Magic wool

I’ve talked before about how magical wool is, how it keeps you warm even when it’s wet (for example). But now I have a new proof that wool is magic, and it revolves around baby’s bum.

I’m going to talk about wool diaper covers. They’re magic. I read about them before Windsor arrived and the whole principle sounded like magic. But since I know wool, and it is kinda magical, I figured I’d give these things a shot.

lanolin droplet

The idea is this: wool diaper covers go over cotton diapers. They keep the pee in, keep the onesie dry, and still don’t need to be washed nearly as often as the diapers. The wool is part of the magic, but extra lanolin added to the fabric is key to the water beading up like you see above. I’m lanolizing my diaper covers just exactly as described at Green Mountain Diaper.

lanolinize washing

So the wool has to be NON machine washable (have you seen my stash? That’s the easy part) It gets washed just like you’d wash any handknit. Then I leave it in the room temp water.

lanolin

Meanwhile I melt a little lanolin in hot water, and add just a drop of dishsoap to emulsify the oils. This gets dumped into the sink and the wool soaks up the extra lanolin.

lanolinized cover

The result? Soft wool covers that keep the pee in. The diaper can be soaked, but the wool still feels dry to the touch. I can put it right back on the baby. They’re clean enough so long as I can sniff and it smells clean and woolly. Yup, welcome to motherhood, I’m checking peed on covers by holding them to my face… But it’s ok, because wool is still magical.

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9 responses to “Magic wool

  1. Love this posting because this is what I did with my kids. I knit 22 diaper covers for each one using handspun wool. I lived on an island with no access to stores so something like paper diapers were out of the question. I sewed flannel inserts and away we went. My bucket was full of flannel diapers every evening and every morning I would wash,boil and hang to dry “thousands” (according to hubby) diapers on the lines. Only every now and then would I have to wash the wool covers due to different “happenings” ! The reason I had so many woolen covers was I did not have lanolin to add to their wash. :.))
    And I did this using our wood stove. In the summer I boiled the wash outside. Motherhood is fun! Lol! Wouldn’t be without that time.

    • Wow, that’s amazing! I’m really happy to have my cotton prefolds and machine washer!! But I still wouldn’t trade it all in for disposables. Ever. The cloth seems so much better for baby’s skin.

      We have just two wool covers, so I’ve been spot-treating and hanging by the wood stove when there’s a bit of poop-splosion. I need to make more though, because I have to wash and redo the lanolin more frequently than I’d like.

  2. I think that this may be enough convincing for my sister in law to switch to the semi-disposable diapers… Don’t you just love wool!

  3. I don`t know why but I have never been able to switch to the wool diaper covers. I have a complete mental block against it for some reason. Which is a shame because they seem like nice and fast and cute knitting projects.

  4. You will be smelling things bodily for the rest of her childhood! Beautiful bum, by the way!

  5. YAY for Wool! my mum planned on using cloth with me, but since i was a surprise preemie by quite a few weeks after the hospital put me in pampers throughout my 98 day stay, I apparently really didn’t like the cloth when i came home. I didn’t like it enough that she went out and bought what the hospital had used. Today I find that a sad story because given a time machine without paradox issues, i’d have a stern talk with myself!

    I have several friends who are using cloth with their newborns and have asked for wool longies, so I’m exploring various patterns…

    • My go to pattern so far has been the vanilla soakers. But I also made a set of Evie’s all in one pants as well. But Windsor seems to run hot, so she’s better off in the short legged covers.

  6. I’ve always wondered about that – I’ve seen tons of patterns for “wool soakers” and it always seemed a bit strange that people would knit a permeable cover for a diaper when presumably the whole point would be a desire to create some sort of moisture barrier. Reading your explanation finally made it click – and it IS magic! ;-) How brilliant that a breathable soft cover can still be a moisture barrier!

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