Friday, 15 October 2010


Lanolin is sheep wax

Crude lanolin constitutes approximately 5-25% of the weight of freshly shorn wool. The wool from one Merino sheep will produce about 250-300 ml of recoverable wool grease. Lanolin is extracted by washing the wool in hot water with a special wool scouring detergent to remove dirt, wool grease (crude lanolin), suint (sweat salts), and anything else stuck to the wool. The wool grease is continuously removed during this washing process by centrifugal separators, which concentrate the wool grease into a wax-like substance melting at approximately 38°C (100°F).

Lanolin and its many derivatives are used extensively in both the personal care (e.g. in high value cosmetics, facial cosmetics, lip products etc) and health care sectors. Lanolin is frequently used in protective baby skin treatment (and nursing mother) markets.

Lanolin is used commercially in many industrial products ranging from rust-proof coatings to lubricants. Some sailors use lanolin to create a slippery surface on their propellers and stern gear to which barnacles cannot adhere. The water-repellent properties make it valuable as a lubricant grease where corrosion would otherwise be a problem.

Lanolin is often used as a raw material for producing cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).

Lanolin is often used by baseball players to soften and break in their baseball gloves (shaving cream that contains lanolin is popularly used for this).

Anhydrous lanolin is also used as a lubricant for brass instrument tuning slides.

Lanolin can also be restored to woolen garments to make them waterproof, such as for cloth diaper covers.

Merino sheep


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