Challenges when cleaning wool come from its alkalinity, not from its pH. The pH of a product is but one aspect of its alkalinity and does not represent all there is to know about potential adverse effects.
The fiber’s pH should be measured directly from its face yarn with a flat-surface pH meter. Acid-dyed wool will have a pH between 2.5 and 5.5, but it has been known to bleed with buffered detergents, even with a pH of 6.5. Further, it will experience a degradation known as felting if it is cleaned with unbuffered alkalines.
Some general guidelines to follow when cleaning wool are:
- Use WoolSafe-approved products and cleaning methods.
- Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning specifications. If, for example, the fiber’s pH is between 6.1 and 6.7 and it has never been cleaned before, the colorants are probably the natural color of the animal and the manufacturer’s instructions will likely allow for only dry compound extraction or dry foam extraction.
Reference: Fiber Cleaning Challenges
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