How to wash and Lanolize wool diaper covers

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I started using woollen diaper covers on my daughter after none of the disposable nappies were gentle enough on her skin. She used to get really bad rash which used to make her cry and not sleep at nights as she was always in pain and discomfort. We then introduced reusable diapers but we really got fed up changing bedding after every single night as they used to leak a lot. It was my husband’s aunty who knitted my daughter her first woollen diaper cover. To be honest I felt really sceptical at first but after trying it out we never had any thoughts of using anything else apart from woollen soakers. It healed her rash and her sleep had improved. I even believe that it helped with her tummy problems.

My daughter also started using potty full time just being a one-year-old and I believe it was because we used cloth diapers. It helped her to realise that the wetness and discomfort comes only once she wets her diaper. I never spent much time teaching her to use a potty she just started using it herself. I have heard that many children these days wet their beds even after they start school and I personally blame disposable nappies. Children cannot understand what happens when they wet their diaper or bed because it is always dry. That might cause psychological problems for children later in the future. 

As we are expecting our second child within less than a month I started washing baby clothes and getting diaper covers ready as well for our new angel.

The good thing about woollen diaper covers is that you do not need to wash them after every single use. Even though it sounds weird you only need to air-dry them and they can be used again. I used to wash them at least once a month or earlier if they started to smell. I had 4 pairs and it was more than enough to always have fresh covers.

To make woollen soakers waterproof you have to properly wash them and lanolize them to add the wool fat (lanolin) back to the wool as it fades away every time you wash the covers.

I would suggest to lanolize your covers at least once a month so they do not start to leak. If you want to wash them more often there is a tip on how to know when the lanoline is fading away and when you need to add it. If the cover soaks the water very easily and quickly when washing you should know that it really needs lanolizing. If the wool has enough fat then cover will float on top of the water and you will see water beads on top of the cover. If in doubt just lanolize it.

When the wool soaker is new you might need to lanolize it 3 or even 4 times before it becomes waterproof and is good to use depending on the wool and the type of cover you have. Wash it once before starting to lanolize.


Tips on how to hand wash woollen soakers:

  1. wool wash temperatureDo not use hot or cold water. 30°C is a perfect temperature. You can use a
    thermometer or you can use the inside of your wrist like me. If you can’t feel temperature change on your skin the water is perfect.
  2. Use wool wash of gentle baby shampoo
  3. Try to keep water temperature steady when washing, rinsing and lanolizing.
  4. Be gentle, don’t scrub or wring it. Try not to handle the wet wool too much as it might stretch.
  5. Dry it flat on the towel or on the drying rack, never hang it as it will stretch.
  6. Avoid direct sunlight and any other heater as it will damage the wool
  7. You don’t need to dry the diaper if you are going to lanolize it.

Always hand wash the wool covers before lanolizing. For more tips how to wash woollen garments click here.


How to lanolize wool soakers:

You will need: 






  • Sink or a bucket
  • Wool detergent or mild baby shampoo
  • Pure lanolin, it could be the same you use for cracked nipples
  • Small container


  1. Pour hot water in the container with the lid, add a teaspoon of detergent, squeeze a pea size lanolin in and shake it well until dissolved. Detergent or a soap is needed to emulsify the lanolin.
  2. Fill the sink or a bucket with lukewarm water (same temperature as you would use for washing – around 30°C) just enough to cover the diaper.
  3. Add the mixture from the container and mix it.
  4. Add the wool cover and soak it for around 15 minutes. You can gently squish it around to make the fat to soak in better. 
  5. Gently squeeze the water out with hands. Roll the cover into the towel to remove excess water.
  6. Leave it to air dry on the flat surface.
  7. After the diaper is dry lanolize it as many times as it takes until the water does not soak into the diaper easily.

poor lanolin into waterdry wool

I love how soft my hands become after lanoline baths. And I have to admit I love the smell of the wet wool as it brings me the memories back from my childhood. Cold, snowy nights with the fireplace and cosy woollen socks…

Please share your tips on how you wash and lanolize woollen diaper covers.

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