Wool covers are a fantastic natural, breathable, anti-microbial diapering option. Wool covers offer a moisture repelling layer while simultaneously contributing (to a point) to the diaper underneath. You can use fitted, flat, or prefold diapers underneath a wool cover for a “complete” diaper.
Washing wool is a two part process - washing and lanolizing. First, you’ll need a wool wash. One of my favorites is sloomb Soak wash in Lacey. This will give the wool cover a deep clean. Second, you’ll need to lanolize. Lanolin gives the wool its moisture repelling ability. Woolybottoms lanolin comes in one of my favorite scents, and sloomb solid lanolin is an awesome unscented choice. Sound too high maintenance? It’s quite easy, we promise, and you don’t need to wash wool after every use. Between uses, turn your wool cover inside out and allow it to air dry. Only wash when it starts getting funky (very scientific, I know, but you’ll know when it’s time), usually every few weeks. If you are only using wool at night, it’s even less than that!
Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water, and add your wool wash. Gently squeeze your wool cover to ensure the soapy water is worked through the garment, then let it soak for 15-20 minutes. If you have any tough stains, use a wool cube to spot clean. Lay wool cover between 2 clean and dry bath towels, and gently roll the towels up to remove excess water. If you are washing several covers at a time, you could also use the spin cycle on your washing machine (spin only - no water!).
Now that your wool cover is clean, you’ll need to lanolize to make it waterproof. There are 2 methods to choose from - wet or dry.
Dry method: Turn your clean and dry wool cover inside out. With your hands, massage a small amount of lanolin directly into the wool fibers. This method is also a great way to up the “waterproofedness” of your cover between washes.
Wet method: This method will require you to emulsify the lanolin. Say what? Lanolin is a natural wax produced by sheep. If you try to drop it into lukewarm water, it will remain in its waxy state. To emulsify your lanolin, mix very hot water, a drop of wool wash, and a small amount of lanolin in a small jar or container. Give it a good shake or stir. The water should turn a milky white, indicating the lanolin is properly emulsified. Next, fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Add the emulsified lanolin to the water, and give it a good mix to equalize the water temperature. Turn your wool cover inside out, and allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water, remove excess water from the wool cover, and allow to air dry. If your cover feels sticky when dry, you may have used too much lanolin. This won’t harm your wool cover or your baby, and after some wear, it will feel normal again. If it bothers you, you can rewash and lanolize.
Another option that makes lanolizing easy work is to use a liquid lanolin like Babee Greens. How to use: Add 1 tsp. lanolin to one gallon clean, tepid water. Turn clean wool cover inside out and soak in water/lanolin mixture for at least fifteen minutes.
A few notes: Never use extreme temperatures with wool, as you can “shock” the fibers, which will make them shrink and become unusable. This means no machine washing or machine drying!
Worried about wool covers being too hot? When paired with a natural fiber diaper, the combination is actually one of the most breathable diapering options.
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