empty the basin and refill with clean lukewarm water. Swish the garment in the clean water to rinse it until the detergent is gone. It is important that you continue to use the swish technique in a basin as running under a tap can stretch the garment.

Roll:

Now that the garment is rinsed, repeat the balling up method to remove any excess water ready to be rolled. You will now need a flat surface to lay the garment on a towel (ideally white as this will ensure that no dye is transferred on to your precious cashmere garment). Very gently roll the garment and towel together, squeezing and pressing as you progress to remove any moisture left from the rinsing process.

Drying:

When drying cashmere it is essential that you use a flat surface which is resistant to moisture and leave to air dry, the towel is great for soaking up excess moisture but to fully dry the garment I would recommend moving it on to a mesh surface. The mesh allows air to circulate which really speeds up the drying process. It is important that you put the garment back into shape when laid out to dry. Place sleeves parallel to the body and be sure to square the shoulders and hem.


How to Clean Feathers

Many Fiber Artists love spinning feathers into their yarn, or using them in weavings and other fiber art projects. Here is a simple tutorial you can follow to wash chicken or other feathers for use in arts and crafts.

  • Fill a small bowl with 3 cups of warm water
  • Add 2 drops of Beyond Fibre Wash
  • Mix the Beyond Fibre Wash into the water
  • Dip the feather into the soap water, gently wipe across the feather from the quill to the tip with your fingers, and lay on a paper towel to dry.

How to Clean Fur and Fur Trim

  • Fill a bowl with tepid water and 5 drops of Beyond Clean
  • Soak the fur in the water for 10 minutes
  • Rinse gently with cool water, avoiding agitation and wringing
  • Allow to drip dry
  • To wash faux fur in a washing machine, use the gentle cycle and Beyond Wash for best results

How to Clean Raw Alpaca

Alpaca don't have any grease in their fiber - but they do love to roll around in dirt. This means your wash water will likely be dark brown, but not milky. Beyond Wash is the perfect soap for Alpaca or other camelid (Llama, Camel, Vicuna, Guananco) fibers. You can also wash Alpaca in cooler water since you don't need heat to help remove grease from the fiber.

Note: If your Alpaca is especially dirty, caked with clay, unbelievably filthy - substitute Beyond Clean instead of Beyond Fibre Wash for a thorough deep clean. But most of the time, if your Alpaca is merely dusty-dirty, Beyond Wash is sufficient.

How to Wash Raw Alpaca in a Sink
  • 1 Pound of Alpaca
  • 1 TBSP (1/2 oz) of Beyond Fibre Wash
  • Warm/Hot Water (about 2 Gallons)
  1. Mix Fibre Wash into water
  2. Submerge alpaca and make sure it is completely saturated under the water and loosely floating within the water
  3. Soak for 10 minutes
  4. Drain wate.
  5. Refill bowl of wool with hot water
  6. If the water is clear, you do not need another rinse
    • Wait 10 minutes, Drain the water, and lay wool out to dry
  7. If the water is dark brown and you cannot see thru it, there is more dirt to be removed from your fiber.
    • Add 1 TSP of Fibre Wash and sit 10 more minutes
    • Drain Water. Refill Bowl with Warm Water
    • Repeat until the water is clear or tea-colored
How to Wash Raw Alpaca in a Top Loading Washing Machine
  • 5 Pounds of Alpaca
  • 5 Tablespoons (2½ oz) of Beyond Fibre Wash
  • Top Loading Washing Machine
  1. Set Water Temp to Warm/Warm
  2. Set Wash Load Size to Large
  3. Fill the Drum with warm water
  4. Mix Fibre Wash into the water
  5. Distribute the Alpaca evenly into the tub and submerge
  6. Pull Knob on Machine to "Stop" the Wash Cycle and continue Soaking the Fiber
  7. Close Top Loading Washer Lid (if your machine activates upon the closing of the lid, keep the lid open for the entire soak)
  8. Let soak for 15-20 minutes
  9. Rinse 1 or 2 times and spin
  10. Repeat if a second soak if needed

How to Clean Raw Mohair

Since Mohair can have a waxy, greasy "yolk" on the fiber, you can soak it overnight in cool water to open the fiber and prepare it for washing. But if your mohair isn't matted with grease - an overnight soak isn't needed.

