Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Wonderful World of Wool

I have to admit, it took me a long time to get on board with wool diaper covers. I live in Oklahoma, and it gets hot here. Why in the world would I make my baby hotter by wrapping her bum in a sweater? And how could I possibly expect a fabric to prevent diapers from leaking? And what’s up with not washing the cover after every use? I just could not comprehend why people loved wool diaper covers.
However, I had a little girl, and ruffled wool longies are adorable. I bought a few pairs for Paige to wear as pants. Of course, under the longies was a waterproof cloth diaper with a PUL outer. I sure wasn’t about to let any urine get on her cute pants.

Two years later I had a little boy. I was prepared. I had cloth diapered another child, and I had the cute newborn diapers from The Changing Table’s newborn rental program. I soon discovered, however, that diapering a boy is not as easy as diapering a girl. It took a couple weeks and several leaks, but I finally figured out how to fold inserts to help with the wetness in the front. Now to conquer the nighttime leaks. Although I am an advocate of frequent diaper changes, Asher would eat at night and fall right back to sleep. I couldn’t bring myself to wake him for diaper changes, so I needed a more absorbent solution. I decided to try wool again, but this time I was determined to use it the right way.

How do you use wool? Wool is absorbent. It will hold up to 30% of it's own weight in fluid. It also naturally distributes the moisture, so you do not have an excess of moisture in any one spot. To make it a bullet-proof (leak proof) solution, wool should be lanolized. I use the Imse Vimse Wool Shampoo and Wool Cure. It’s simple to use. Just hand wash the wool cover in the shampoo, mix a little of the wool cure in water, soak the cover, wring, and hang dry. You can also use pure lanoline. Just add a drop to some hot water to dissolve, then pour it into cool water and follow the instructions above.

Even without being lanolized, wool is wonderful.

1. It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial.
2. It is breathable.
3. It is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
4. It is durable and will last through many children.
5. Because it is antibacterial, it does not need to be washed much.
6. And as noted above, wool will absorb up to 30% of its own weight and redistribute the moisture.

When using a wool cover, it is important to use an absorbent fitted diaper underneath. Wool is amazing, but it won’t work alone. My two favorite fitteds are the EcoPosh Recycled Organic One Size fitted and the Blueberry Bamboo one size fitted.

Asher wears his diaper for 11 hours at night. When I take off the wool cover, it is wet inside and smells like urine. I simply hang the cover to dry. Wool will naturally salinize the urine (turn it to salt). When it's dry the smell is gone. I just shake it out a little and reuse it the next night.

When a wool diaper cover starts to smell when dry, it should be hand washed and relanolized. Depending on how often the cover is used, this may have to be done only once a month. What can be simpler than that?

The most wonderful thing about wool is how breathable it is. I change Asher every 2-3 hours during the day, but sometimes he still gets a little redness on his bottom. With a little bit of coconut oil or bum bum balm, a good fitted diaper and wool cover, his bottom will be completely cleared up in the morning....after 11 hours in a wet diaper. It is amazing!
So all of my wool fears with Paige were completely unfounded. Wool is not hot in the summer. Not only is it cooling, but it’s breathable and can help prevent and cure diaper rash. Fabric can prevent leaking, especially when lanolized, and with the natural anti-bacterial and salinizing properties of wool, you really don’t have to wash it each time. I have definitely found the love of wool. My next quest: to make my own upcycled wool covers.


  1. How do you size wool? G is 7 month about 18 lbs.

    1. Most covers are sized small, medium, large like diapers are. Hand made ones are often sized by measurements (rise, waist, length.) On the EcoPosh, I would use a size 2 for a 7 month, 18lbs. That would be the high end of a size 1 and the low end of a size 2. You could use a size 2 from now through potty training.