How to Wash Wool Diaper Covers

I was so afraid of wool diaper covers for the longest time.   I’ve always known that wool is best for baby.  Wool is breathable, so next to wearing nothing, it’s the best diaper cover option for baby.  You might think wool is too hot for our crazy Texas summers, but I have to disagree.  Wool lets the air through, whereas the PUL covers don’t, so if your baby has sensitive skin or gets heat rashes, try a wool cover.  My little baby had really sensitive skin as a newborn, so I was forced to get over my fear of wool diaper covers and just try them!  I found a really beautiful cover on Etsy.  I bought two, so I can hang one up to dry while he’s wearing the other one.  I highly recommend these covers.  You can also knit your own, but if you don’t have the time, this is the best deal.

Update 12/27/12: After using the cover below for a good two years, I’ve got to say it has worn out some and is loose around the legs, so the pee sometimes just runs out. Not my favorite cover anymore. If you are into wool and want something AMAZING, this is THE wool cover: The Disana. I use the Blueberry One Size covers for night time now. They are big and fit my 2 yo great with hardly ever a leak. If he is having a rash, a rarity these days, I will switch him over to the Disana cover, day or night, until the rash is gone. The Disana is incredibly great; it is your workhouse nighttime wool cover. You just have to lanolize it a good four times before you use it the first time. Then I use a hemp prefold with two or even three inserts in it…but that is for my very heavy wetter, all night nurser 2 year old. You won’t need this much for a younger baby. Ok, that’s all for this update..continue reading to find out how you wash and lanolize your wool diaper cover.

Want to knit your own? My friend has a great little blog post about making your own cloth diaper covers, also known as “soakers”.

You probably already know that you can’t throw your wool in the regular wash.  Washing wool diaper covers is easy.  You just need one essential ingredient: lanolin.  I have been using the Lansinoh Lanolin that is carried in every major grocery store.  A few less-important ingredients are baby shampoo, water, jars or rocks, a wash basin.  A wool soap for heavy stains is a nice luxury.

I store all my wool diaper cover washing things in one bin, that I also use as the washing tub. 

Step 1: Eliminate stains.  Turn your diaper covers inside-out.  Wet the wool cover in a little bit of lukewarm (better to be on the cool side) water in your washing bin.  You can see that mine is still repelling water.  This little bit of soap is a soap sample I was given long ago.  When I finally used it, I was amazed!  It works like a charm.  You just gently rub the soap on the stain, and the stain will disappear!  As you can see, a little goes a long way.  I’m not buying more until I run out, but when I do, I’ll be going to Northern Essensce to purchase a whole wash bar, and also a nice little wooden tray to set it in.  After I get the stain out, I rub some soap on my hands and very gently touch the whole cover with it.

I was trying to show you the stain, but I really couldn’t find it anymore.  It’s gone.

Step 2: Lanolize.  You must be very gentle with your wool covers.  Never wring them out.  Just gently squeeze the water out and set the covers aside while you fill your basin with clean lukewarm water.

If you have a little baby food jar, perfect.  If you don’t, use any jar or container that can be microwaved, and that has a lid.  Fill the jar with a little bit of water (this does not have to be exact).  I just fill the baby jar half full of water.  Then I squeeze about 1-2 teaspoons of lanolin in.  I would rather put too much than too little.  If your covers end up having too much lanolin, it won’t matter.  The extra lanolin will make baby’s skin soft.

After you’ve added the water and lanolin in the jar, add a drop of baby shampoo.  Any mild baby shampoo will do.  I keep some in a little travel jar so that I can keep all my diaper washing things in this one bin.  Then place the jar (without the lid, of course) in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Carefully take it out with hot pads (or without – my fingers seem to be hot pads), place the lid on it and shake it up.  All the lanolin should be incorporated into the water.  It should be a bubbly mess that you can now pour into the lukewarm water in the basin.

The water will turn cloudy.  Swish it around a bit.  Rinse your jar with some more water in the basin.  I never let any lanolin go to waste.

Submerge the wool diaper covers so that they are covered in water completely.  I fill the jars with more lukewarm water and use them as weights to keep the covers submerged.  If you want to be really cool, you could use smooth rocks.

Step 3: Wait.  Here’s the important part.  Set your kitchen timer to 30 minutes.  Now go relax and knit something or take pics or drink coffee (decaf, of course).

Step 4: Dry the covers.  After the kitchen timer calls you with it’s annoying BEEP BEEP BEEP, remove the diaper covers from the lanolin bath and gently press each one in your hand to squeeze out the water.  Don’t wring the covers.  You are not trying to make felted wool covers here.  Take a clean towel (any towel is fine, it won’t be ruined), and lay your covers close to the edge of the towel.  Roll the covers up into the towel and press on the towel-covered covers to get more water out.  Once they are all rolled up, I unroll them, find the other dry part of the towel and do it again.  Lay your covers flat to dry.  If you live in Texas, and it’s 100 degree, congrats – your covers will be dry in no time.  If you live in the north, and it happens to be winter, it might take a day or two (but it will humidify your room for you a little, so that’s an added bonus).  This is why it’s nice to keep enough (maybe four) covers on hand so that you can have a rotation going.  For now, I only have two.

There he goes!  Get back here, baby, I’m trying to take a picture of your cute diaper cover!

We use these covers throughout the day, on short outings, and naps.  They are like little shorts, so I don’t put any other pants over him.  Some people complain about the “wet sheep smell”.  I don’t exactly know what they are talking about.  I love sheep.  I’ll take all the farm in the city I can get.  So maybe I am biased, I don’t know.  I have heard of people adding essential oil to the lanolizing mix, but for me, simple is better, and I have really never noticed a crazy smell (and neither has my husband who didn’t grow up with sheep in the back yard).  We’ll go three weeks without lanolizing the diapers.  I only wash them if they are dirty.  They don’t smell because the pee is repelled, not absorbed.  Love ’em!

I hope I didn’t leave anything out.  Off to get the children out of their quiet/nap time.  Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. 1


    I love wool covers. I have made a few in the past and am hoping to start making up some more. But I love the one on etsy!! I think I will need to save up and get a few of those!

    Also, that first picture… oh my goodness. All the girls and I cooed and sighed over how precious!! Where did you get that necklace, btw?

  2. 2


    hmmm…. very very interesting. thank you for this post. now can you tell more about cloth diapering? : ) one day…. when you have the time. i’m curious about that too as i’m assuming you have cloth diapers on under there, right? p.s. super cute pics of baby jakey.

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