We have a Belfast washing machine that has three separate bins in the basket, allowing us to wash two or three different fleeces at a time – provided we keep each bin balanced in weight. The basic cycle allows one wash and two rinses, although we can manually adjust this as necessary. During all the cycles, the basket slowly rotates every minute or so, with a gentle cascade of water with out any agitation (we don’t want the fiber to felt!). We have a water softening system and an on-demand water heater, allowing us to scour sheep wool at 180 degrees, and wash other fibers at 140 to 160 degrees. After the final spin cycle, we “dip test” a handful of the fiber in warm water to see how clean it is, and whether it requires additional wash or rinse cycles. It is then placed on racks to gently air dry.
|Our Belfast washer||Each bin can hold up to 3 pounds||Drying on the rack|