Lanolizing Wool

by Amanda Hearn · 16 comments

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I love wool and I’ve talked about it in some detail before. In that post I talk about how to lanolize wool, but I felt that photos along with further instruction may be helpful.

Let’s talk details first.  In the post I did before I talked about two means of lanolizing and washing.  DIY (Baby Wash & Lanolin) and Wool Wash with Lanolin.  Both work, but I find that a true wool wash with lanolin works better and is of course easier.  Not to mention I’ve never ended up with it all over my counter tops (hot water, soap, lanolin & shaking can evidently sometimes lead to minor messy explosions).

Over the last few months I have been trying out Sudz n Dudz products from Emmaya Naturals.  I *love* them  Their wool wash never leaves my longies feeling greasy and it lasts.  I have been using it all winter and have only washed my wool a few times (I use wool daily).  Their soaps are amazing and the scents heavenly.

They carry all sorts of wool care products.   Liquid lanolin, wool wash bars, spray lanolin and more.

Below, I am explaining how to wash/lanolize your wool with a wool wash.  The same method can be applied to a homemade wash.  If you choose not to use a well made wash, be careful!  You need to make sure that the wash and lanolin is very well mixed and keep an eye on it.  If not, you can end up with lanolin spots.  If you get a spot, I have had great luck getting them out by carefully running warm water through them.  Just be very careful.

Before you start to lanolize your wool, see if they need washed (if they have been worn, they do).  If there is any soiling from solids, lightly rinse then scrub (gently) with wool was (a bar is super handy for this) and tepid water to remove the solids.

1) Fill a basin (bowl, sink, etc.) with lukewarm water (be sure to put enough water in to cover your wool). Put a tablespoon or so of wool wash in. Swish around a little to evenly distribute.  Notice that the water will get a little cloudy.

2) Lay wool on 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.  (I like to do steps 1 & 2 twice, the first time is to rinse away dirties (drain & refill basin), the second for long lasting lanolin protection.)

3) Continue step 2 until all of your wool is under water.  Be careful to watch for any colors that might bleed.  If they will bleed, put them in another container (see right)  Let them sit for 20-30 minutes.

4) Leaving the wool in the sink, drain the water.  I like to do this so that the lanolin can sink down onto and through the wool (or so I tell myself).

5) Gently press the water out. DO NOT WRING!

6) There are two methods that you can use to get more water out to prepare for drying.  1) Lay it on a towel and roll it up to get out excess water. or 2) My preferred method.  Use the spin cycle on your washing machine.  Spin only!  No water, no agitation, just spin.  Works great and will not harm your wool!

7) Lay to dry.  I prefer to use a drying rack like this.  It folds up super thin and I stash it in our broom closet.  If you remove the excess water with a towel this part can take a couple of days if it’s a thicker item.  If you use the spin cycle on your washer, they’ll be dry overnight (or sooner!)

That’s it!  When they are all dry put them on your little one and enjoy their natural diaper covering awesomeness.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

jamaise May 16, 2010 at 6:11 am

Good to know – this will be my first time cloth diapering and I'm sure I'll be doing wool longies as well.

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noahbythesea August 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm

i'm thinking the answer to my question would be no… but could you lay them flat in the sun to dry? or is this a no no? do you have to hand wash wool every time?

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The Eco-Friendly Family - Amanda August 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm

You could lay them inn the sun to dry, but depending on the dye or how they were dyed, you run the risk of fading them. You should always hand wash as agitation will felt the wool (and typically shrink it as well). It doesn't need to be done often, so it's really not much of a problem. Plus if you let the spin cycle get the water out, they dry overnight.

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Amanda Hearn August 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm

You could lay them inn the sun to dry, but depending on the dye or how they were dyed, you run the risk of fading them. You should always hand wash as agitation will felt the wool (and typically shrink it as well). It doesn't need to be done often, so it's really not much of a problem. Plus if you let the spin cycle get the water out, they dry overnight.

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noahbythesea August 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

thank you so much!! i'm currently impatiently waiting for some wool covers i got off ebay to arrive! can't wait to try it out!

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Mrs. Obie February 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Thank you for posting this! I should be getting my first soaker in the mail this week and I am oh-so-excited to use it! ;D I bought some wool wash and lanolin wash, would I just use the wool wash when I wash them (to get the dirt off) and then lanolize them every couple of weeks or so?

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Kimberly O. February 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Thank you for posting this! I should be getting my first soaker in the mail this week and I am oh-so-excited to use it! ;D I bought some wool wash and lanolin wash, would I just use the wool wash when I wash them (to get the dirt off) and then lanolize them every couple of weeks or so?

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The Eco-Friendly Family - Amanda February 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I sort of do it all at once, if that makes sense. If you use a wash without lanolin, you'll need to lanolize them as well because the warm water/wash will remove the lanolin on them and they'd get wet feeling.

I'd just wash them every few weeks or so with the wash first, and then a light soak in the lanolin wash to finish them off.

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Amanda Hearn February 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I sort of do it all at once, if that makes sense. If you use a wash without lanolin, you'll need to lanolize them as well because the warm water/wash will remove the lanolin on them and they'd get wet feeling.

I'd just wash them every few weeks or so with the wash first, and then a light soak in the lanolin wash to finish them off.

Reply

Mrs. Chastain October 12, 2011 at 2:57 am

This is what confuses me about cloth diapers. With all the extra work that goes into them is it really cheaper? I love the aspect of being better for the environment but it seems to equal the same as disposables with the cost of time and extra energy?

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Amanda @The Eco-Friendly Family October 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

That's a great question! Cloth diapering really can save families thousands per baby, but as with all things in life, there are choices that can increase the costs (thus decreasing the savings).

Wool is not something that everyone uses, and while it is expensive to buy, it can be quite affordable to make (knit, crochet or even use an old sweater to sew into a cover). It's very breathable as well, making it a favorite of those who wish the truly stay away from synthetic materials.

Additionally, wool really is quite simple to care for and only requires occasional washing – everyone 1-3 months depending on use.

Reply

Amanda Hearn October 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

That's a great question! Cloth diapering really can save families thousands per baby, but as with all things in life, there are choices that can increase the costs (thus decreasing the savings).

Wool is not something that everyone uses, and while it is expensive to buy, it can be quite affordable to make (knit, crochet or even use an old sweater to sew into a cover). It's very breathable as well, making it a favorite of those who wish the truly stay away from synthetic materials.

Additionally, wool really is quite simple to care for and only requires occasional washing – everyone 1-3 months depending on use.

Reply

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Carly July 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Fab post! You make it look very easy for anyone to care for their wool garments. I have been doing this on my MCN’s but will have to do our jumpers and the like as well. Cheers, Carly :)

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