The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Washing Wool Diapers

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Washing Wool DiapersBefore I started using wool, I was very intimidated by the care instructions. Once I actually started using wool and washing it myself, I found that it really isn’t as hard or time consuming as it sounds. I’ve found ways to make wool care fit into my busy life and I am happy to share my Lazy Mama tips for washing wool diapers.

Before you get started with wool make sure you have an excellent care resource as a starting point. This way you have an overview of what needs to happen. Essentially, you have a series of steps that you need to follow: rinse, spot clean, wash, lanolin, dry. Here’s how those play out in real life for a lazy mama like me.

Most manufacturers recommended washing wool every 2 to 4 weeks. This varies greatly in our house because we only use wool at night so it doesn’t get enough use to justify my time every two weeks. I generally wash every 4 to 6 weeks because we have a lot of wool to rotate through. In between uses I refresh the covers with CJ’s Woolie Revitalizer Spray. I can’t say enough good things about CJ’s Woolie Spray! I love that it gives a boost of lanolin without all the hassle of lanolinizing and I love that it makes the covers smell great.

When it is time to wash my covers, I make sure I have enough for a decent sized batch to make it worth my time. I like to wash mine in either the baby bathtub or in my 5-gallon bucket camp washer. I rinse the covers as I fill the bucket, and if anything needs spot treating I just plop a drop of Eucalan on the spot and rub gently, then toss it in the bucket. I add Eucalan to the camp washer and gently use my plunger agitator to slowly and carefully swish the covers around. You don’t want them to agitate so much that they felt, but you do want them to get clean. Then I let them soak until I remember to get back to them. (This IS a lazy mama guide, after all!)

Once I remember the covers, it has usually been at least half hour to an hour. I drain off the water in the bucket, add a bit more to rinse, and drain again. If the water seems especially dirty I add more Eucalan and repeat the wash step. If the “rinse” water is clear then I move on to lanolinizing. I take out all my covers while I get the lanolin water ready in the bucket, then I throw them all back in, agitate gently with the camp washer plunger again, and then let them soak again until I remember them.

To dry the covers, I gently squeeze out the excess water and lay them out on a towel. Then I roll the towel up with the covers inside and walk on the rolled up towel to force out even more moisture. All of the covers then go on the line to dry fully. Many people lay their wool flat to dry, but I hang mine from the waistline so that they stretch longer and thinner to fit my tall, skinny kids.

This might sound like a lot of work, but really the actual hands-on time is minimal. I probably only have to spend about 15 minutes of active time on the covers when I wash them. The rest is just forgetting about them while they soak! So if you have ever felt intimidated by the wool washing process, be encouraged that anyone can be successful at wool!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!

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