Back in the ’80s, I came across the same recipe for wool wash in two different, but much older, sources. The first gave it for washing woolen blankets; the second gave it for washing fishermen’s guernseys, jerseys, or sweaters. The great boon for the housemaid washing bedding was that there was no need to rinse. The advantage for the lady of the house was the moth repelling properties of the mix. And the essential element for the fisherman’s wife was that the wash cleaned without stripping the waterproofing oils from the wool.
The recipe was 2 fl oz Eucalyptus Oil, 8 fl oz Methylated Spirits, and 10 oz Pure Soap Flakes. Put the ingredients in a jar, close it, and shake and/or stir until goopy. Two tablespoonfuls dissolved in a washtub of tepid water was the recommended dose.
For a number of years, I made and used this mixture with great success. Then, things changed. No matter how clothed and in my right mind I appeared, it got harder and harder to buy Meths. The lady behind the counter could not be convinced that I wasn’t going to drink the stuff or use it in preparation for taking one of Holmes’ 2% solutions. Pure soap flakes became difficult to find. Aroma therapy filled the air. Eucalyptus oil bottles got fancier; and the price went up. My world turned to smelly socks and dingy sweaters.
That was until I found Eucalan.
Eucalan does everything that the old mixture did and with less agitation. It also adds lanolin – wool oil – rather than replacing the lost oil in the woolens with another natural, but not native, oil. I use the eucalyptus version for sweaters and socks and the natural version for hunting socks. Having found Eucalan, I can breathe more easily knowing that my socks and sweaters are clean, soft, and much less pungent.