So now I had all this wonderful, soft, smelly, dirty dog hair that needed desperately to be cleaned! As I was looking for a way to spin the dog hair the night before, I had come across a couple of YouTube videos that showed how to do it properly. I didn’t want to go through a messy process and come out the other side with ruined dog hair that couldn’t be spun.
So here’s what I did. First, I filled up a large bowl with very hot water, almost too hot to touch. I put in about a half cup of fresh smelling laundry detergent and gave it a good stir. Then I carefully took a few small handfuls of dog hair and gently placed them on top of the water. They floated, because dog hair is naturally water repellant.
Next, I slowly and gently pushed the floating dog hair down into the soapy water. It is important to place the dog hair into the soapy water, rather than running the water over the dog hair. The videos I had watched said that agitating the water was a huge no-no because it could cause the hair to start to felt. So I was careful not to wiggle the dog hair-filled water too much.
I left the dog hair in the water to soak for a few minutes, being cautious not to let the water cool down too much, because I also read that it is bad to change the temperature of the water throughout the process. So before the water cooled down at all, I began the rinsing process. (If your water does cool down, it’s okay. You’ll just have to do the rinsing process in cool water rather than hot.) This was rather messy, I must say. I was glad to have a large laundry sink to do this part in.
I pulled out the dog hair in as much of one single clump as I could and placed it in one corner of the sink without squeezing it out. Squeezing could also cause the fibers to begin felting. Then, using my fingers as sieves, I scooped up the rest of the floating hair and shook it off my fingers onto the previous clump of wet dog hair. Being careful not to rinse this clump of hair down the drain, I slowly poured out the (very, very dirty and grimy) water. If you are afraid of any dog hair accidentally going down the drain, you can place a small screen over the drain to prevent this. Since my laundry sink is large, though, I didn’t have this concern.
Then, after rinsing the bowl clean, I filled it up again with very hot water and carefully placed the clump of wet dog hair back down into it. Again being careful to resist the urge to swish it around or otherwise rub the dirt off, I waited for a few minutes to let the dog hair soak. Surprisingly, this first rinse did not have as much dirt and grime left in the water as I thought it would. Yeah! I kept rinsing again and again until the water was crystal clear. It only took about 4 rinses for me. It may take more or less, depending on how dirty or clean your dog is. Remember not to squeeze the dog hair between rinses!
Next step was to get the dog hair dry. I lifted the clump a little bit above the bottom of the sink and gently pressed it against the side of the sink to get as much dripping water out. Then I placed it on a paper towel and gently dabbed it to get some more of the wet out.
Okay, here’s where I think I messed up a bit, because I was being impatient. I really wanted to get to the spinning, and knew that air drying would take forever. So you may want to skip this next step. After I had repeated the entire process so far with all the dog hair, and had dabbed as much water out with paper towels as I could. I placed it all into an old pillow case and put it in the dryer on the “delicate, air dry” setting. I know you are saying to yourself (what?! after all the effort put into not letting it felt while washing, you put it into the dryer?!!!) I admit….. it was a foolish thing to do. Not only did the hair not dry completely, but now it was in little hair balls (kind of looked like what a cat would hack up).
Luckily, the dog hair hadn’t felted completely, though, so I was able to carefully pick each ball apart and fluff out the hair again. This time I decided to be patient and let it air dry (the right way!).
So there you have it. I was ready to start spinning…. as soon as that darn dog hair would hurry up and get dry!