Caring for your wool
Wash each item separately & use only products intended for wool (NOT WOOLITE). Test colorfastness before full wash (See more on color bleed below) scented washes are discouraged. Adding 2 TBSP vinegar to your wash water may help protect from bleeding.
For diapering wool: Turn wool inside out and rinse in tepid running water to remove caustic urine salts. (It is best not to wait too long between washes)
Fill basin with tepid water & add minimal amount of wash. If using a bar, lather in your hands, not on wool. Swish gently in water as friction can cause felting. Adding 2 TBSP white vinegar may discourage bleeding. DO NOT soak more than 5 - 10 minutes. Rinse in tepid water to remove soap residue.
For superwash wool: All wool is best preserved by hand washing. However, if machine washing use only wool specific products and wash on cool/gentle or hand wash setting. Spinning an extra cycle will help it dry faster. Remove promptly. Machine drying is not recommended, though a quick air only fluff may occasionally be nice. Dry flat to shape.
(Optional step for natural wool) Lanolize as needed using a liquid lanolin, solid lanolin, lanolin balm or spray lanolin. Most products have instructions on them; however, regardless of instructions, DO NOT allow your wool to soak in the product for an extended period of time. 10 minutes is plenty. Longer can cause the wool to bloom and cause dye to destabilize and bleed. It does not need to be sticky. Over lanolizing will cause leaks when used for diapering.
To dry: The gentle spin cycle of your washing machine will help remove excess water to cut drying time. Otherwise, squeeze out water - do not wring and stretch. Place item in an old towel (one you don't really care about in case there is any dye bleeding), roll up, & gently press water out. Lay item flat, reshape & leave to dry flat. For faster drying I lay a box fan on its back (propped up on something so it isn't flat on the floor) and lay my woolies on top to dry. Its fast and makes them nice and fluffy. Hang drying may cause item to stretch and is discouraged. Do NOT dry items out in the sun as certain dye shades - particularly some purples - will fade in the sun.
ABOUT DYE "BLEEDING"
All dye (hand dyed or store bought) may bleed no matter how well it was set. Just think of the red towel you tossed in with that load... This is why so many of our guys are stuck with pink underwear right?? LOL! There are many factors that can cause this with your wool - the PH of your water, the temperature of the water, the PH change caused by urine when used as a diaper cover (which is why its best not to wait too long to wash diapering wool), certain essential oils or fragrances, even lanolin itself or any combination of the above or other factors. What can you do about it? If it is nothing more than the red or turquoise dye (for example - as they are the most common "bleeders") turning the water a bit tinted - there really is no worry.
If you experience significant bleeding you may also try re-setting the dye in a couple ways. ( You may also contact me for help at email@example.com )
1. Soak in hot water with a half cup of white vinegar , DO NOT disturb & allow to cool to room temperature before rinsing again.
2. Place item in a microwave safe bowl (large enough to accommodate all of it) with hot water and 1/2 cup vinegar. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes, allow to rest 2 minutes, repeat the heat/rest cycle 2 more times and then allow the contents to cool to room temperature before rinsing in tepid water. (Do not disturb the wool or allow the wool to dry out during this process.) This will return the wool to the proper PH balance and the steaming process will help to re-set the dye.
Treated well, your wool product is something that will last for a long time and be handed down and cherished.