Friday, August 14, 2015

All AboutWool Diaper Covers

From Sweaters to Diaper Covers

Why Wool?

Wool diaper covers have been around for hundreds of years, but are only now regaining in popularity as more people become concerned with the environmental and financial impacts of disposable diapering.

Wool is a renewable, and healthy alternative to plastic or PUL diaper covers. Wool breathes great keeping baby cool and dry and preventing diaper rash. When cared for properly (occasional lanolizing and gentle washing) it is a great moisture barrier since it is able to absorb up to 40% of its weight in water before feeling wet. High performance athletes have chosen wool because of it's great temperature and moisture regulation properties.

Wool diaper covers do NOT need to be washed every time they are used. The natural properties of wool prevent odors and bacterial growth. They only need to be washed every week or two or when they are soiled. Simply hang damp covers to dry and use them again! The lanolin in wool neutralizes urine leaving a fresh-smelling, leak-resistant cover time and again.

A great thing about wool wraps is they enable you to use ANYTHING as a diaper, save money by laying in soft absorbent dishtowels, folded receiving blankets, old t-shirts, any absorbent material you have on hand! Snap, velcro, or pin the cover and voila! The cover holds the soaker in place.

Because MamaBear covers are one-size fits all you could potentially spend less than $100 on MamaBear wool wraps and take care of all of your little one's diapering needs using soaker materials from around your house! With care these covers have been used on two or even three babies, tripling your savings!

All MamaBear wool items are washed and lightly lanolized upon completion so that when you get them they are ready for your BabyBear to wear right away.

Wool Weight/Thickness

The "weight" of the cover refers to the thickness of the wool. Because of how wool works, in general the thickness of the wool determines it's leak protection: the thicker the cover, the longer it will last and/or more liquid it will hold before it leaks. Some lightweight or midweight covers made from very dense, finely knit or woven wools can provide the same level of protection as much thicker, bulkier covers.

Thick/heavy covers are really great for very heavy wetters, overnight, long car rides, etc. any time compression leaks (leaks through the cover from a SOAKED diaper) are likely. They are generally too thick to go under fitted clothes but work great under pj's, skirts, and sweats.

Midweight covers are great all-purpose covers. They are trim enough to go under most clothing but thick enough to work for overnight and naptime for most babies. These are what I generally recommend for first-timers to wool unless they know they have a very heavy wetter. Even if you're babybear generally leaks through covers, you can still use midweight and just bolster the absorbtion of your diaper by adding a soaker layer down the center.

Thin/lightweight covers are just that. These fit best on little babies and newborns because they are not bulky. In general they require frequent changes to prevent leaks although some trim wools actually provide very good protection. These include Merinos (which are ultrafine wools and so are densely knit yet lightweight) and Meltons (a dense, spongy, felted wool similar to what you find in outerwear like Pea Coats).


How often do you have to wash wool diaper covers? Is it true that if they get a little wet it is possible to simply dry them and then reuse them? 

How frequently you have to wash wool covers depends on a number of factors such as how often you change, the weight/thickness of your wool cover, the absorbency of your diaper material, the chemical strength of your child's urine, and how heavily you lanolize. 

Lanolin is the natural sheeps' oil in wool fiber that makes it so great as a diaper cover. It helps the fibers keep moisture locked inside, and also combines with urine in a chemical process similar to saponification - leaving the urine neutralized. However, this process also uses up the lanolin, so that it has to be replaced from time to time - this is the process called "relanolizing" in diaper-speak. It generally involves using a soap that contains lanolin, or melting pure lanolin in water and forcing it back into the wool fibers. Some people prefer a light lanolizing and more frequent washing, others like to actually get the fibers "greasy" (you can actually see and feel the sheen of lanolin) so that they rarely have to lanolize and can go longer stretches without lanolizing. It's really a matter of personal preference.
Overall, if you use a good, absorbent diaper with sufficient soaking power (the harder the diaper works, the less hard the wool has to), have a decent mid-level application of lanolin, and change every 2-4 hours, rotating your wool covers so that they can dry completely, you can use one for about 2 weeks before having to relanolize. If you are using a woolen for overnights - a great choice - you may have to lanolize a bit more frequently, like every 3-4 uses. Again, having good diaper material underneath and a thicker/heavier weight of wool will reduce how often you have to do this, even for overnight. 

If the diaper is soiled with feces you should wash it before reusing. You may not have to lanolize again yet, but a good rinse with some baby shampoo in the sink would be suggested.


  1. Wool covers are my absolute favorite. I only wish that my preschooler would tolerate upcycled wool. We had lots of upcycled wool when he was younger, but then he decided that he only liked very soft, new wool products. It's a shame because I miss the character of upcycled wool clothing.