All About Wool

by Amanda Hearn · 7 comments

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So, you’ve heard about using wool as a cover for cloth diapers (or maybe not) , and you want to know more.

Wool is a wonderful and natural way to go in the world of cloth. Not only is it beautiful, but it his highly functional.

Let’s talk the properties of wool.

Antibacterial & Anti-fungal
Wool treated with Lanolin is water resistant, air permeable, and slightly antibacterial, so it resists the buildup of odor. (1)

Breathable
Wool is a natural fiber. That, right off the bat helps give it breathable properties. Wool fibers are crimped and when the fibers all combine they create pockets of air within the fabric or yarn. This makes wool wonderfully breathable and insulating.

Good In All Seasons
Wool always absorbs moisture from the atmosphere of greater humidity and releases it to the drier environment as it creates a balance in moisture conditions. This temperature regulating characteristic makes wool a versatile all-season fabric. (2)

Water Resistant
Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp or clammy. (2)

How to care for wool.
See a step by step tutorial here.

Wool is surprisingly low maintenance and simple to care for.

There are several similar methods of taking care of wool. Here are a few simple methods.

Washing, no lanolin.

*If there is any soiling from solids, lightly rinse then scrub (gently) with baby wash and tepid water to remove the solids.

1) Fill a basin (bowl, sink, etc.) with lukewarm water.

2) Put your wool into the water and gently push it into the water. Move it around gently to saturate it. I like to turn my wool inside out at this point. Gently swish it around again.

3) Drain the water.

5) Gently squeeze water out. DO NOT WRING!

6) Lay it on a towel and roll it up to get out excess water.

7) Lay flat to dry. (This part can take a couple of days if it’s a thicker wool piece.)

Wool Wash with Lanolin

*If there is any soiling from solids, lightly rinse then scrub (gently) with baby wash and tepid water to remove the solids.

1) Fill a basin (bowl, sink, etc.) with lukewarm water. Put a tablespoon or two of wool wash in. Swish around a little to evenly distribute.

2) Put your wool into the water and gently push it into the water. Move it around gently to saturate it. I like to turn my wool inside out at this point. Gently swish it around again.

3) Let it sit (20-30 minutes should do it).

4) Leaving the wool in the sink, drain the water.

5) Gently squeeze water out. DO NOT WRING!

6) Lay it on a towel and roll it up to get out excess water.

7) Lay flat to dry. (This part can take a couple of days if it’s a thicker wool piece.)

Baby Wash & Lanolin

*If there is any soiling from solids, lightly rinse then scrub (gently) with baby wash and tepid water to remove the solids.

1) Get a bit of hot water to melt a small glob of lanolin in. Add a few drops (small squirt) of baby wash (I use Burt’s Bees), mix well. I like to use my microwave to get the water really hot to melt the lanolin well. A bottle of some sort would work well too, so that you can shake it up to mix everything well.

2) Fill a basin (bowl, sink, etc.) with lukewarm water. Put the wash that you just made into the water. Swish around a little to evenly distribute.

3) Put your wool into the water and gently push it into the water. Move it around gently to saturate it. I like to turn my wool inside out at this point. Gently swish it around again.

4) Let it sit (20-30 minutes should do it).

5) Leaving the wool in the sink, drain the water.

6) Gently squeeze water out. DO NOT WRING!

7) Lay it on a towel and roll it up to get out excess water.

8) Lay flat to dry. (This part can take a couple of days if it’s a thicker wool piece.)

The many styles of wool.

Wool covers come in many, many, many shapes, styles, types, etc.

Interlock
- Interlock is similar to most fabrics in that it comes in yardage, is cut and sewn into whatever shape or style that you’re looking for.

Knit
– Knit wool is just what it says, knit. The item will be made from wool yarn. Knit is adorable, stretchy and functional.

Crochet
– Crocheted wool is similar to knit. It is made from wool yarn. It tends to be less stretchy than knit, but uses more wool and is often more absorbent, or “bulletproof” in diaper lingo, because of that.

