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 Fiber Sources and Discussion
 Extracting Lanolin
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diane leirer
Chatty Knitter

USA
299 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2006 :  5:00:04 PM  Show Profile Send diane leirer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm washing a Polworth fleece bought from Nancy Ortmann in Wolf Point, Montana. Using a lot of Dawn and knowing most of the lanolin will be gone from the fleece, I started wondering how the cosmetic industry extracts lanolin from fleece. I did not realise that lanolin is tecnically considered a wax! And that by boiling the wool in a salt solution and the reducing the water volume, the lanolin is easily extracted. I found this website that is very informative:

http://www.pbs.org/weta/roughscience/series3/shakers/handcream.html#lanolin4

Diane

llinn
honorary angel

USA
1650 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2006 :  8:43:55 PM  Show Profile Send llinn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you thank you thank you for the link. Not only about washing fleece, but the recipe for hand lotion.

I've been buying Eucerin for 36 or 37 years. Absolutely wonderful stuff---until about 12 years ago when the company got bought by a bigger company and they changed the formula for lotion from lanolin to lanolin stearate. It's still a good lotion, but not nearly as good as it used to be.

I really have no shame about calling people and asking questions and I did--20 years ago. They told me then that the reason it was so very good was because they added water to lanolin rather than mixing lanolin into water.

This recipe suggests whipping the water into the lanolin and I have GREAT hopes that I can duplicate eucerin's old effectiveness again. I spend 4 months of the year scratching like mad because I have hypersensitive skin and infantile ecxema. My toes look like alligator skin all winter.

So thank you again Diane for the great link.

Llinn
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Pinky Yarn
Permanent Resident

USA
1045 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2006 :  6:43:27 PM  Show Profile Send Pinky Yarn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is a VERY neat article, especially since we just talked about carbon chains and fatty acids and functional groups and stuff. Wow, chemistry in action, in my hands! I want to try that lotion recipe too!


-Katie
The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust.
Henry L. Stimson (1867 - 1950)
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quirky
Chatty Knitter

329 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2006 :  2:14:24 PM  Show Profile Send quirky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love the idea of extracting the lanolin from the wool - but I wonder what state the wool will be in after "boiling for a few hours".
Its probably cheaper just to buy the lanolin. You can get lanolin from soap making supply stores. Such as majestic mountain sage http://www.the-sage.com/ and www.esoapsupplies.com/ . You can even find it at the pharmacy in the infants/nursing section. (but its expensive)
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diane leirer
Chatty Knitter

USA
299 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2006 :  3:25:54 PM  Show Profile Send diane leirer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Update on making the lanolin hand cream from the PBS.ORG website I listed on my first post: I finally got around to making this handcream. Couldn't have been easier and I am very pleased. I bought lanolin from my local health food store that is packaged by a company called NOW(they also market vitamins).Pure lanolin is very thick/gooey at room temperature--almost like peanut butter in consistency. I used Tea Tree oil for fragrance/antibacterial properties. I plan on giving the handcream as gifts, as I bought small glass 1 ounce jars from the same health food store. It was an enjoyable 1/2 hour of my time to make it.
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sharianna
Chatty Knitter

USA
107 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2006 :  6:41:51 PM  Show Profile Send sharianna a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the site and into Diane. I would also like to add my million dollars worth. There are two other products that work wonders, shea butter and emu oil. Emu oil will soften those hands up quickly. For a super treatment, shea butter, cotton gloves overnight. Just add some emu oil to your recipe or use it straight. There are some good buys on ebay although I have my favorites.

Shari from Colorado
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KAC
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
443 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2006 :  6:53:34 PM  Show Profile Send KAC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As a heads up on the lanolin hand cream recipe: since this recipe is missing any kind of preservative, it will need to be refrigerated. (The recipe should state this, but it doesn't...) Otherwise, it will start growing little "beasties" within a short amount of time. There are many, many kinds of preservatives out there which are available at most soap supply stores. (and no, Tea Tree, Vitamin E and Grapefruit seed extract are not preservatives - they're *very* limited antimicrobials) I'd hate to see you give it as a gift, just to have it start growing things within a month or so.

I buy my lanolin from Columbus Foods http://www.columbusfoods.com and I pay $26.50 for a 10 pound box. Granted, I have a friend bring it to me when she visits from Chicago so I don't have to pay shipping, but that's still pretty cheap.

Kim
http://sanityknit.blogspot.com/
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints
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diane leirer
Chatty Knitter

USA
299 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2006 :  06:53:55 AM  Show Profile Send diane leirer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the advice about preservatives, Kim. I thought the boric acid was antimicrobial--it's commonly used as an antibacterial agent. But I will be sure to inform the recipients that they need to refrigerate it. Thanks, also, for the link to Columbus Foods.
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quirky
Chatty Knitter

329 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2006 :  05:32:59 AM  Show Profile Send quirky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Boric acid is actually used as an emulsifier. That is, it helps the oils and water stay mixed.
There are preservatives available for the hobbiest. You could try Germaben II. I have used this before and it works really well.
http://www.missionpeaksoap.com/lotion_supply.htm

But you will help your stuff stay fresh longer simply by steralizing EVERYTHING before you use it. Boil all your gear!
Or use a sanatizing rinse like "starsan". (available from beer making suppliers)
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diane leirer
Chatty Knitter

USA
299 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2006 :  3:37:16 PM  Show Profile Send diane leirer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just a short update on the lanolin handcream recipe that I posted a link to on the very first entry on this topic "Extracting Lanolin": I've had my batch of handcream sitting out unrefrigerated for about 4 weeks now and there is NO sign of any bacteria growing on/in it. But the amount I have is almost gone, as I've been using it almost everyday and I gave the rest away to friends, so I won't know going from 4 to 8 weeks if there will be any bacteria issues because I am using it up so fast. If anyone has also made this handcream and had bacteria issues, I'd be curious to know.
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KAC
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
443 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2006 :  06:55:08 AM  Show Profile Send KAC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bacteria and mold are not necessarily the same thing - you could have bacterial growth and not know it...

Kim
http://sanityknit.blogspot.com/
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints
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Ingrid_in_Sweden
Chatty Knitter

112 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2006 :  08:24:04 AM  Show Profile Send Ingrid_in_Sweden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Greetings from Sweden,

I buy my lanolin from a company when I want to made creams lotions etc. There is a little label sitting on the box - pesticide reduced lanolin. Which makes me wonder - unless you know perfectly well the Life and Woes of the fleece/sheep I would be a bit wary of extracting lanolin by yourself and using it.

On the other hand I had a look at the recipe - you don't actually need the water in it. A great water-free cream is to use about 10 -20% beeswax and then the oils of your choice, I personally love olive oil and cacao butter but you could just add a little lanolin to that.
A lotion bar is also easy to make simply use 1&3 beeswax 1/3 hard fat 1/3 oil. Melt stid and our. Let cool. Use :-)

As for nasties in you hand cream there is the kind that you can see and there is the kind you can't . So just looking and smelling is no guarantee but do cut out the water and make water free creams and lotions instead, then you and your friends should be safe. There are always bacteria and they love the water in your creams especially if you don't use a preservative, also fingers in the cream adds bacteria.

HTH,

Ingrid
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diane leirer
Chatty Knitter

USA
299 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2006 :  06:49:15 AM  Show Profile Send diane leirer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks again for people's wisdom on using lanolin and the shelf life of homemade creams. I'll err on the side of caution and keep it refrigerated. I don't think I'd ever attempt to extract the lanolin from wool myself--I'd need a lot of sheep and a lot of patience! Thanks, Ingrid, for the advice on proportions for making a handcream without water.
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