Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wool Part 1 - Why use wool covers with cloth diapers?

When I give information sessions to my customers I always mention that diaper covers can come in different fabrics such as PUL, polar fleece and wool. When I mention wool and specify that it needs to be handwashed I often get the wide eye reaction and the no thank you that follows. I used to think the same until I started using wool myself. It was actually one of my customers that encouraged me to use wool. She even knitted me a wool cover and a pair of longies to try with my oldest son (thank you Melisa!). Now I love using wool especially as a night time option but even during the day. So why should you choose wool as a diaper cover? Hopefully the following post will help you clarify this question.

Wool covers and cloth diapers ... why bother?

There are many advantages to using wool with your cloth diapers. And although it is usually not the first choice for fist time cloth diaperers, you should not shy away from the option.

First forget about the old scratchy wool sweater that you are thinking about as there are many wool options that provide a super soft, waterproof layer that can be used over top of all your fitted diapers. These can be used during the day, night, and all year round.

Did you know?

- Wool covers have been used with cloth diapers for over 70 years.

- Wool is the only diaper cover that is made of all natural fibers.

- Wool covers are breathable, preventing the risk of overheating as well as decreasing the incidence of diaper rashes (great option for babies with very sensitive skin).

- Wool helps to regulate the body temperature by keeping it warm during the winter and cool during the summer (who knew wool is a better option for the hot summer months!).

- Wool repels water and absorbs moisture making it an awesome waterproof cover, preventing even the most determined leaks (this is why many people turn to wool as a night time cover).

- Wool can hold up to 35% of its own weight in moisture yet it will not feel damp against the skin. The breathability of wool allows this moisture to evaporate, cooling the skin.

- Wool is easy to care for (even easier than doing a load of laundry - see below for more details on how to care for your wool products)

- Wool is naturally anti-bacterial, it does not need to be washed after every wear. Just air dry in between uses and wash only if soiled with solids, if the urine smell remains after airing out or if it is starting to leak.

- Wool contains natural lanolin creating a natural waterproof barrier.

- Wool is super comfortable for the baby as it stretches easily and offers a completely breathable diapering option.

- Wool is known for its durability making it a good option for cloth diapering more than one child as it will last you for years!

Wool is easy to care for!

Believe or not, I prefer washing my wool covers to doing a load of laundry for my other cloth diapers. It is that easy! Here is how I do it.

I wash my wool every 4-5 wears OR if it soiled with solids, if it retains urine smell even after airing it out or if it is not keeping its waterproof capacity.

I fill my laundry tub with a little bit of tepid water and add 1-2 tsp of Eucalan no rinse delicate wash. You can also use a mild soap such as baby shampoo but then you will have to rinse out the garment. Eucalan is a no rinse solution which makes my life much easier :)

In a separate small bottle, I melt approx. 1/4 tsp of 100% solid lanolin in hot water then add this to my tepid water and stir the water. I then add my wool covers/longies in the water. I squeeze them a few times (do not wring fabric) to take in the water and lanolin and let them soak for 30 min to 1 hour.

After soaking, I pull the plug from my laundry tub and let the water empty (this way I find more lanolin stays onto my garment). I then squeeze out the excess water by rolling the covers/longies in a dry towel then lay flat to dry (no dryer!).

Wool garments take a long time to dry (a full day for me) so I always make sure I have another option for night time such as another clean wool cover or I love the Stacinator So Simple cover for night time (not breathable as it is made out of PUL - but an awesome night option!).

Et voilĂ , the washing routine is done. Seems long when you write it out, but it really only takes me less than 5 minutes to put them in the tub and then less then 5 minutes to take them out and hang them. The rest of the time they are just soaking.

Lanolizing your wool is not necessary at every wash although I do it everytime but it can be done approx. once/month or when you notice that the cover is not as waterproof. New wool products are usually not lanolized so they will need to be lanolized before its first use.

In our next post, I will go over the different types of wool covers that are out these as there are many! I would love to hear about any wool products you love using and how you care for them, please feel free to add any comments.

In our store, we currently carry the Systainablebabyish organic stretch wool covers and Sustainablebabyish organic stretch wool karate pants which we adore! Stay tuned in the near future we will be adding at least 2 other wool products to our collection.

Also, please note that the super cute picture used in my post comes from Sustainablebabyish's photo gallery. Click here to see more very sute babies in wool!

Have a great week everybody and stay warm!


  1. I love the picture!!!
    I am convinced! Can't wait to try it!

  2. Hi Karine

    I just added a link to the photo gallery that the picture came from is you want to see more cute pictures of babies wearing Sustainablebabysinh wool covers.