Washing & Lanolizing Wool Covers

     I first considered using a wool cover when Elijah kept waking up wet from a leaky cloth diaper at night.  I thought to myself, there was no way I was going to be up any more than I already needed to be with a baby because of leaks!  Also, I really wanted a diaper that would breathe through the night to make sure there was air circulation for his little bottom (great to ward off/heal diaper rash!).  I'll be honest though...I thought it would be scratchy, hot and would shrink on me after some huge ordeal of handwashing!  After hours of research on the awesome properties of wool (naturally anti-bacterial, regulates body temperature, breathable, absorbent...and lots more!) I took the plunge and bought a wool cover.  It turned out to be my favourite cloth diapering product and has allowed Eli to go 12+ hrs at night without needing a change (unless he's dirty of course).  
Spot of cover soaking up water...
I should lanolize!
     The biggest learning curve for me was how to wash and lanolize my new favourite cover.  Lanolizing is the process of adding lanolin back to the wool and is what gives it it's 'water repellent' properties.  If you've ever used Lansinoh or another lanolin while breastfeeding...this is the same stuff! If you don't lanolize your cover at least monthly, your cover may start to leak.  (General rule of thumb:  If when you put your cover into the wash water it soaked up water quickly and sank, it REALLY needs lanolizing.  If the cover floats on the water and water on top of it just sits in beads, you don't need to lanolize.  If it's somewhere in-between, which it usually is for me, you should lanolize or else it might start leaking before your next wash.)  
    I found different methods of washing and lanolizing online and eventually stuck to one that worked for me and takes about 20 mins (that includes the 15 mins of soaking!).  I wash my cover every 2-3 weeks (unless soiled).  It could easily go longer though...I just wash so
frequently because I'm a little bit OCD about cleaning things!  
     I personally use Eucalan delicate wash (For the Canadians out there, I buy it from Enfant Style Diapers in Montreal), but any mild wash should do.  I've previously used Aveeno baby wash and it worked as well, you just need to make sure you rinse it well (Eucalan is no-rinse so you don't need to worry about the rinsing).  Eucalan also has some lanolin in it so it helps the cover go longer between lanolizing treatments.


A few rules to follow when washing wool:
  • don't use hot water or else your wool will shrink
  • avoid sudden temperature changes (cold water to hot water); always use tepid water
  • be gentle and don't handle the wet wool too much or else it could start to felt
  • always dry it FLAT; don't hang it to dry
What you'll need:
  • a sink or bucket
  • Wool wash or delicate soap (ie. baby wash)
  • pure lanolin (such as Lansinoh)
  • small container with a tight lid
Now that you're ready to try it out, here's my super-easy step-by-step to washing and lanolizing wool:

1.  Fill a sink with about 2 inches of tepid water (I like to
use the "too warm to drink, too cold to take a bath in" rule to decide the right temperature).  
2.  Put the cover in the water and very gently swish it around to get it wet.  Turn it inside out and do the same.  Pull the drain and set the cover on the side of the sink while you fill it back up with clean water.  Sometimes I add a few drops of Eucalan to this water if I want a little extra cleaning (hence the bubbles).




3.  Grab a small, clean container that has a tight fitting lid.  Fill it with HOT water. Put 1 tsp of wash (wool wash, baby shampoo, etc) into the container along with a pea-sized amount of lanolin (if you need to lanolize, otherwise omit the lanolin).







4.  Shake the mixture until the lanolin is dissolved (it should be a bit cloudy looking) and pour it into the sink, gently mixing it around with your hand to make sure it's evenly dispersed in the water (otherwise you might get lanolin spots on your cover).

5.  Put the cover back into the sink and swish it around again, giving it a few gentle squeezes to help it absorb the water and lanolin.








6.  If you're using a no-rinse wash, drain the water and go to step 7.  If you used a baby wash or other gentle wash, drain the water and fill it once more with tepid water, swish it around, and drain.
7.  Fold the cover in half or in fourths and press gently to remove some of the water.  Lay out a towel on the floor, lift the wool gently out of the sink and roll it up in the towel.  This will gently pull the majority of the water out of the cover.
8  Lay the cover on a rack or somewhere else where it'll get good air circulation to finish drying (mine is usually dry in about 24 hrs but it depends on the cover).


    I hope this method works for everyone else as well as it does for me.  If you have any specific questions feel free to post them!


(By the way, the cover I use is a Kissaluvs Wool Lover Cover and it's fantastic!  Super soft and bulletproof!  Wonderful customer service as well.)

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting, I will try this with my new covers :)

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  3. Do you let it soak for 15min at step 5?

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