Using Wool Diaper Covers
- Wool provides comfort in both hot and cold weather since it is so breathable.
- Wool can absorb up to 30 percent of its own weight in moisture before it becomes really damp.
- While wool can absorb moisture (water vapor), it repels liquids. The scales on the outside of the fiber cause liquid to roll off the surface of the wool fabric.
- Wool is so comfortable to wear because its elasticity means garments fit well and yield to body movement.
- Wool does not need to be washed often. When the lanolin (containing fatty acids, having an acidic pH) in the wool reacts with the urea (basic pH) in urine, a chemical reaction occurs. Acids + Bases react to create the end products of water and salt. So the urine is no longer urine - it has been neutralized thanks to this wonderful chemical reaction!
- Wool really is "self-cleaning," with no residual smell of urine, until all the lanolin is exhausted. At this time, you will begin to notice that your soaker doesn't perform as well as you know it can- this is due to the salt build-up on the wool fibers, and the fact that there is no longer enough lanolin left in the wool to power the chemical reaction that neutralizes the urine. Then you just need to wash and re-lanolize your wool- a very easy process.
Measuring for Wool Diaper Covers and Wool Soakers
To take your child's measurements, put on his/her bulkiest cloth diaper (usually a prefold or a bulkier fitted diaper). Use a tape measure, or if you don't have one available, get a length of string or ribbon that you can then lay down on a ruler or yardstick.
The waist: measure around your child's belly where the top of the soaker will sit- usually about one inch or more above the top edge of your baby's cloth diaper.
The rise: measure from where you want the top of the soaker to sit, down between baby's legs and back up again to where the top edge of the soaker should be in the back. This may be an inch or more above the top edge of the cloth diaper in the back. If in doubt, make the rise higher than you think you'll need.
The thigh: measure around the chunkiest part of your child's thigh, just below where their cloth diaper lies.
Generally, the covers will become short in the rise first as the child grows, if in doubt as to sizing, add an inch or two onto the rise measurement. The waistband can be folded down to start with if need be. The waistband will stretch as your baby's waist gets larger. For small babies, the waistband can be tightened to the appropriate waist setting. As long as the wool is in contact with the diaper, it will do its job, even if the soaker is a bit too big. The key is to have a good diaper under the wool- meaning that it fits properly, and doesn't have big gaps in the legs where urine or poo can trickle out.
Washing your wool diaper covers
Wool covers only need to be washed when they begin to retain odor- every 1-4 weeks depending on how heavily it's used, in how large of a rotation, and what type of wool is being used. If your wool soakers become soiled only in small areas you can spot clean with a bit of wool wash or baby shampoo.
Rinse your wool covers well in cool, running water and gently squeeze out excess water. This is necessary to remove the urine salts retained on the wool that dry the fibers and eventually retain odor. Fill your sink with warm water and add a lanolin-enriched wool wash. Gently agitate your covers. Apply wool wash directly to stains if needed. Soak covers as desired. Drain water from sink. While it is not necessary to rinse, rinsing in cool water will remove soap residue. Gently squeeze out excess water and lay flat to dry. You may roll the wool cover gently in a towel to remove excess moisture. Treat gently to aviod removing any lanolin that was just applied.
Lanolizing your wool diaper covers
Lanolization is recommended for new wool soakers, and when your wool covers begin to lose their waterproofing- every 2-8 weeks depending on how heavily it's used, in how large of a rotation, and what type of wool is being used. Washing and lanolizing can be done at the same time, though you generally only truly need to lanolize every second or third time you wash the wool. We recommend the initial lanolization be done with solid lanolin as it gives a heartier treatment than liquid lanolin. Liquid lanolin is fine for normal maintenance, but if you experience a decrease in waterproofing in your covers, a periodic treatment with solid lanolin is helpful. To prepare solid lanolin for the treatment, melt a small amount (minimum pea-sized, we usually use a tad more) of the solid lanolin in a cup of hot water (in the microwave is fine). Follow the directions for washing your wool covers above, except add the lanolin (either your preparation of solid lanolin or your liquid lanolin) at the point you would add the wool wash and skip the agitation. For best results, covers should be turned inside-out. Soak the covers for at least 20 minutes. If you have added too much lanolin, your covers may feel a little tacky or sticky- this is OK! The extra lanolin will work its way into your covers (and you can help it by gently massaging the cover).