Recycled – Recycled wool can be a couple of different things. Many people will use an old sweater to cut up and sew into a soaker, pair of longies, shorties, etc. Some people will unravel the sweater and use the recycled yarn to knit or crochet an item. Many people have good luck looking at thrift stores for items to use.



Soakers – These resemble underwear a bit. The cover the diaper and may or may not have a little bit around the legs for extra leak protection.




Longies - These are basically wool pants.



Shorties - Similar to Longies, except these are, you guessed it, shorts.



Skirties - These tend to be a soaker (underneath) with an attached skirt.


Wraps - These often resemble standard diaper covers. They often have a snap, button or velcro closure.

How to measure for wool.

So, you want to try wool, and the sizing is confusing. Many items don’t come in a standard small/medium/large. Many are custom made. Here’s how to measure your child. It’s best to do this with a diaper on for an accurate fit.

Waist: Use your measuring tape and measure at your baby’s natural waist. This should be about the belly button, or just above.

Rise: Measure from the belly button, down through the legs and up to their lower back (just above the diaper).

Inseam: Measure from the bottom of your babies diaper to the floor (or bottom of the foot), with baby’s leg straight. (I like to add 1/2 inch to grow.)

Hip: Measure the widest area on the combined diaper & hips.

Thigh: Measure around the chubbiest part of their upper thigh.

Sources:
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool
(2) http://www.sheepusa.org

Do you have pics of different types of wool items not listed here? Additional helpful information?Please feel free to leave a comment or email me and I’d be happy to add it!

amanda@theecofriendlyfamily.com

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kitty October 3, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I am so glad I found your blog! I have read a lot of great tips. I plan on cloth diapering and the idea is a little overwhelming to me but the tips here have helped me feel a little better.

Reply

Zwerver January 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

So, can wool definitely not go in the washing machine? And do you have to change the cover each time you change the diaper? Or are wool covers reusable? Thanks :)

Reply

Amanda Hearn January 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Definitely do not wash in the washer. You can use the spin cycle though to remove the water. I believe some people do use the washer to lanolize, by filling it with warm water (smallest setting) adding wool wash and allowing the wool to sit, as you would in the sink. Then turning on the spin cycle (not agitation!)to remove the water.

Wool can be used multiple times without needing to be washed, it's part of the beauty of using wool. It can go weeks, even months with light use) before needing to be washed. When I use wool regularly, I wash it about monthly.

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Jessica D. August 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Great post about wool, thanks! : ) This is what I plan on using with prefolds for future #2. I went through thinking and researching about all the choices of cloth diapering until I came down to the most economical, natural, least amount of maintence/laundering and best for baby’s bottom-prefolds & wool : ) I’m excited!! Also you can find great deals on wool soakers, covers, longies, shorties, etc. on Etsy that people have made themselves, that’s where I’ll be getting mine new because unfortunately I’m not crafty of skilled enough to make my own lol! If you’re looking for gently used you can always look at diaperswappers.com or other sites like them. I just came across your blog today through Pinterest & look forward to exploring it more, as my husband & I too try to strive to live as “green” as possible and frugalily : )

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givenchy antigona bag July 5, 2013 at 6:35 am

Apple looking at bigger iPhone screens, multiple colors sources

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Calista August 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Help! My SIL washed my wool longies in the washing machine on the hot wash/cold rinse cycle and used Gain (scented) detergent, and lots of it! Can they be salvaged? They shrunk but were a little big to start with. Now they have a super strong odor, but I can still feel a bit of lanolin on the inside. What do you think? This was my baby’s first pair and I love them!! Thanks!!

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Katie Jurisch September 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Thank you for sharing this info! I purchased sloomb shorties a cpl months ago and have been too intimidated (read ”chicken”) to prep and use them. It’s occurring to me that I spent WAY to much on them to let them collect dust, though, so I’m gonna get over it and prep them tomorrow. :)

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