Mailbox Mondays Wool

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays – 10/22/12 – Wool – Knit vs. Interlock & Care

Wool #clothdiapers via @chdiapers

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Karyn says:

Hi Maria,

I was wondering if you have ever done an article on caring for wool? I have just purchased my first wool cover to try and solve our night-time wetting problems, but am really unfamiliar with how to care for it.
How often does it need to be lanolized? How do I clean it? What is the difference between knit and interlock wool?

Thanks so much!


Hi Karyn! Wool is much easier to care for than you’d think. When I was using wool every night, I would turn the soaker inside-out to dry in the morning, and when it started to smell a little funky after drying, that was my cue to wash it (maybe once every 2-3 weeks.) I used Eucalan, but there are other brands out there.

When I washed, I used the utility sink in my laundry room, added a few inches of lukewarm water, poured a bit of eucalan in the sink and swished. Then I added the wool and squeezed it to work the wash through. I usually turned them inside out as well and let them soak a bit before draining and gently pressing excess water out against the side of the sink. Next I’d have 2-3 stacks of two hand towels per item. Lay the item on the towels, roll the towels up, and press. Unroll, move to a fresh set of towels and repeat until you have gotten most of the water out. Then lay flat to dry the rest of the way.

For lanolizing, some people use a lanolin containing wool wash, and don’t do anything else. Others use spray on lanolin in the wet zone, still others use a lanolin nipple cream melted in warm water. I used liquid lanolin (purchased from the health & beauty department of my local organic store.

I would lanolize my wool when it just didn’t seem to be performing as well as it had been, or when it didn’t seem to stay clean as long. Lanolin can leave stains on wool, so I typically added the lanolin to a small amount of very hot water first, then mixed it in with lukewarm water before adding the wool. Typically I would add the wool inside out, let it soak, squeeze it a bit, soak some more, squeeze, turn it right side out etc etc.

Wool interlock looks like a fabric (it is a knitted fabric) and can usually be “felted” (intentionally shrinking/kinking the fibers.) It is great for night time use. They tend to be durable, and some can even be machine washed (check with the manufacturer.) A hand knit wool soaker (made from yarn, looks like a sweater) is generally more breathable, but not quite as appropriate for night time. You can also easily turn a beautiful knit soaker into a doll soaker if you accidentally wash it! Lots of people love the look of a knitted wool item, but I prefer the look of interlock myself.

Do you have any tips on caring for wool?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • August 5, 2013 at 9:56 am

    […] Wool diaper covers can be pull on styles A.K.A underwoolies or can come as wool shorts A.K.A. wool shorties or wool pants A.K.A. wool longies. All serve the same purpose, but shorties or longies can take the place of pants entirely in cool weather. It’s really up to you which you prefer, though more wool=higher cost. One difference to note is that wool covers can be interlock or knit . […]

  • Amy
    October 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    So you didn’t lanolize every time you washed? I have just started with wool myself but other things I have read seem like they lanolize every 2-3 weeks as well.
    Also what about using a gentle baby wash instead of a wool wash? I have no idea where I would find wool wash where I live and shipping is usually exorbitant!

    • October 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      I did not lanolize every time I washed BUT Eucalan contains lanolin. It isn’t the same as fully lanolizing every time, but it helps. If you wash with baby wash, you will probably need to lanolize every time, especially since a baby wash will be more harsh and probably remove some of the lanolin.

      Abby’s Lane and Amazon (among other cloth stores) have wool wash with free shipping!

      • Lily Ivey
        October 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm

        Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique also has wool wash with free shipping. I would definitely recommend a wool wash over baby wash. You use so little of Eucalan that I’ve had the small bottle for almost a year. It’s definitely worth the price.

  • October 22, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Spin wet wool in the washing machine, I have a top loader and can turn the knob to just past the fill/drain of the rinse cycle.

    • October 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

      My old washer had a “drain and spin.” I miss that!

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