You can wash your woolies in a lanolin rich soap, or simply add solid or liquid lanolin to your soapy water. The lanolin helps the wool retain its water-repellant nature. Lanolin is a wax like substance found naturally in wool. Lanolin naturally wicks moisture away from the baby's diaper, and makes the wool almost water-proof.
- Gentle soap (baby soap, baby shampoo, or olive oil soap work well)
- A large bowl or a sink that can be plugged for soaking
- Lanolin (there are many different kinds out there...you can use the breastfeeding lanolin Lansinoh or PureLan, or you may be able to find it at the pharmacy)
- Jar with a tight fitting lid
- Clean, dry towel
First, you need to melt your lanolin. Take your jar, put some hot (doesn't need to be boiling) water from the tap (if it gets hot enough) and add a pea-sized amount of lanolin. You will need more lanolin if you will be lanolizing more than one item.
Add 1-2 drops of baby shampoo or soap to the jar. Put the cover on tightly and shake. The water should melt the lanolin, and mix the soap into it. The water should look somewhat cloudy and there should not be any oily drops floating on the surface. If there are, it is the lanolin that has not melted properly. All you need to do is add more hot water, or heat it a few seconds in the microwave (without the cover).
Add this soapy mixture to your bowl or sink. Then you need to adjust the water temperature so you don't shock your wool. Add some room temperature or colder water to bring the mixture to almost room temperature. Turn your covers inside out and place in the water. You can gently squeeze the covers in the water to help the water soak in. Be gentle with your wool. Allow to soak at least 20 minutes or more (no more than 24 hours).
Once your woolies are finished soaking, gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Do NOT wring! Lay your towel down on a flat surface, and roll up your wool covers with the towel. You can place the rolled towel on the floor and step on it to get as much water out.
Lay your woolies flat to dry. You can occasionally turn them right side out/inside out to help them dry faster. Do not put them in direct sunlight, as this can heat them up and may cause shrinking. Drying time can take up to 2 days. If the only cover you are using is wool, it may take a bit of planning, so that you have some clean ones to use when the others are being washed.
When do wool covers need to be washed?
One nice thing about wool is that you don't have to wash it after every use! This is because the natural lanolin in the wool, which reacts with the urine to produce a natural "soap", which will help to clean the wool and keep bacteria from growing. This means your cover will never smell like urine once it is dry! Even after being soping wet, it will still dry and smell just like wool....unless your cover needs to be lanolized! You will know your wool need a refresher lanolization when it still smells like urine once dry or if it starts to leak.
After each diaper change (when the cover gets wet) all you need to do is air dry your wool. Once dry, you can re-use it. If your wool gets soiled, you can spot wash it with a mild soap, rinse, and then lanolize if needed as above.