Wool Care  (see below for wool care info)

We're working on getting a new brand of REALLY good ;) wool wash and lanolin treatments for wool care into the shop.  CONTACT US for info.  And watch this space for some great products on their way.  :)


How do you care for WOOL Diaper Covers (Soakers) and Longies?.

Congratulations on including wool in diapering your baby!  We love wool here at Baby Cotton Bottoms and often find that once people try it, they usually love it and stay with it.  Here are a few tips and our basic wool care instructions to get you going.

First, normally we wash all our diapers together, but wool is the only exception.  There are a few wool items out there that are fully “felted” or shrunk so that they can be machine washed on hot, but most require hand washing and gentle treatment to maintain size and softness.  Yes.  We realize that sounds completely nuts.  You want me to hand wash diaper covers that are going to get peed on?!?!  And aren’t they itchy?!?!  We’re not kidding.  Dani was a total skeptic and cloth diapered for over a year before a friend forced her to try a wool cover.  She loved it so much that she learned to knit because she just had to have more.  It’s so easy once you try, and wool is so natural and breathable and soft (if you choose the right wool) that it is the perfect fiber for babies.  Plus, wool is naturally anti-microbial and the lanolin we use on the wool makes it waterproof and acts as a natural “soap” when the wool gets wet to keep the wool clean between washes.  And it’s moisturizing and softening to skin, so that’s an additional bonus.

Wash your wool covers about once every week to once every month, depending on how heavily they are used.  Listen to your wool.  It will “tell” you when you need to wash or lanolize it.  When it begins to have a musty smell or if it isn’t as leakproof, it’s time to wash.  Here’s how we do it.  I only do step 3 every third or so wash as long as I’m using a good lanolin-based soap.  Do it when you think your covers need extra waterproofing and softness.  

1.        Fill a bucket or bathroom sink with comfortably cool water.  Add a bit of soap to the water.  To add it, I lather it in my hands under the water running into the sink and a bit against the soakers in the water until the water is good and murky.  I also recommend getting a soap deck (wire or metal rack to dry the bar on) to dry it and keep it dry to make it last as long as possible.  If you take care of it and keep it dry between uses, it’ll last a LONG time.  We recommend you use a lanolin wool wash bar or lanolin wool soap (like Sheepish Grins or Eucalan) to maximize softness and maintain lanolin and waterproofing.  Some folks use baby shampoo with good results, but please use lanolin with it because shampoo strips the wool fibers and you lose all the lanolin goodness.

2.        Plunge in your soakers, longies and other wool to the soapy water.  Pay special attention to any soiled areas.  Agitate the wool gently to run the soapy water through it.  Let it sit for a few minutes.  Drain the sink and rinse.  No twisting or too much squeezing needed. 

3.        (OPTIONAL STEP)  Refill the sink with comfortably cool water again.  Put liquid or solid lanolin in a coffee cup of hot/boiling water.  I like a heavier lanolin layer, so I use about a quarter to a half teaspoon lanolin per cover.  Melt the lanolin and then dump the hot water into the sink.  Put covers back in the water and soak them for at least ten minutes, but up to overnight.  I sometimes put a little lanolin on my hands like lotion and then pat and rub it into the wet areas like the thighs and crotch.  After lanolin soaking, you don’t need to rinse. Just gently squeeze out the excess moisture.

4.        (OPTIONAL STEP) Instead of melting lanolin and soaking, you can spray on a lanolin spray at this point.  This isn’t quite as effective as soaking, but it’s great to give a little refresher when needed.

5.        Roll soakers in a towel and squeeze gently.  Then lay flat to dry.  I lay mine on a cookie cooling rack to maximize air flow to get them dry faster.  Once they’re dry, you’re good to go for a couple more weeks. 

That’s it!  Just a few minutes every few weeks to maintain your wool, and then you’ve got the best covers!  Wool should always offer the best protection, but it does depend on having enough absorbency in the diaper underneath.  So compression wicking and leaks are almost always due to not having enough diaper on first.  Either change more often or add more absorbency and that usually takes care of it.