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January 30, 2013

Washing Wool

I love wool!  I love that you don't need to wash it after every use, it's breathable, and with a good diaper underneath, it's essentially bulletproof.  But I also know that wool is kind of scary!  It's so different from other types of covers.  I think the hardest part is hand-washing it and lanolizing it properly.  But once you figure that out, wool is actually really easy!  So, here's a step-by-step tutorial of how I wash and lanolize my wool.

First, here's a new wool cover I just received from ForeverGreen Organics.
Isn't it gorgeous!!  I can't wait to try it out!!  (and be sure to check in for my review of it in a few weeks!).  Sometimes wool comes lanolized and sometimes it doesn't.  Just make sure you know (and feel free to ask) because if your cover hasn't been lanolized, it won't be waterproof.

     Here's everything I use to wash and lanolize my wool covers: 
   A glass jar, Eucalan wool wash, lanolin and baby shampoo. 

To begin with, I always wash my covers.  Although when urine and lanolin mix, they only leave salt behind, you still want to wash it out.  To wash the wool, you can either fill up your sink or a large bowl with cool/lukewarm (never hot!!) water and a little splash of detergent.  I use Eucalan wool wash--since it's specifically made for wool, it doesn't strip the lanolin out.  You can also use any other wool "safe" detergent.  Then just add your wool cover and let it soak for at least 20 minutes.  I often leave mine in there for an hour or so (and sometimes longer, if I forget!).  That's it!  What I love about using Eucalan is that I don't even need to rinse it out.  If you're using a detergent that isn't specific to wool, be sure you do rinse it, again with lukewarm/cool water.  Now your wool is clean and ready to be lanolized.  When you take the cover out of the water, gently squeeze the extra water out, but don't ever wring or squeeze wool too roughly!  When wool gets wet, it is really easily stretched and misshapen, and you don't want to damage it.
wool soaking in Eucalan bath

Now, on to lanolizing.  Lanolin comes in a paste, and you need to turn it into a liquid, so it needs to melt.  To do this, I put a little drop of baby shampoo in my glass bottle (and this is important!-if you don't add the baby shampoo, the lanolin won't dissolve into the water), along with a pea-ish size glob of lanolin.  I usually use a q-tip to get it into the bottle.

Lanolin in water,
completely dissolved
Then I fill the bottle up with really hot tap water and shake it until all the lanolin has dissolved into the water.  It turns to a white/creamy color.  You can also melt the lanolin in the microwave with the water--I've never done this.  I think it's just easier to use hot, hot tap water.

While I'm shaking up the lanolin (it usually only takes about 30 seconds), I refill my bowl or sink with clean, cool/lukewarm water.  I add the melted lanolin to this water and then add my cover.  I usually squeeze the cover gently to make sure the lanolin water gets soaked into the cover.  Then you let this soak for a while-I usually let mine soak for at least an hour; sometimes overnight.  After that, you just take it out, squeezing the extra water out gently, and let it dry!  That's it!  Not too hard, right?  Once you've done it a few times, it's really quite easy.
wool soaker in the lanolin-water

A couple other little tips:
-I usually turn my covers inside out.  Not sure if it even makes a difference, but I feel like you want the lanolin on the inside anyway, so it can't hurt!
drying the wool by rolling
it in a towel
-To get the extra water out at the end and help the cover dry faster, I often lay my soakers in a towel and roll them up and then squish the towel.  This lets the wool keep its shape while getting most of the water out.
-Really thick wool can take a few days to dry, so don't be surprised if it takes a while!  I always get impatient.  But most of my covers only take about a day.
-They also make lanolin in liquid form that you can spray onto the wet zone.  I've never tried it, but it's another option.
-Drying wool on a drying rack or even a cookie cooling rack can really speed up drying time!  I usually use one of the wire racks in my son's closet.
-Be careful with your wool when it's wet!  It can really stretch out and lose its shape-so always make sure to dry it flat!  However, it can be helpful if your wool has lost its shape, that you can stretch it out while its wet.  I had a soaker that often lost its rise and got really wide around the waist after using it for a while, so every time I washed it, I just stretched it back out, and it went right back to its original shape!

I hope this helps anyone out there who's been wanting to try out wool but was afraid of hand-washing! I promise, once you get the hang of it, its really, really easy.  And if you have any questions or trouble, feel free to ask!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! That cover is gorgeous!

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