Buying wool to make recycled diaper covers – When I buy wool to make bottoms for cloth diapering, they should contain at least 70% animal based hair/yarn/wool such as lambswool, merino, angora, alpaca and pure wool. I try by best to get 100% wool. Animal based yarns contain the natural oils needed to make the covers moisture resistant and anti-bacterial. The remainder of the materials cannot be plant based or they will allow the bottoms to absorb moisture (like cotton) and leak! It is said that wool holds about 30% of its weight in liquid. They may feel damp when the cloth underneath is wet but not yet “leak”, you’ll need to change your little one and hang the cover up to dry.
When you use wool as a cover – You need to make sure that there is enough absorbent cloth (i.e. fitted, prefold, or flat diaper) underneath to hold the amount that your little one makes. Change him/her once she is wet. When one pair becomes damp, change your baby and alternate with another bottom, air drying between each diaper change. So unless your baby soils the wool or gets it soaked, you should get through the day wearing two bottoms. I wash my wool soakers anywhere from every 2 weeks to once a month unless really soiled. No cover is “bullet proof” without a good diaper underneath it. Wool is not a water proof material.
Washing your woolies – You don’t need to rinse wool when you wash it with a wool wash, just gently squeeze out the excess water. Do not wring them out. I use Eucalan and have good results. Don’t use regular laundry detergent because it can strip the natural oils out of the wool. Be careful not to use water that is too warm and do not agitate them too much – this could cause them to felt or shrink.
To lanolize your woolies – Put a small pea sized amount of Lanolin (Nipple Cream or whichever brand you prefer) in a small baby food jar, add a drop of wool wash (or baby wash) and hot water and shake till the lanolin is dissolved. It will look milky. Some people microwave the Lanolin quickly before adding the soap and water to make sure that it is fully melted. Add this mixture in a basin or sink with room temperature water and then add your woolies. Turn your wool/ longies/ shorties/ soaker/ skirtie inside out and put in basin. Let them sit for about 20 minutes. When they are done I like to gently squeeze them and then lay them on a flat wire rack with a dish towel on top and under each pair. The towel absorbs most of the moisture. At the end of the day, I air dry them without the towel.
Wool is great for overnight diapering for preventing leaks and is a great alternative to PUL because your baby’s skin can still breath. Wool is also really really cute!