Washing Handknits:
Eucalan No-Rinse Woolwash
 Eucalan no-rinse woolwash

In my yarn reviews, I like to use Ivory dish soap to get a realistic take on how the yarn will survive a basic washing. But for my personal handknits, I trust Eucalan above all other washing agents.

Made in Canada, Eucalan is a fully biodegradable no-rinse soap that is enriched with lanolin and eucalyptus oil. The lanolin naturally conditions animal fibers such as wool, leaving them soft and static-free, while the eucalyptus naturally repels moths.

Perhaps most intriguing of all, Eucalan does not require rinsing.

How Does it Work?
Many people have a hard time believing they can clean a garment without rinsing it. Some particularly soiled garments may require more than one wash to get clean, but in all other cases one wash will do the trick. Here's how the process works.

First, fill your sink or washing machine with lukewarm water and add Eucalan (normally one capful per gallon will suffice). Submerge your garment in the water, squeezing gently until it is fully saturated. Do not agitate, and do not run your washing machine—simply let the garment sit.

You can let it soak for 20 minutes to overnight depending on how soiled the garment is. As it sits, any dirt and debris from the garment sinks to the bottom of the bath, while the garment tends to float on the top.

When you feel the garment has had enough, simply gather it together in your hands, lift it from the bath, and gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Now you can either roll it in a towel to remove excess water, or place the garment in your washing machine and let it spin for 20 seconds or so. Lay the garment flat to dry, and bingo, you're done.

I'll admit I was hesitant at first to use a soap that doesn't create nice big bubbles and that isn't rinsed. In this regard, Eucalan requires a leap of faith, but trust me. Your beloved garment will be clean, soft, fresh-smelling, and marvelous when you're done.

I've tried Eucalan with everything—from rough Lopi to fine cashmere sweaters—and the results have been uniformly excellent. The eucalyptus and lanolin are delicate without being overpowering in either scent or residue.

The Nitty Gritty
Eucalan Woolwash comes in large 500ml bottles that retail for an average of $10.50. This may seem pricey, but one bottle will go a long way—as far as 50 to 100 garments, depending on their size and the amount of water you use.

Eucalan lavender no-rinse fine fabric washEucalan is also available with lavender oil instead of eucalyptus. This newer product ships in 250ml bottles that retail for $7 apiece.

You can also get smaller 2.1 oz. "tester" bottles of each for $3.

The company will also send you free samples of Eucalan Lavender and Woolwash to try.

You can find Eucalan at most yarn stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as online at Elann.com.

Published September 2004

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