How to Wash and Lanolize Wool Diaper Covers

Wool is a popular material for overnight cloth diapering when paired with an absorbent fitted diaper. Wool covers (sometimes called wool soakers) generally have a generous cut through the back to accommodate a bulkier overnight fitted diaper, with a high, elasticized waistband and long leg cuffs that are stretchy and soft. The best wool diaper covers are made of merino, which is finely knit, breathable, and not even remotely scratchy to the touch.

Caring for wool is not difficult, just different. You can’t throw wool covers in the wash with your regular diaper laundry because the heat and agitation will felt the wool, shrinking the cover drastically and making it lose is soft stretchiness. So forget everything you know about washing cloth diapers.

Please look right here for a second.


Ok, let’s continue.

Processed wool itself is not magically waterproof. In order to make a wool diaper cover do its job of repelling moisture, it must be lanolized every now and then; that is, coated with lanolin. In addition, wool covers must be hand-washed and air-dryed.

It may sound like a huge, time-consuming hassle, but it’s really not because wool covers don’t need to be washed after every use. I’ve found that washing every 10-12 uses works for me (and I always lanolize them at the same time). You’ll know it’s time to wash/lanolize them if you feel dampness on the outside of the cover in the morning or if they start harboring a slight urine odor. And of course, you should wash them immediately if they get dirty.

To wash and lanolize your wool cover, you need a few supplies:

  • Liquid soap for delicate garments (I’m using Eucalan because I have a bottle that is going to last me forever at the rate I’m going; plus it’s a “no-rinse” formula that’s environmentally friendly.)
  • Lanolin
  • Small container for the melting the lanolin in hot water mixture
  • Large container for the lukewarm soap/lanolin mixture
  • Towel for pressing the excess water out of your freshly washed cover

1_Lanolization Supplies

You can also use a lanolized soap such as CJ’s Wool Wash instead of using lanolin and soap separately. If you use a lanolized soap, skip step 1 below.3_Creamy CJs wool wash

Step 1: Mix up hot water and 1-2 teaspoons of lanolin. You’ll feel like you are melting worms. This part grosses me out.4_Melting Lanolin

Step 2: Mix lukewarm water and soap – about 1 gallon of water to 1 teaspoon of soap. Swish around to make it bubbly. I like to use a whisk so that I can pretend I’m the Pioneer Woman.5_Stirring Soap

Step 3: Pour the hot water/lanolin mixture into soapy lukewarm water. Stir well.6_Pouring Lanolin into Soap

Step 4: Gently submerge your cover. 7_Submerge

Step 5: Go do something fun while letting it soak, fully submerged, for about 30 minutes. 8_Soak

Step 6: Press out excess water with a towel. Do not wring the wool – be extremely gentle! Let it dry without adding heat. Be patient; this may take 24 hours or longer.9_Dry on Towel

You now have a freshly washed and lanolized wool cover, and you also received a little mini spa treatment for your hands. I just love how soft and smoothe my hands feel after their lanolin bath; don’t you?


PS: If your covers feel sticky after this process, don’t worry. It means they are well lanolized. The sticky feeling will go away after a couple of uses. You should never try to strip wool.



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Easy Homemade Baby Wipe Solutions

Homemade Cloth Wipe Solution

When I was pregnant and excited about the idea of using cloth diapers, my thoughts about cloth wipes could be summed up in one word: “Gross!” 

After just a few weeks of hands-on experience using cloth diapers with disposable wipes, I discovered a few things: (1) Disposable wipes are irritatingly flimsy and usually caused my hands to get messy; (2) Disposable wipes will end up costing much more than cloth wipes; and (3) It’s no easy task to keep one hand on the baby while putting the wipes in the trash and the diaper in the pail. Maybe if I had three arms.

When I switched to cloth wipes I fell in love with the awesome scents of the spray solutions that I tried. My favorite ready-made wipe spritzes are Kissaluvs Lotion Potion and Thirsties Booty Luster. However, I recently noticed that I had all the basic ingredients for homemade solutions so I decided to whip up some batches and see what I could come up with myself.

There are four types of ingredients you can use in your homemade baby wipe solutions:

Liquids. This is really the only critical ingredient. There are plenty of people who simply use water and like it that way. Witch hazel is also commonly used; just note that the cheapest witch hazel in your local drugstore is probably about 14% alcohol which could sting if baby was ever battling a bad rash. You can also buy more expensive, alcohol-free witch hazel.

1 - Liquids

Soaps. I like using a little liquid soap in my solution because it helps get the skin really clean after a messy diaper, and I can use a soap that smells good as a built-in fragrance. If your baby has sensitive skin, be sure to use a soap that doesn’t bother his/her skin. Pure castile soap, such as the Dr. Bronner’s pictured below, is usually a good pick for sensitive skin.

2 - Soaps

Skin Nourishers. These ingredients help make the wipes glide smoothly along and keep baby’s skin nice and soft. Don’t worry, you won’t be using enough to cause repelling in your diapers. Coconut oil is a nice option as well, but only if the temperature in your house will be 76-78 degrees (F) regularly; otherwise it will solidify.

3 - Skin Nourishers

Fragrances. There are endless possibilities with essential oils! With a few of my concoctions, though, I went overboard on fragrances so I’ve decided that just a mild scented soap is good enough for me.

4 - Fragrances

You can decide exactly what you want to put in yours depending on what you have on hand, how much you want to spend on stuff you don’t have on hand, and how sensitive your baby’s skin is.

Here’s the basic formula that works for me. Instead of giving absolute measurements, I find it easier to just use parts so that it can be scaled to whatever size batch is needed.

Basic Wipe Solution Formula:
• 5-8 parts liquid
• ½ to 1 part soap
• 1-2 parts skin nourishers
• Essential oils – just a few drops

Because I like to keep my wipe solution in a spritz bottle on the changing table next to a stack of dry wipes and a carafe of hot water, and because I wanted to try a lot of small batches, I bought 3-oz spray bottles. Here are my two favorite mixes:

Pamper the Skin Mix – just fills a 3-oz bottle
• 4 Tbsp distilled water (hot)
• 1 Tbsp aloe witch hazel
• 1 Tbsp Skin Milk foaming bath
• 1 Tbsp shea baby oil
• 2 vitamin E capsules

Plain & Simple Mix – makes about 2 oz
• 8 tsp distilled water (hot)
• 2 tsp witch hazel
• 1 tsp California Baby shampoo/bodywash
• 1 tsp aloe vera gel
• 1 tsp olive oil

What are your favorite ingredients to use in wipe solutions? Do you store your wipes wet or dry?

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