Pics of my mohair and tips for washing

This is my raw mohair before it is washed and then after. I band the ends and string them on a hanger and then I can swish them and soak them in water without it getting tangled. I hang it from a ceiling fan to dry. I also leave the mohair on the hanger and lay it in a glass 9 x 13 baking dish and put the hair dye on it and then rinse it well when I am done. I always use hot water and wash it with dish soap

after it is washed, hanging to dry. I do gently blot it first with an old towel

by the way for those of you who haven’t washed mohair before- be prepared to hold your nose the first time you wash it, it stinks terrible. You will have to change the water out immediately following it’s first bath as it will be very dirty and smelly. Wash it again and let it soak for 15-20 minutes in hot water a couple of times and rinse, blot dry and then dye it!

What are those black things holding it to the line?

Have you tried putting Vicks under your nose to help with the smell. It helps a lot with other bad smells. I’ve never washed raw mohair.

The black things are hair rubberbands. I buy them at walmart in the hair accessories dept. They are just the right size.

Washing the mohair

The first part making sure your fiber is really clean is the most important. Any lanolin left on your mohair will oxidize over time leaving the mohair to develop a stiff sticky feeling. Too much lanolin will cause dye to rinse off in hot water or rub off your hands as you work with it as the lanolin is melted. Lanolin contains a wax and requires very hot water and lots of PH neutral soap to remove it ,

( If you use laundry soap be sure to keep the temperature below 140 or add white vinegar to prevent alkaline conditions that damage mohair, alkaline conditions combined with heat cause mohair to become dry and brittle on the tips of the locks)

I recommend synthropol concentrate ( a detergent with out all the additives)1 tsp or Dawn 1/8 cup to 8-16 oz mohair, both are neutral ph . .I repeat the soap part several times. Then do the same with the rinse. Laundry soap can be used but keep the temperature below 135-140 as it will often make the water ph 8 or higher . I avoid using ammonia and dish washer type cleaners they are very ,very, alkaline and can easily make the fiber feel harsh at the tips.

     I wash in small lots of  4 -16 oz and use up to 10 changes of almost boiling water when I am using a neutral detergent ( water must be above 130 to dissolve lanolin )and a set of plastic baskets that allow the dirty water to drain out quickly.( I can just lift them out of the hot water and not disturb the curls)  Never let the fiber cool in the dirty water it causes the grease and wax to be redeposited on the fiber.    If you have no plastic baskets I recommend you use a net delicates bag or an onion sack  , this allows you to remove and drain while still hot  with out felting. 

Smaller batches are easier to get clean . Remember in hot weather and with time, lanolin oxidizes and is harder to remove . Solvents remove this oxidized wax and do not damage the mohair , a small amount of turpentine , mineral spirits or orange oil solvent ( my favorite to use) added to a hot soapy soak will loosen the waxes from the hair and leave a very silky feel to the fiber .( be sure to use good ventilation ) the petroleum based solvents will need a few extra washes and an airing to get rid of the smell. Which is why I use the orange solvent It smells wonderful and is made from citrus peel oil. I love the orange cleaner to get rid of the heavy unpleasant scent of buck and ram fleeces as well as the occasional fleeces that come in smelling of cigarette smoke .

Never use Chlorine bleach on mohair , it damages the hair and leaves it very harsh and too much will dissolve hair . ( drop a small lock into a cup with a bit of bleach and check it in a few hours !)

The oxygen bleaches that have no chlorine can be used to lighten stains

The advice on how to wash mohair was very helpful. I copied it to save as I have some mohair to dye and I wanted to wash it again before I did it. I found the synthropol concentrate on a site that sells dyes and other things for silk which brings up a new facet of raw mohair. What do you use to dye it.
I have some packets of dry dye just for mohair, but none of them look to be very dark. On the darkest one (sunlit brown) it calls for another product (I forget what it is) but I know I didn’t have any, nor where to get it. I’m old enough to remember when pharmacies sold chemicals and you could mix your own products, but they stopped.

I know you can use human hair dye but it takes a lot of it and that makes it pretty expensive. The dye I have is less than $2.00 to dye an ounce.

Any advice on with dyeing a dark brown would be appreciated.

I use hair color to dye my mohair and use Wella Charm Very dark brown. You can buy it from a Sally’s Hair supply. It is about $4.00 to dye an ounce which I don’t think is too bad. I also have some mohair acid dyes that you add vinegar to set the dye. That might be the “chemical” you are missing. I personally like using hair color to dye my mohair because in mine own experience the mohair came out softer and shinier. I will have to get the acid dyes out and give them a try again someday when I feel like being a “chemist”

Nice helpful reply. I remember loving Wella products about 30 years ago. I haven’t seen them for years. Angiesmiles said she used human hair dye from Big Lots, but I don’t have one in my town. I guess I’ll be looking for Sally’s and/or Big Lots.

I used to rinse my hair in vinegar to make it shine (before hair conditioner)and I use it as a final rinse on new dark clothes so they don’t fade so much, but whatever the product was, it wasn’t one in my vocabulary and I not only loved chemistry in high school, my husband loved it in college. He’s an electrical engineer, but if I ask a chemistry question I get WAY more information than I need. Once I find the product again, I’ll just ask him to get it for me for Christmas - he’s always looking for gift ideas, LOL.

I’m going to PM you for your raw mohair. I want to try this myself. I have washed, but I like the idea of starting from scratch. I keep trying to get my husband to raise goats. We haven’t sold our hay from this year so I may have a chance in persuading him. I want the milk - I love goat milk.

I love goat milk too. We got a milk goat this spring and I got to love the milk and it doesnt give me lactose intolerence problems like cows milk.

She started kicking (giving 1/2 the milk)while we milked her and she has gone into heat so we have stopped milking and hope our little nubiun buck can do the job.

I definately think you should get your self a pregnant female especially if you dont have to buy hay. We have a swiss alpine (obbenhasly)sp? and her milk taste delicious. I quess some breeds have better tasting milk than others.

The only down side is you have to be there twice a day to milk her.


I know the twice a day milking is a chore. My husband would definitely help, but I don’t know if the lady who feeds the cats would milk a goat when we go away. I may have to wait until I’m older and slowed down more. If the goat has a kid, when it gets older can you steal a glass of milk a day? Especially if they don’t have twins.

I discovered that I can drink raw cow’s milk, but when that dairy sold all their cows I tried whole organic milk Horizon brand and I can drink it just fine. After thinking I was lactose intolerant for 20 years I now know it’s something they do to milk that makes the difference. I do know that the greater fat of whole milk slows downs digestion and that may help. I also take a half bottle (1.5 oz) of Activa yogurt every morning with the milk which may be a factor. Whatever the reason I’m happy.

To get back on topic, I just sent payment for 2 bags of kidsnhair mohair so I’ll be posting about my washing experience. It should get here before we have a hard freeze and I can do the first wash it in the potting shed and dry it there too. It has hot water and electricity - so I can take my electric teapot to make sure it is hot enough - guess I’ll need a thermometer too. Oh and the camera. And I’m going to try Vicks as a fumigant.