Lanolin and Lanolin Soap : What do I need? When do I need it? How much do I need?

Happy New Year! Winter is here (at least on the Northern Hemisphere) and hopefully you’ve got a big woolie stash. Let’s talk WOOL CARE!

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WHAT DO I NEED?

You need lanolin and soap to care for woolies. I sell pharmaceutical grade lanolin in my Etsy shop as well as some organic glycerin based soap that is super fatted (extra) lanolin! You do not NEED lanolin soap. It is a way to combine lanolizing and washing into one step. Lanolin soap does NOT provide a deep lanolization: it is a lighter treatment that can hold you over until a deeper lanolization with solid lanolin. Here are my wool care instructions to explain what this looks like.

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WHEN DO I NEED IT?

You DON’T need to wash woolies when they’re soiled with pee. You also may not need to wash them if they get dirty! Let them dry and see if the urine smell is gone (good, use them again), or if the dirt can be scraped off (great! use them again if you’re comfortable with that!).

If the wool cover smells like pee or is still dirty after being dried, you need to wash and lanolize. If the cover is just not working as a moisture barrier the same way it was a week ago, it may be time to lanolize. If the cover has been pooped on, you will need to clean it and then determine if it needs to be lanolized or not.

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This will vary based on MANY things: your child, their diet, their sleep patterns, their diapers, the frequency with which their poo gets on covers (more when they’re infants, hopefully less when solid foods are in the picture), your climate (humid? you’ll probably need to let covers dry for longer periods of time), etc. – I could go on and on. It’s a personal thing, and unlike plastic cloth diapers and laminates, I can’t prescribe one washing plan for all babies.

The washing will also change with your baby: you will need to sniff your covers and pay close attention to your baby as well: do you need to add a booster/insert to the diaper because baby is sleeping longer stretches (YAY!) at night? Do you need to use a fitted diaper to avoid blow outs onto your wool (boo!)? As your baby grows and changes, you will need to re-assess their diapers and covers and make sure everything is tended to. It may seem like a lot of work, but just as you grow as a sensitive and attentive parent, it will become second nature.

HOW MUCH DO I NEED?

Each time you wash your woolies, you’ll use a couple drops of soap (or equivalent of solid soap) to actually clean them (per cover), and then a couple drops of soap to lanolize. For deep lanolizations, you’ll use a pea to dime size amount of solid lanolin per cover. If you have 4 wool diaper covers, you’ll use about a tablespoon per month of solid lanolin if you’re lanolizing once or twice per cover. Again, this is an estimate and it truly depends on how many covers you have and your baby, and the reasons listed above.

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WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO CARE FOR WOOL?

I also sell a sweater brick, which is a battery and plastic free way of removing pills from woolies. Pills are those little nubs of wool that collect on wool sweaters. They can be removed with a fabric shaver or sweater shaver, or you can use a sweater brick! This will keep your woolies looking fresh and clean and new.

If your woolies develop holes (yes, moths and wear and tear can cause holes), do not fear! Here is a video that will walk you through mending it. You can also sew a cute patch on after mending the hole if it is a problem area.

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