You are currently viewing Effects of pH on Felting of Superfine Merino Wool

The article “Effects of pH on Felting of Superfine Merino Wool” written by Nancy Ballesteros from Australia has been used as part of a feature written for Felt Matters June 2023 issue. It is something which I believe will be of interest to many of our members….
We all know that felting requires agitation, lubrication (soap), water, and heat. The article focuses on the effect of lubricant on Superfine Merino felting. Soap allows water to penetrate wool, swelling cuticle scales and making fibers more elastic. A soap’s pH influences felting rate by changing elastic properties of the fiber. However, using soap with a pH lower than 7 or higher than 9 can damage the handle of Superfine Merino. Detergents with builders increase pH, while some Woolens washing products retard shrinkage. Use gentle dishwashing liquid with a pH between 7-9, and check the product’s pH before using. Start with 1ml soap to 1L water, and switch to olive oil soap for fulling. Beware of high-pH soaps like Lux Flakes and Ivory…. 

Please click here to read the full article, with her book references etc.

Janine Rees
Coordinator Editorial Committee