Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lanolin Extraction

A few weeks ago, there was a discussion on extracting lanolin from sheep fleece. Of course, I just had to try it. I had 2 pounds of beautiful Grand Champion white merino fleece to work with. It was just dripping with lanolin. Perfect.

The fleece was separated into 1/4 pound sections and put into lingerie bags. I decided to work 1 pound at a time. The fleece were pre-soaked in cold water for an hour. This was done twice to loosen and get rid of any sheep doodoo and dirt. I filled a very large pot with cold water and placed the 4 bags inside. The temperature was brought up slowly until it reached ~100 deg F. It simmered at this temperature for almost an hour. A second pot of water was prepared. I heated the second pot to the same temperature as the first pot. I added 1 tsp of baking soda and 1 cup of dishwashing soap. The fleece was carefully transfered into this pot for actual cleaning.

This was done for both pounds of merino. The water from the first pots were saved and let cool overnight. The next morning, I skimmed the lanolin off the top and discarded the water. Great for plants.

The lanolin was further rendered in another pot of clean filtered water. This was done 3 times. The final results was a teaspoon of pure clean lanolin. The resulting lanoline was made into a salve, using 1 part lanolin and 4 parts jojoba oil.

The salve is nice but a bit on the sticky side. Still, it was something I wanted to try and I did. Unless I have a good greasy merino fleece and a nice hot summer day, I don't think I would be rendering lanolin on a regular basis. Something to try & say yeah, I've done it.