I've tried two different methods and here's what happened.
As soon as I got my fleece, I took out half a dozen locks and washed them individually in the bathroom sink. I followed instructions given to me by Chris at Joybilee farms and filled the sink with hot water and Ivory dishwashing liquid. She actually told me to use Dawn, but Ivory's what I have and I had to try. She also said to gently rub the tips on a bar of soap - no problem, I just happen to make all our own soap. I soaked the locks for only a minute, dragged the tips over the soap, and soaked another minute. I then rinsed them by dipping into fresh not-quite-as-hot water.
Worked pretty good, but the tips are slightly stained yet.
Next experiment, I got a plastic mesh basket thing and put quite a few locks in it. I filled the sink with hot tap water (it was too hot for my tender fingers) and Ivory soap. Well, I've changed the soapy water over and over, I even let it soak all night and the result is not as good as washing the locks individually.
The lock on the left is still yucky dirty, the center lock has been washed repeatedly as a batch, and the one on the right was washed individually. So far washing individual locks wins.
I don't want to be condemned to standing at the sink washing individual locks for days! My 1.4 kg of fleece works out to 3.08 lbs which translates into too many locks to wash this way.
I started searching to see what I could find online, and came across the Yarn Harlot's blog where she descibes how she does it. Here's a link http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2007/08/28/this_is_the_way_we_wash_our_fleece.html
I just might give her method a try. I'm absolutely paranoid of ruining my fleece and I'm being sooo gentle with it! Anyway, she get's a roasting pan and lays a clean pillow case in it. She then stacks her locks all neatly in two rows on the pillow case and then folds the pillow case over the fleece, making a big sausage shape package. I don't have her method memorized so if you're inclined get the instructions straight from her site. Basically, she puts her fleece package in soapy water on the stove and turns the heat on low. She doesn't use Dawn, she uses bargain blue-coloured dish soap, so I thought using Ivory would have been ok. I have to print out her instructions and try it.
Has anyone had the tips of their fleece stubbornly remain slightly amber coloured? I have to say, it smells a lot better now though. I'd love to hear some comments.