Wool Diaper CoversChoosing and caring for your wool diaper cover.
Wool covers only need to be washed when they start to leak or smell of urine (or when they get soiled, of course), approximately every 3-4 weeks, as long as they are used in rotation and allowed to completely air dry between uses. Soap containing lanolin should be used, made specifically for wool. Lanolin is the key ingredient in wool that makes it work as diaper covers. Lanolin is the natural oil from sheeps, naturally found in wool, that keep the cover "clean" in spite of be in constant contact with urine. In fact, lanolin and urine together make a soap, so wool covers are in essence 'self cleaning'. Of course, the lanolin wears out after a while, and they do need to be washed and re-lanolized.
Woolies are rotated at each diaper change, and should be hung to air out & dry. I have hooks under my shelf, above the change table, so diapers are lined up in order, for easy rotation.
I have tried Aristocrats wool covers, which are wonderful at keeping moisture inside, but they are much fussier to wash being a natural untreated wool. If you had a microscope and used it to look at a fiber of natural untreated wool, you would see that the surface of the fiber isn't smooth but is made up of interconnecting links or scales. If these scaly fibers are rubbed together too much during washing or drying the scales will interlock with each other, making the woven yarn shorter and thicker. This is called "felting" and is permanent and not reversible. Wool cannot be swished, wrung, pulled, twisted or stretched in any way if one wants to avoid the undesirable shrinking and felting that results.
Aristocrats are better for overnight as they are thicker, yes, the overnight cover should be thicker than daytime. But Gail's wool covers are great for day time, as they are much easier to wash. They will still felt, a little felting is desirable as it increases the barrier protection, but they do not shrink undesirably even if left in the cold water too long.
How to wash your wool diaper covers:
- Rince your wool cover with tepid water (approx. 37ºC; not hot nor cold) to remove surface urine.
- Soak your wool diaper cover for 10-15 minutes in a bucket of tepid water with a small amount of lanolin soap wash, no agitation is required. The wool wash will work on its own without your help.
- Drain the water from your bucket and gently squeeze some of the water from your wool diaper cover. Be sure to handle it carefully, supporting all of its weight. Do not wring the woolie, only squeeze it gently.
- Refill your bucket with tepid water and place the wool diaper cover into the clean water to rinse. This will remove soap residue and any grime that didn't go down the drain. If you use no rince lanolin wash you can skp this step. If you are re-lanolizing your wool cover, add lanolin to your water. Drain the water again. Gently squeeze the diaper cover to remove additional excess water.
- Carefully place your wool diaper cover on a towel, roll up the towel and press to remove excess water.
- Lay the wool diaper cover out flat on a screen or another towel, shaping it gently back to its original shape and let it air dry. On railing at top of stairs (since warm air moves upwards in a house), or in a dry place speeds up the drying process.
Note: Not all wool is safe to wash in the washing machine so be careful when you choose wool if you want to wash it in the machine. Damage might not show the first few times wool covers are washed, but before you know it they will have shrunk considerably and it will be too late. Knitted or crocheted wool should NEVER be washed in the washing machine as it will shrink and felt and break your heart. Delicate wools should always be washed by hand.
Eucalan wool wash
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