Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wool For Use With Cloth Diapers

Wool works wonderfully with cloth diapers!  At first wool can seem intimidating, but it is actually quite easy to care for and use.  Wool is naturally antibacterial and can be used several times over before washing.  It is breathable, but very resistant to leaking.  Many mothers find wool to be a great solution for night time diapering or over a pocket diaper when out and about just to catch those occasional leaks.  Once you get started you'll be hooked; I get so many compliments on my girls' cute woolies!  Here are a few tips and links to get you started.

Options: a "soaker" is a diaper cover that is worn under clothing (or with babylegs), a "skirtie" is a skirt/ soaker combination that works as the diaper cover, "longies" are pants, and "shorties" are shorts made of wool... my DH laughs at the "ie" on the end of everything, but hey, I didn't make up the names.  Wool can be crocheted or knitted from 100% wool yarn, sewn out of a wool sweater, or purchased.  

Washing:  Wool needs to be hand washed, but it can go quite some time between washings.  Fill a small basin with lukewarm water.  (You don't want to use your sink because the lanolin can clog your pipes.)  Pour in a small amount of wool wash or gently rub a wool wash bar to suds the water a bit.  Place your wool in the water (being sure its not too warm or cold or it will shock the wool and shrink it), and gently swirl it a bit.  If you have any stains you can rub a wool wash bar on the stain itself.  Otherwise just let the wool soak for a while (20 minutes to a couple hours) so that it absorbs the lanolin.  Rinse the wool with lukewarm water and then roll it in a towel and squeeze it to dry.  Lay the wool out flat until dry.

Lanolizing: if you're having trouble with your wool leaking, you may want to lanolize it.  I don't find this to be necessary very often though.  You can melt a pea sized amount of lanolin in a cup of hot water and add that to your washing basin of lukewarm water, being sure that the lanolin is melted and the water is not too hot when you add the wool and soak as above.  I've found the lanolin to be a bit clumpy when I do this and prefer to use liquid lanolin instead.  If you're using the liquid, just add it in when you wash every now and then.  You can also spray lanolin right on your wool to help waterproof it when needed.  Here is a recipe for making the spray.  

Abbys Lane sells wool wash products- you can use either the wool wash bar or the liquid for general washing and then either the liquid lanolin or the spray lanolin for lanolizing.  I love Abby's Lane and they have free shipping on all orders, which is great.  I've personally found a wool wash bar to last quite a long time.  You can also use Eucalan wool wash, which some people have been able to find locally or in a yarn shop.  

Llamajama has some cute wool longies and things, here is a collection of short articles on wool to get you started.

Katrina has developed an amazingly easy (and free) pattern for wool soakers and longies- check here and look on the right side under "links" for the actual pattern.  You can use wool interlock (which can be expensive to buy) or cut up a wool sweater.  

This is my favorite crocheting pattern.  I use the Morning Glory longies pattern and just shorten the legs to make shorties.

If you'd like to purchase some wool, Disana wool is very soft.  Swaddlebees wool has snaps on the side so you can adjust the fit.  Remember that wool can be pricey, but you only need a few pieces that will last you a long time.  

Just a side note here- if you order from Abby's Lane as a first time customer mention my name and email address and I'll receive a small credit for referring you.  Thanks!  Let me know if you have any more questions about wool.

(Christy - mercy589 (at) yahoo (dot) com)


  1. I am going to have to look into this since we are entering the world of cloth diapers in a few weeks. Thanks for posting!

  2. I LOVE woolies! I make my own woolie covers and shorties, and they are by far my favorite cover over a cloth diaper. Thanks for getting the word out!