How to Wash Raw Mohair in a Sink
  • 1 Pound of Mohair
  • 2 TBSP (1 oz) of Beyond Clean
  • Hot water 140+ F / 60+ C (about 2 Gallons)
  1. Mix Soap into water.
  2. Submerge mohair and make sure it is completely saturated under the water and loosely floating within the water.
  3. Soak for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain water.
  5. Refill bowl of mohair with hot water.
  6. If the water is clear, you do not need another rinse.
    • Wait 10 minutes, Drain the water, and lay wool out to dry.
  7. If the wool is milky, there is more grease in your fiber.
    • Add 1 TSP of Soap and sit 10 more minutes.
    • Drain Water. Refill Bowl with Hot Water.
    • Repeat until the water is clear.
How to Wash Raw Mohair in a Top Loading Washing Machine
  • 5 Pounds of mohair
  • 7 Tablespoons (3-4 oz) of Beyond Clean
  • Top Loading Washing Machine
  1. Set Water Temp to Hot (turn up hot water heater thermostat if necessary)
  2. Set Wash Load Size to Large
  3. Fill the Drum with hot water.
  4. Mix Soap in.
  5. Distribute the mohair evenly into the tub and submerge
  6. Pull Knob on Machine to "Stop" the Wash Cycle and continue Soaking the Fiber.
  7. Close Top Loading Washer Lid (if your machine activates upon the closing of the lid, keep the lid open for the entire soak)
  8. Let soak for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Rinse 1 or 2 times and spin.
  10. Repeat if a second soak is needed.

How to Clean and De-Gum Raw Silk

Silkworms build cocoons around themselves, which are harvested either before or after the worms hatch into moths. If your cocoons do not have holes in them, cut them open with a sharp pair of scissors and remove the dead pupae from the inside of the cocoon. If your cocoons already have holes in them - no dead worms to deal with. Silkworms hold their cocoons together with a substance called sericin. This is the substance we will be removing to make the cocoons ready to spin into yarn.

Prepare Your Cocoons: Remove the loose fuzzy support silks from exterior of cocoons and remove any larval/pupal "skin" (golden or brown in color) from the interior of the cocoon if they are present. Fill the cocoon with cool water and these skins will float to the top. You can remove them with tweezers.

  • Fill a Pot with Water on the Stove
  • Add 50-100 cocoons
  • Add 1 TBSP (1/2 oz) of Beyond Clean
  • Bring water to a simmer (not a boil)
  • Simmer the cocoons on the stove until they lose their shape and become limp and cotton-ball like.
  • Rinse cocoons with warm water and gently squeeze to dry
  • Spread out cocoons on a towel and allow to air dry completely
  • Dye cocoons, card into batts, or spin as-is!

How to Clean Raw Wool

How to Wash Raw Wool in a Sink
  • 1 Pound of Wool
  • 1 TBSP (1/2 oz) of Beyond Clean
  • Hot water 120-140 F / 50-60 C (about 2 Gallons)
  1. Mix Soap into the water
  2. Submerge wool and make sure it is completely saturated under the water and loosely floating within the water
  3. Soak for 10 minutes
  4. Drain water
  5. Refill bowl of wool with hot water
  6. If the water is clear, you do not need another rinse
    • Wait 10 minutes, Drain the water, and lay wool out to dry
  7. If the wool is milky, there is more oil in your fiber
    • Add 1 TSP of soap and sit 10 more minutes
    • Drain Water. Refill Bowl with Hot Water
    • Repeat until the water is clear
How to Wash Raw Wool in a Top Loading Washing Machine
  • 5 Pounds of wool
  • 5 Tablespoons (2½ oz) of Beyond Clean
  • Top Loading Washing Machine
  1. Set Water Temp to Hot (turn up hot water heater thermostat if necessary)
  2. Set Wash Load Size to Large
  3. Fill the Drum with hot water
  4. Mix soap in
  5. Distribute the fibre evenly into the tub and submerge
  6. Pull Knob on Machine to "Stop" the Wash Cycle and continue Soaking the Fiber
  7. Close Top Loading Washer Lid (if your machine activates upon the closing of the lid, keep the lid open for the entire soak)
  8. Let soak for 15-20 minutes
  9. Rinse 1 or 2 times and spin
  10. Repeat if a second soak is needed

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