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Wool Care 101


How do I care for my woolens?
Sometimes when someone asks, "How do I care for my wool diaper covers?" they are bombarded with information, overwhelming them to the point of confusion. Do a simple search of the popular cloth diaper forums, and you'll see the myriad of techniques to care for your wool products, from the simple frugal (and still effective) method to the over-the-top lanolizing with multiple lanolin products. From time to time, the safety of using lanolin is also challenged. Some people are under the mistaken impression that lanolin contains cancer causing chemicals if it is not organic. That is simply not true. Please be sure to read my article on The Safety of Lanolin for more on that subject.

Wool is a remarkable fiber because of its ability to absorb up to 35% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp. Wool is a natural, healthy, breathable, naturally anti-bacterial fiber, and its durability makes it ideal for diaper covers.

Okay, let's go over the the lanolization process first. Most WAHM-made wool items will arrive already lanolized and ready to go, but if you need to do an initial lanolization process this is how to do it.

  1. Thoroughly saturate your wool item in a sink or basin of lukewarm water. Make sure to turn the item inside out. You want the extra lanolin on the inside part that comes in contact with the diaper.
  2. Add a pea-size dollop of solid lanolin (or a tsp of liquid lanolin) to a small jar full of hot water (like a cup or two) and a drop or two of baby shampoo or wool wash (to help create an emulsion) and shake well. Let it cool a bit so that you don't felt your wool when you add this.
  3. Add the lanolin mix to the basin of water with the wool item, focusing on the diapering wet zones.
  4. Very gently squeeze the wool item, give it a swish or two to make sure the lanolin is getting into the pores of the wool, and then let it soak for about 20 minutes.
  5. Very gently squeeze the excess liquid out of your wool cover. You can roll it in a towel and lightly press on it to pull more moisture out. You     might want to use an older towel, as the dye can sometimes transfer to the towel.
  6. Lay your wool item out and gently shape it back to its original shape and let it dry. Some people prefer to hang their woolens, but that can sometimes cause stretching with heavier items.


Alrighty, that wasn't too terrifying was it? Let's move on to washing your wool item with liquid wool wash. I'm tired of saying "item". For the sake of discussion, I'm going to call it a soaker. It can be a soaker, shorts, longies, cover, whatever.

  1. Thoroughly rinse your soaker in cool water. You want to remove all the urine that the soaker has absorbed before you start washing it.
  2. Fill your sink or basin with warm water (not hot) and add a couple tsp of W.O.W. Liquid Wool Wash.
  3. Add your soaker and gently swish it around. Very gently squeeze it so that you get the suds deep into the pores of your wool.
  4. If you are using W.O.W. Liquid Wool Wash, it's not necessary to rinse your soaker.
  5. Gently squeeze your soaker to remove the excess water. Do NOT wring it. You may roll it in a towel and squeeze the remaining water out. Use an older towel, as the dye can sometimes transfer to the towel.
  6. Lay your soaker flat and gently re-shape it. Leave it to dry. Some choose to hang dry, but that may cause stretching in some heavier items.


Well, what if you want to use a wool wash bar instead of liquid? The technique is very similar to the liquid wool wash method.

  1. Thoroughly rinse your soaker in cool water. You want to remove all the urine that the soaker has absorbed before you start washing it.
  2. Fill your sink or basin with warm water (not hot).
  3. Add your soaker and gently swish it around. Lather the wool wash soap in your hands and then apply those suds to your soaker. You should not rub a bar of soap directly on your soaker.
  4. Gently squeeze your soaker with lathered hands to make sure the lanolin suds get deep into the pores of your wool.
  5. Dunk and swish your soaker in the water to remove the excess soap from your soaker. It is not necessary to thoroughly rinse the soaker.
  6. Gently squeeze your soaker to remove the excess water. Do NOT wring it. You may roll it in a towel and squeeze the remaining water out. Use an older towel, as the dye can sometimes transfer to the towel.
  7. Lay your soaker flat and gently re-shape it. Leave it to dry. Some choose to hang dry, but that may cause stretching in some heavier items.


I hope that offers a little insight into caring for your woolens. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

© 2005-2013 Whitney VanCleve-Verbin
No part of this article may be reprinted, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the author.

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