Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)


Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!

powered by Surfing Waves

Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.

    • CommentAuthora.bijl
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2007
    I am looking to build a small bothy with straw bale walls and fleece roof insulation. I am getting fleeces straight from our neighbouring farmer. Scouring (washing) the fleeces is sort of sorted, and will be laborious.

    I am stuck on the question of a suitable green treatment for moth-proofing the fleeces. Anybody got some experience or ideas about what and how to do this?
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2007
    Borax. Wash the fleece in a solution and hang out to dry. Borax is a salt that is pretty toxic to most insects but pretty harmless to humans. I think that's what Thermafleece uses. Cheap, easy and safe.
    • CommentAuthorRachel
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2007
    This topic seems to keep emerging. I would suggest you contact Thermafleece to actually find out, because from experience of friends; they used Borax, but it isn't so long lasting and now their clothes are all be eaten by moths. I've used thermafleece, love it, though I still have afew moths.. I'm sure thermafleece use more than borax, because our building regs don't accept just borax for fleeces. Good luck:smile:
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2007
    I wouldn't use borax on clothes, unless you don't intend washing them! Borax is soluble in water so it would all wash out next Monday.
    • CommentAuthorRachel
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2007
    I think you misunderstood! They used Borax on their fleeces to insulate a roof and it wore off and as a result, the moths arrived and headed for clothes and anything else around...
    Just a thought, what about untreated fleece, i.e. not scoured/washed?
    would the lanolin already naturally present in the fleece protect from moths? do sheep suffer from moth attack?

    please note I am not an expert in this, but I have some unwashed fleece from my sheep that I am willing to use as a trial.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2007
    Oh I see, Rachel. Still, it's a puzzle as I can't see how the borax can 'wear off' if it stays dry. Maybe they just didn't get enough on in the first place? I'm not sure what strenghth of solution one ought to use. Wasn't there some discussion about this here last year?
    • CommentAuthora.bijl
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2007
    Thanksfor your contributions and discussion.

    biffvernon - Borax sounds interesting but for the question of how long this treatment would remain effective.

    Rachel - I hesitate to contact Thermafleece because I doubt whether they would give away their trade secrets, but it may be worth a try.

    Dominic Cooney - I think sheep are attacked by moths which is one of the hazzards avoided by using sheep dip (or the newer spray-on treatments) and that gets done yearly. Unwashed fleece would have some protection from the last treatment before shearing, but not for long I think, and unwashed fleece do have a pungent smell.

    Borax seems the best bet so far. Might one extend its life by wrapping the fleece in plastic bags (to lie between rafters) to retain the effectiveness of the salts; or will moths or other insects simply chew through the plastic and ventilate the salts away? Also bagging the fleece might lead to condensation problems within the bags.

    So I remain unsure as to what to do. I will welcome further suggestions and ideas.
    • CommentAuthorRachel
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2007
    I wouldn't use plastic bags as the fleece needs to breathe. Try Thermafleece, they seem an approachable lot.
    As I understand it CAT have a data sheet on this subject. Apparently it explains the correct ratios, and the full range of treatments required.

    I am planing to do a similar thing using sheeps wool. I think borax will work just fine though i would like any tips on applying it to large quanties of wool i cant see that it is going to be easy to dry hundreds of fleeces with the weather were having at the moment. i would also like advice on the best way to use it in walls would it not be prone to slumping and leaving a gap? is it best to pack it tightly to avoid this or fluff it out and try and support it somehow? Thermaflece have added plastic stuuff to help it retain its shape but this seems to me to make it less disirable as it is not so biodegradable at the end of its life.
    It is worth looking into if you have an application for it as farmers are getting an absolute pittance for their wol this year and have been only to pleased to sell it to me instead for a small premium over what they would have got from the woolboard aalthough they are not strictly allowed to do this.
    I reckon i will be able to get it together for about half the price of thermaflece.
    • CommentAuthorfuncrusher
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2007
    What about a copper sulphate solution?
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2007 edited
    Posted By: a.bijlI think sheep are attacked by moths ...
    This conjours up curious pictures in my mind.:bigsmile:
    Perhaps they're Tiger Moths, Biff!

