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How is Wool Processed? From Sheep to Sheets: Stage 4

Understanding Wool Processing #4

In previous blog posts, we discussed the first few stages of processing wool: Selecting Wool Growers, Shearing, and Skirting, Grading & Baling.

This process is overseen by Woolgatherer Carding Mill, located just down the road from us in Montague, California. Woolgatherer supplies all the wool we use to make our natural and organic wool bedding.

This week we are diving into the fourth stage…


Once the wool has been skirted, graded and baled, it’s transported to a scouring facility to be cleaned. The process of washing grease wool is called “scouring.”

Our domestic Premium Eco Wool is scoured in the United States, while our organic wool is scoured in New Zealand, where the wool originates.

At the scouring facility workers open bales of wool, pull out each fleece, and skirt the wool once again. Next, the wool goes through huge shakers. The shakers remove loose dirt before the wool is plunged into soapy tubs of water.

At both plants our wool is washed according to our special requests. In both cases a mild, biodegradable soap is used. This soap is compliant with strict GOTS standards. We also ask that the scouring line is slowed down so that the wool is more thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. Slowing the wash process removes dirt and residual detergent more thoroughly.

The wool then passes through tubs of increasingly clean water until it reaches the end of the scouring line. After passing a careful inspection, the wool is then dried and baled for return to Woolgatherer.

You’d be surprised to learn that after removing so much grease and debris, we are left with about half the weight of wool!

Stay tuned to learn about the final stage of wool processing…

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