Lanolin is the waxy substance secreted by sheep, from their sebaceous glands, which coats their fur or wool as we call it. It is secreted onto a sheep's wool as protection against water and insect bites; it has been extracted and used by humans for thousands of years. It is a mainstay in the cosmetics industry as a skin moisturizer; commercial lanolin extraction requires chemicals and centrifuges. However, for any do-it-yourself person, there is an easier way to get pure and natural lanolin.
Things You'll Need
- Large pot
- Heat source like a stove or a fire
- Raw wool
Fill a pot with water.
Add raw wool.
Boil the wool for a few hours over a reliable heat source while adding 1 to 2 tbsp. of salt to increase the yield.
Remove the raw wool from the boiling water.
Continue boiling until all the water has boiled off. When the water is gone, all that will be left will be a yellowish substance on the sides and bottom of the pot. That is raw lanolin. It can be used as is.
Tips & Warnings
- To purify your lanolin, mix in a bottle with equal parts water and olive oil. Shake vigorously for a few minutes. When the shaking is finished, the impurities will fall to the bottom, and pure lanolin will remain trapped between the water and the olive oil.
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Watch a naturalist from the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Drumlin Farm provide important information about sheep wool in this free online video.