Nyree Dawn Dowell – Bums ‘n’ Roses
Well, wool is really rather wonderful! Not only does it combine being breathable and water repellent with moisture absorbency, it’s naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial in addition to being a renewable, biodegradable product! It’s breathability can reduce the likelihood of nappy rash and it’s often gentler on the skin than PUL covers on those sensitive little baby thighs and tummies. It can be worn as clothing at the same time as being a nappy cover so has a dual purpose as well as being incredibly cute!
Types of Wool Covers
- Knitted Wool Covers – As the name suggests these covers are knitted from yarn, generally by hand or occasionally machine knitted. If you’re a knitter, there are many patterns available so you can even knit your own.
- Wool Interlock Covers – These are made from a pre shrunk, breathable, light, soft, and stretchy material consisting of wool with a small percentage of lycra. It has the advantage of often being deemed easier to care for (as there is a lower risk of felting) and can sometimes even be machine washed.
- Soakers – Pull on, pants style covers which are ideal for wearing under clothes.
- Shorties – As the name suggests these resemble shorts! Ideal for summer wear over a nappy.
- Longies – Essentially, wool trousers. Double up as both a nappy cover and cute clothing.
- Skirties – These are the ultimate in cute girls nappy covers, a soaker with an attached skirt.
- Wraps – Wool covers which, like regular PUL covers, fasten with poppers or velcro.
Wool Washing and Care
There’s a variety of products available to keep your wool clean, smelling fresh and lanolised. Whilst the care of wool is often seen as a daunting process, it’s actually incredibly easy. Wool doesn’t need washing after every wear unless it’s soiled and can simply be aired. If the wool no longer smells fresh after airing, then it’s time for a wash!
Lanolising is the process of treated your wool in a lanolin solution t water proof the cover. New wool covers will often require lanolising a few times before they reach full potential with regard to being water proof. After that, after washing or every few weeks or so as a rough guide (or when you find it’s just not quite as effective)
The most important thing to remember with wool washing is that heat and agitation combined can cause felting (the shrinking together of wool fibres)
- Wool Wash Bars – Wool wash bars are great for getting stains out as well as general wool cleaning. Simply fill a sink with warm water and lather the soap in your hands to create a cloudy lanolin rich wash for your wool or gently rub bar of soap directly into damp wool –this is especially good for removing stains. Then just squeeze the excess water from them (or roll them in a dry towel) and hang/lay flat to dry. To maintain the life of your soap store on a soap deck/dish so that it dries’s between uses. Do not leave it sitting in water
- Wool Wash – Wool wash is generally gentler on knitted/crocheted wool than a wool wash bar since you don’t scrub the fibre’s (which can cause felting).
Fill your sink up with warm water, add 1-2 teaspoons (or one or two pumps if you have a pump dispenser bottle) of wool wash to the water then swish to mix. Add your woollies (I generally wash them inside out) submerge them and swish them around a bit. If the woollies have a stubborn stain add a very small pea sized amount of wool wash to the stain and work it in.
Leave to soak for 15-30 minutes (or longer if like me you’re inclined to wander off and forget about them!) There is no need to rinse – just gently squeeze the excess water from them (or roll them in a dry towel) and hang/lay flat to dry.
The majority of wool washes made for nappy covers are high in lanolin so not only will your wool be clean and smell great – it will also be lightly lanolised!
- Lanolin Spray/Mister – Lanolin sprays are great for touch up lanolising between washes or ideal for extra lanolising of the wet zone (crotch area!) for heavy wetters. Simply spray the wet zone or damp or even dry wool and work the spray into the fibres gently. Hang/lay flat to dry and off you go!
- Liquid Lanolin – One of the many methods of lanolising your woollies is using a liquid lanolin. These small bottles go a long way! Add approx ¼ – ½ teaspoon of liquid lanolin to warm water, mix thoroughly, add your woollies and soak for anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight. Do not rinse – just gently squeeze the excess water from them (or roll them in a dry towel) and hang/lay flat to dry.
You can also add a couple of extra drops of liquid lanolin in with your wool wash if you have a very heavy wetter.
- Solid Lanolin – Solid lanolin is used to do the more “traditional” lanolising method!! Take a pea sized amount (approx 1/4-1/2 teaspoon from tub) and add 1-2 teaspoons of baby shampoo, baby wash or wool wash. Then either add a cup of very hot water to melt or alternately add to cold water and microwave for 1-2 minutes until the lanolin is completely melted. Ensure the lanolin is well mixed and then add to enough water to soak your wool. Again, add your woollies and soak for anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight. Do not rinse – just gently squeeze the excess water from them (or roll them in a dry towel) and hang/lay flat to dry.
Wool and Baby Wearing
It’s often a worry that wool covers just aren’t compatible with baby wearing due to “wicking” – where the pressure on the wet nappy area causes the urine to be pushed through the cover onto the babies (or your) clothes. Personally, it’s something I’ve never had an issue with as it’s easily combated by using a good absorbent nappy. If you are wearing for a long period, boosting the nappy or alternatively boosting between the nappy and the wool cover can add that little bit of extra reassurance!