Clean, grease-free fleeces are essential for quality fiber processing. Fantasy Fibers owns a Mini-Mills, Ltd fiber washer and also has two fiber dryers. Both pieces of equipment have been specially designed and built to safely as well as effectively wash and dry alpaca, angora, cashmere, llama, mohair, pygora and wool as well as other fiber fleeces.
The washer gentily washes fiber to remove greese and dirt while avoiding fiber felting. A biodegradeable detergent specifically forumlated for fiber washing is used. There are multiple wash and rinse cycles over several hours to ensure the fiber is properly prepared for follow on processing. All fiber lots are kept separated throughout the processing to ensure Customers get their animal's fiber returned to them. Drying is done on racks separated by mesh barriers so air can be drawn thru the bottom and sides, gentily floating the fiber while it is drying. Very little vegetation is removed during washing and is best removed while the fleece is still on the animal. Some vegetation removal will occur during follow on processing, but it is better and more cost effective to do this prior to or at time of shearing. We have a dehairing machine that does remove guard hair and vegetation.

You can have us do the fiber washing or wash it yourself. If you choose to do the washing yourself, please be sure to follow the instructions below.
You will receive the highest value product for the lowest cost.
If fiber is not clean and greese-free we will not run it through our machines because it will cause damage.

Washing Instructions Printable Washing Instructions

Processing requires clean, grease-free fiber wool and mohair (Alpaca, llama, dog and some other exotic fibers should be washed in warm water but do not need large amounts of detergent). Clean fiber is not difficult to achieve and will produce a higher quality product. Two methods are detailed below. Regardless of which method you choose, keep in mind, three (3) key points to good cleaning:

          1. VERY HOT WATER
          2. LOTS of DETERGENT
          3. NO AGITATION

 

Fiber Spinning Process

Using A Washing Machine

  1. Fill the washer with very hot water, as hot as you can get out of your water heater. If you have set the water temperature down on your water heater, you may want to add some boiling water, heated on the stove. Add four to five times the amount of liquid detergent that you would use for a similar size load of clothes. Turn off washer. Put fleece in washer tub, using a dowel or broom handle. Close the lid and let soak for about 45 minutes. Don't let the water get cold and do not turn washer on.
  2. Turn washer to the end of the SPIN cycle. Spin the water out of fleece. Lift fleece out and wipe inside of washer with a paper towel.
  3. Fill the washer back up with very hot water. Put fleece back in and let soak for about 30 minutes with lid closed. Don't let the water get cold and do not turn washer on.
  4. Turn washer to the end of the SPIN cycle. Spin the water out of fleece. At this point, some fleece may be ready to dry. If fleece is especially fine or dirty, you may need to repeat the wash, rinse steps again. Mohair often needs multiple washes as does merino, ramboullet and sometimes other finer wools.
  5. Some fleece may need one last rinse. Use hot water and about one-half cup of white vinegar and soak fleece 30 minutes, then spin out.
  6. Spread fleece on window screens or some other open supports to air dry.

 

Using a bath tub or other large container

Using very hot water and the same amount of detergent as above, follow essentially the same steps as for the washer method. The key to washing in some kind of tub is to have a container that you can lift the wet fleece into so that you don't have your fill water running directly on the fleece.

Some type of net made from chicken wire or heavy-duty fabric mesh can be made to help contain the fleece for lifting but the more open the fleece can be in the water, the cleaner you can get it in fewer wash and rinse sequences.

Any liquid detergent, without bleach, should work fine. However, be cautious of products with conditioners. They can leave a residue on fiber, which after time or when exposed to heat will become tacky causing nepping, noiling fiber damage and impede the carding process.

 The bottom line for getting a fleece clean is:

1. VERY HOT WATER

2. LOTS of DETERGENT

3. NO AGITATION!