      CommentAuthorKeith Hall
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    We didn't bother treating the wool with anything. Now those long winter evenings are filled with moth-hunts!
    I realise the wool has to be treated most likely with (probably with borax) but i have seen a few references here and there to using it unwashed. I have over a tonne of the stuff stacked in my barn now and it smells quite a bit when its warm this might wear off over time and not washing it would save alot of money and hassle. I would like to hear of anyones expeiences using unwashed fleeces.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 4th 2007
    Sounds (or smells) to me like you already have all the knowledge that you need!
    If you are hand spinning it then it is easier unwashed as the lanolin allows the fibres to slip and slide. Not that I'm suggesting you hand spin over a tonne of it.
    • CommentAuthorRachel
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2007
    moths, moths and more moths.... fine if you like holey clothes
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2007
    I think the crofters on the Isle of Harris urinate on the wool as part of the process of making harris tweed? :shocked: would this mke it moth proof?
    ''moths, moths and more moths.... fine if you like holey clothes''

    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2007
    Nooo, Richy, soaking the tweed in urine has nothing to do with moths. Borax is the stuff.
    Posted By: richyI think the crofters on the Isle of Harris urinate on the wool as part of the process of making harris tweed? would this mke it moth proof?

    No, but it was a good way of getting one over on the English gentry who bought the stuff!:wink:
    • CommentAuthorEileen
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2008
    I am wondering do I need to wash sheep's wool for insulation or is it enough to soak it in Borax solution. Anyone help ?

    Yes, that's the stuff.
    • CommentAuthorShepherd
    • CommentTimeNov 25th 2008
    We keep sheep - not aware of them being attacked by moths though we do live at 850 feet on moorland so maybe no moths. Certainly not heard any mention of moth in the sheep keeping books I've read.

    With regard to unwashed fleeces full of lanolin - I once worked in a wool processing factory and we were sent a batch of fleece that had attracted flies - the sacks were crawling with maggots when we opened them.
    Have launderd around 250 sheep's fleeces recently on my farm in central Scotland. Allowed the Scottish climate to "work" on the wool over a couple of months ( sun, rain, wind,) air dry and add borax then ready for application. The lanilon in the wool is a fire hazard, also this process helps to reduce the sheep smell!! :smile:
    • CommentAuthorbathbomb
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2010
    Hello guys! Nice to meet you all.. hope you don't mind me sticking my nose in but I found you whilst looking for an answer for a customer.

    I am NOT here to advertise... want to say that first, but was concerned to read that people may not be aware that Borax is indeed toxic. I am happy to supply MSDS sheets to anyone who wants to read up a bit... it's a fab product but as with many naturally occurring substances it does need to be used cautiously. I sell it as you have probably gathered.

    Everyone should follow some basic safety measures when using it. Pregnant or hoping to be persons shouldnt use it at all in my humble opinion. The last thing I want to do is put anyone off but I felt compelled to say something. Hope that's ok!

    Out of interest, my customer has asked for instructions for treating fleeces... we sell ingredients for making soaps bath bombs and the like and natural cleaning products so I have to confess to being a bit stumped regarding this one and dont want to pass on any incorrect advice nor do I simply want to go back to her and say I don't know and can't help...

    Can I pick your brains on behalf of the customer? Borax I know can be made into a solution but doesnt completely dissolve - is it a solution that you are using? Or are you applying in powder/granule form? Any comments would be gratefully received, am off for a good look round, fascinating!
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2010
    Borax is toxic - that's kinda the point. If it weren't it wouldn't be much good for putting the moths off. The other point is that its toxicity to mammals is not much greater than sodium chloride, the stuff you put on your chips. I'm not suggesting sprinkling borax on your chips is a good idea but you and your unborn baby are unlikely to be harmed by drenching the fleece with borax solution.

    Things either dissolve or they don't. Borax dissolves in water and if you put enough of it in the water you get a saturated solution and any more won't dissolve. When the wool is subsequently dried the borax precipitates out and stays on the wool. For best results start with a saturated solution - you keep adding borax to the water until no more dissolves, then stop.

    Toxicity data are freely available on t'internet from many sources such as http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC34355#Toxicity
    Anyone know the ration one should use, of water:borax, to make a solution to treat fleece insulation?
The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   

© Green Building Press