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Wool 102 - how to wash and lanolize wool cloth diaper covers

February 16, 2011

Caring for Wool and Lanolizing

Some of the common reasons I hear people state as to why they don't use wool are (1) they are intimidated by the lanolzing process for cleaning wool and (2) they are intimidated by the price of wool. TRUE - wool is pricey but the great thing about it is that you only really need 2 to 3 for your whole stash and you can use them repeatedly for up to 2 to 3 weeks before you need to lanolize them again. As for the lanolizing process - that is actually fairly easy. Below are simple instructions for how to lanolize wool, as well as a short video on lanolizing that can help to demystify it for you.

Watch the Video 

What You’ll Need

  • 1 Tbsp of Lanolin (we recommend Lansinoh Breast Cream)
  • 3 drops of baby wash or baby shampoo
  • 1 cup of boiling hot water
  • Towel

How to Lanolize

Step 1: Rinse wool cover under cool running water to remove urine and/or feces

Step 2: Fill sink with lukewarm water (enough to just barely cover the wool item you intend to wash)

*NOTE: It’s important to make sure the water is not too hot or too cold. Extreme temperatures can ruin your wool.

Step 3: Add 1 tbsp of lanolin and 3 drops of baby wash / shampoo to 1 cup of boiling hot water and stir until well blended

Step 4: Add mixture to lukewarm water and stir

Step 5: Add wool item to the sink and let it soak for 30 minutes

Step 6: Remove wool item and lay flat on a towel dripping wet (DO NOT WRING IT OUT!)

Step 7: Roll the towel up – squeezing as you roll to remove excess water.

Step 8: Unroll towel and lay wool item flat on towel to dry. (Allow 24 to 48 hours of drying time).

Wool Laundering Tips

  • Never dry your wool in the dry.
  • Never use Woolite
  • Lanolize every 2 weeks

Shrunken Wool

Follow these steps to restore shrunken wool.

Fill your sink with lukewarm water. Add 7 to 10 ounces of hair conditioner (no need for anything fancy – feel free to use the cheap stuff). Add your wool and gently stretch it back to the right size/shape. Drain the sink. Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 gallon of water in a large bowl. Add your wool to the vinegar solution and swish gently to remove any remaining conditioner. Finish by hand washing your wool using your usual wool wash routine.

Stubborn Stains

Follow these steps to remove stubborn stains from your wool.

OPTION 1: Wash with a wool bar Rinse the wool in lukewarm water to remove any urine residue. Fill your sink about halfway with lukewarm water and place your wool item in the sink. Rub the wool wash bar directly on the wool paying close attention to the stained area. Gently swish & squish the wool to work the soap through the fibers and let it soak overnight. Gently rinse the wool in running water that is the roughly the same temperature the wash water has cooled off to. Drain and refill the sink with fresh water (no soap) and swish & squish the wool to remove any remaining soap residue. Remove the wool from the sink and gently squeeze (do not twist or wring) to remove the excess water. Lay wool flat to dry.

OPTION 2: Wash with lemon juice and sun Mix ½ cup of lemon juice with ½ cup of water and pour directly on the stain. Place wool on a flat surface (do not hang) in the sun for 1 to 4 hours (or longer until stain is gone). Wash using your usual wool wash routine.

NOTE: This option may cause your colored wool to fade. Test a hidden area of the wool first or try Option 1 shown above.

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