How to Wash your Wool Cloth Diaper CoverHow frequently should I wash my wool cover?
You should wash your wool cover every few weeks, whenever it is dirty or begins to stink. Lanolising can be done once a month or whenever you notice the cover is becoming less water resistant.
The following is a short list of things you need to have on hands when you want to wash or lanolize your wool cover:
- A basin -You can use any kind of basin to wash your wool cover. I find it easiest to use my bathroom sink, but be aware that lanolin can leave a ring around your sink. Because of this, some people prefer to use a separate plastic basin.
- Olive Oil Soap Bar
- Wool Wash (liquid wool wash, wool bar, Eucalan, homemade wool wash, etc.) and/or lanolin
- Your wool cover
- 5 minutes - yes! it's that easy to wash your wool cover!
Step 1 - RINSE: Remove urine residue from your cover by rinsing your cover well under running lukewarm water. It is important to remove the urine residue before you wash and lanolize as the urine residue can begin to break down the wool fibers and also cause your cover to stink. When finished, gently squeeze out any excess water.
Step 2 - SPOT TREAT: Using a gentle soap, such as an Olive Oil Soap Bar, wash the wool well and spot treat any stains and rub them out. Olive Oil soap will thoroughly clean your wool, but very gently so it will help prolong the life of the wool fibers, but you can also use a gentle baby shampoo, Eucalan or any wool wash bar/soap will do.
Step 3 - WASH: Fill a basin with lukewarm water. Saturate your cover with water, add some wool wash and thoroughly, but gently handwash your wool cover. Let the cover soak in the basin for about 10-15 minutes. Then rinse your cover with more lukewarm water until the water runs clear.
Step 4 - LANOLIZE (as needed): There are many different products that you could use to lanolise your wool with. You can even create your own wool wash using lanolin you may have on hand if you breastfeed - you can use Medela Pure Lan or Lansinoh Lanolin.
Using pure lanolin: Dissolve a pea size bit of lanolin in hot water emulsifying it (stir it around well) with a few drops of baby shampoo. This easiest to do in a mug - you can even pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the lanolin. Fill up your sink basin with lukewarm water and add this melted lanolin water to your basin. Swish it around with your hand well. If the water is too hot, add a bit of cool water -the water in the basin needs to be lukewarm overall. Then add your wool cover. Saturate the cover with water. Gently swish and squeeze the cover to be sure all the wonderful lanolin reaches the pores of the wool. Let the cover soak for 20-30 minutes.
Using a wool wash bar: In your basin, run a bit of warm water over the bar to melt it and create a lather with the bar. Do this for about 20-30 seconds. Fill up your basin with lukewarm water and then squish the water around in the basin mixing the wool wash into the water well. Then add your wool cover. Saturate the cover with water. Gently swish and squeeze the cover to be sure all the wonderful lanolin reaches the pores of the wool. Let the cover soak for 20-30 minutes.
Using liquid lanolin: Fill up you basin with lukewarm water and pour in the recommended amount of wool wash. Squish the water around well to make sure the wash is combined. Then add your wool cover. Saturate the cover with water. Gently swish and squeeze the cover to be sure all the wonderful lanolin reaches the pores of the wool. Let the cover soak for 20-30 minutes.
Step 5 - DRYING: Drain your sink or tub and gently squeeze out the excess water from the wool cover. No need to rinse it. Lay the wool cover on a towel and roll it to get out the remaining excess water. Lay the wool cover flat on a towel to dry.
Helpful Wool Care Hints:
- Don't be afraid of wool! Wool is natural. Wool covers are breathable. They are water resistant AND wool can absorb 30% of its weight in liquid.
- Always hand wash your wool. Avoid using a washing machine as you increase your chances of felting (shrinking) the wool. I have also found that hand dyed wool tends to bleed more in the washing machine. No matter what you have been told, just be safe and wash your wool by hand.
- Avoid very hot or cold water when washing your wool. Instead keep your water tepid (lukewarm). This will prevent your wool from felting (shrinking).
- Always rinse your wool in tepid water before washing it. Rinsing the wool first removes urine residue from the wool fibers.
- Avoid over lanolizing your wool. if your wool is gummy or sticking after it is dry, you have over-lanolized. One of the benefits of wool is that it can absorb up to 1/3 of its weight in liquid. When you over-lanolize, the wool is not only fully waterproof, but it is unable to absorb any liquid.
- Always lay your wool flat to dry. NEVER dry your wool in the dry. Avoid ringing, pulling or stretching your wool when removing moisture.
Commonly Used Wool Care Terms and Jargon:
Felting: a process of tightly binding together wool fibers using heat. With regards to wool covers, felting refers to shrinking. Most wool is felted to some extent, but wool can always be shrunk more. Never dry your wool in the dryer!
Lanolin: a waxy substance found on sheep's wool and extracted from shorn wool.
In nature, lanolin protects the skin and wool of the animal. Lanolin can be reintroduced to wool items to help make them waterproof and protect against dirt.
Longies: long wool pants used a cloth diaper cover
Shorties: shorts made of wool that are used as a cloth diaper cover
Soaker: a wool diaper cover. Can also refer to the absorbent material in the middle of a cloth diaper.
Tepid water: lukewarm or room temperature
Wicking: to absorb or draw off liquid. In the case of wool covers, wicking can be a good thing. Wool has the amazing ability to be water resistant and to absorb up to 30% of its weight in liquid. You want your wool to wick the moisture from the diaper underneath into the wool cover. However, if you find your wool cover wicking through onto clothes, you may want to add additional absorbency to the diaper and/or lanolize your wool cover.
Link to How to Care for Your Wool Covers
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