Felting Soap

RCC's picture

I've just completed knitting my first wool bag for felting. The directions call for using laundry soap. I've not been able to locate laundry soap in the grocery stores in this area......or I'm not looking for the correct item! What laundry soap brands are used successfully and available or are there other laundry detergents that work as effectively?

Thanks for the help!

Rex

Comments

Tallguy's picture

Soap is soap. If you can

Soap is soap. If you can find real soap, so much better, but any detergent will do. It provides lubrication so all the fibres can rub against each other. Soap has a slight alkaline effect, which swells the wool and raises the cuticles so they will catch on each other easier.

Yes, it's the agitation that causes the felting. Hot water alone won't do much, nor will the sudden change in temperatures. It's all the moving of fibres that causes them to get all caught into a tangled mess, which will never ever come apart!

If using a machine, use the low water level, and you can throw in something to bounce around with your precious piece of knitting. Well-faded jean are good; towels are NOT good! (Don't ask) And then let the machine do it's thing-- check frequently, and stop just before it's done. The rinsing will felt a little more.

You can throw it into the dryer for a spin or two to push it a little further, but I like to shape it and then let dry out of direct sunlight, but with plenty of air movement.

You can do all this by hand too, in the sink, but I would only recommend this for small projects. Unless you have really strong wrists!

There are tools you can use as well, such as sanders and other vibrating things, and those are excellent for spot felting or for large flat sheets of felt. Remember, it's the agitation that does the trick; the moisture and soap only provide some slip so they entangle easier. You can cause felting even on dry wool.

RCC's picture

Thanks..........I've stopped

Thanks..........I've stopped looking for "real laundry soap" and have settled on some bottled liquid hand soap for this venture. Your detailed explanation is also very helpful.

Thanks,
Rex

Bill's picture

the new Knitpicks catalog

the new Knitpicks catalog arrived today...they have a several page article about felting,...and they recommend liquid dishwashing soap.
...a tablespoon full of soap to one sink/basin of hot water.

RCC's picture

Yes, I caught the article as

Yes, I caught the article as well..........I'll be felting soon with liquid dial or Dawn!

Thanks,
Rex

Bill's picture

regular bath soap is

regular bath soap is fine...like Ivory.
The important part is hot and cold water and agitation...