Why wool? The better question is, “why not wool?”. Wool is an amazing fiber! Not only is it natural, but due to naturally occurring lanolin, it is antibacterial, water resistant, and is able to absorb a great deal of moisture without feeling wet.
Stop thinking of those awful itchy Christmas sweaters… Wool diaper covers (a.k.a. soakers) are soft, super cute, breathe great (awesome even for Houston summers!), and so easy to care for!
“So how do I care for my wool covers?” you ask? Well, I’m here to walk you through it. You just bought this wool soaker that everyone keeps telling you is the Holy Grail of the cloth diaper covers. What to do first? Lanolize!! (Directions are below.)
So, baby pees in her pre-fold/fitted with this freshly lanolized wool soaker and you need to change her. Now what to do? Is her soaker dry? If so, put a new pre-fold/fitted on and put that same soaker back on her! Super simple right? If baby really pees, or pees a few times and soaker is damp, you can just let it air dry and put a dry soaker on her while the damp one is drying on your bathroom counter, in the sun, or even on the top of your diaper bag if you are out and about.
So now we have covered pee. But what to do if baby poops? Same thing you do if baby pees, unless poop gets on the soaker, in which case you will wash the soaker, following my directions below.
Things you’ll need:
Lanolin (Such as Lansinoh)
Liquid Baby Wash/Soap
A Sink with Hot Water
Olive Oil Soap (for poop)
In a sink, (I use my bathroom sink), run the hot water until it is as hot as it gets, then turn it off. With the sink empty, plug the drain and squeeze about a 1/4 inch of lanolin out of the Lansinoh tube, a little more than pea size (for lanolizing 1-3 covers), and put it on the closed drain. (You’ll want the water to hit it when you turn the faucet back on, so below the stream of water.) Turn the hot water back on and let it run for just a bit to melt the lanolin. Then turn the water off, take the baby soap, add just a drop or two in the hot water with the lanolin and mix it till the lanolin looks like little oil drops on the water. Turn the cold water on and let it run until the water in the sink is tepid (not warm and not cold). If your water is still too hot, you can let it sit for a little while to cool it off.
Put your cover(s) in the tepid water, push it down to let the water rise over it, but do not agitate it (it will float back up, that is fine). Let it sit in the water for 15-20 minutes, then drain the water and with both hands squeeze in a ball to get the water out, but do not wring. Then, in a large bath towel, place the cover in the center and roll it up like a burrito, step on it a few times to get more of the moisture out. Unroll the cover and either lay in the sun to dry, on the bathroom counter (you’ll have to flip it to dry the other side if you do this), or on a drying rack. Cover will take an hour in the sun during the summer and up to 48 hours on the bathroom counter.
Now that we have gone over lanolizing, how do we wash the soaker? Guess what, you just did, you are washing it when you are lanolizing! The only difference is, if it gets poop on it, then you can take an olive oil bar and rub gently, either with the bar or your fingertips on the soiled spot and follow the lanolizing directions to complete.
If you don’t need to lanolize and just want to “spot wash” it, you can just push the soiled (now covered in soap) spot into tepid water and essentially rinse out the soap. If the spot doesn’t come out, do not scrub, but instead re-soap and let it sit in the tepid water for about 15 minutes.
So, let’s say baby rarely gets poop on her soaker…how often should I wash/lanolize? You should lanolize your soaker whenever you feel like it is becoming damp with just one pee. You should also lanolize if your cover ever smells of urine once dry.
“I am only lanolizing/washing my soakers once a month and barely using any soap, isn’t that gross?” Consider yourself lucky! But, yes, you do only use a small amount of soap when you lanolize, but my instructions are only for 1-3 covers. If you think about it, you are using more soap per diaper, and water (if using a HE machine) than when you machine wash a full load of diapers. Also remember pee is sterile, and wool, due to the lanolin, is antibacterial…So while you are only washing when it gets soiled or needs lanolizing it is still being washed.