During the last ten years, I have used a number of different scouring agents in my studio to process raw fleece, including Kookaburra Scour, Unicorn Power Scour and dish-washing liquids. Unicorn remains my favorite.
Early in my adventures, I learned that, while dish-washing liquid will work, many of them contain enzymes which help break down the grease. These enzymes can also weaken and damage fiber. If you do plan on using dish-washing liquid, please read the label. It will state if there are enzymes in the solution.
I’ve used Power Scour with good results on a number of different fleeces, like the Teeswater fleece below and on greasier fleeces like Corriedale and Cormo, always with satisfactory results.
Unicorn Power Scour contains no enzymes and is designed to work with natural protein fibers. It contains a powerful degreaser which removes the lanolin but doesn’t damage the fiber.
I have also noticed that Unicorn’s product doesn’t require as hot of a water temperature. For most scours, it is recommend that you use a water temperature of 140-160°f (60-71°c), but I’ve had great success with 120°f (48°c) water. This is the hottest water temperature my sink tap produces. I don’t have to heat additional water on my stove to bring the temperature up, which is a huge win in my book. Not only does it mean energy savings, but fiber is less likely to felt at lower temperatures.
Power Scour also has a pleasant scent that helps combat the sheepy smell of lanolin. I find it far more pleasant than the scent of Kookaburra products. For those with sensitivities to scented products, Power Scour also comes in an unscented formula.
Price point may be a con in this case. Power scour is very expensive up front for the amount of solution that you get. It is true that a little bit goes a long way. Others have done the leg work in determining the cost per pound: sockpr0n’s blog about Power Scour vs dish-washing liquid. When appropriate amounts are used to scour, it seems that the Power Scour is slightly more cost efficient, even though the upfront costs are nearly four times that of dish-washing liquid. How you scour will determine if this is a con or not. I don’t necessarily measure out my scour agent.
I rate Unicorn Power Scour a four, maybe even a four-and-a-half out of five stars. It is a really great product for this fiber artist. While it is expensive up front, I find that it works so well and is so pleasant to use that it is worth the money, especially when you consider the long-term savings. If you are scouring more than a few fleeces each year, this is the product for you! Less hot water, less scouring agent, more bang for your buck.
I do offer Unicorn products in my shop. I like to offer to my customer the same products that I like and use myself. You can find Unicorn products here!