At first the necessity of treating wool the special way might be frightening, however both washing wool and making lanolin treatment is very simple and doesn’t require special skills. Basics of wool covers care can be concluded in three short steps:
- If the wool cover is just a little bit damp, the only thing you need to do is to hang it to dry.
- If the cover is very wet, you need to rinse it in clean water, gently squeeze out and hang it to dry.
- If the cover is soiled you need to wash it in lukewarm water with one tablespoon of wool detergent, rinse it in clean water, gently squeeze out and hang it to dry.
Easy, right? This is manual for everyday wool covers care. However, from time to time they will need some special treatments. Depending on the intensity of use after some time (2-3 months) wool cover will not “hold” the moisture so well. It means that the lanolin has rinsed out of its fibers and make wool keep its special advantages (no leaks and antibacterial properties) you need to make a lanolin treatment. The easiest way is to use ready lanolin treatment, f.ex. Ulrich Naturlich, Imse Vimse or Disana following the instructions on the packaging. You need to dissolve the treatment in water and soak the wool covers in this solution. You can also use lanolin from the pharmacy (the same one that women use for cracked nipples at the beginning of breastfeeding). Below you can find the manual how to prepare homemade lanolin treatment.
After soaking wool cover in the lanolin solution, rinse it in clean water. Don’t forget that water for rinsing should have same temperature as the lanolin solution from which we just took out the wool cover. Rinsing lets us to get rid of soap from the cover. Soap might make moisture soak in the wool and cause leaking. After drying, the cover might seem sticky. This is normal and will be gone after 1-2 uses of cover.
Don’t forget that the wool is very hygienic!
Thanks to its chemical and physical properties, wool doesn’t need to be washed very often. If it doesn’t get soiled, it’s enough to wash it every second week. Scaly structure of wool fibers makes them repel dirt and neutralize smells. Moreover, lanolin contained in the fibers doesn’t let bacterias to grow. However, this process leads to volatilization of lanoline out of wool fibers, therefore lanoline treatment from time to time is necessary.
Wool fibers have a very similar chemical construction to human hair, so just like our hair they need delicate cleaning. For that reason you should handwash your wool covers it in 30 °C. Wool is extremely sensitive to soap and soapsuds, which are alkaline. That is why for washing wool you should use only detergents specially designed for wool, f. ex. Ulrich Natuerlich Natural Liquid detergent for Wool and Silk.
To prevent wool felting, you shouldn’t ever wring it out or rub. You can delicately squeeze the water out your wool cover with your hands or with the towel and then dry it in the open air or in a well-ventilated room. You shouldn’t ever dry wool on the heater or in tumble dryer.
The easiest way to wash wool covers is to do it in the bowl of water at a temperature of about 25-30 degrees (you can check it with the thermometer you use to check your baby’s bath water temperature) with wool detergent (check the necessary amount on the detergent package). If the wool cover is very dirty, we recommend to rinse it with strong water jet, f. ex. with hand shower. Very often rinsing like that right after changing the diaper might replace washing the cover, as all dirt will be rinsed away. However, if after rinsing your wool cover still needs washing, you can leave it for 20-30 minutes to soak and then gently rub the dirty place with your fingers or with nail brush. You can also use Urlich-Natuerlich Stain Removal Spray with Soapbark Extract.
It’s essential to follow abovementioned advices if you want to prevent your wool covers from felting. Moreover, water used to wash and rinse the cover should have similar temperature, as wool doesn’t tolerate rapid changes of water temperature and might get a "thermal shock". The shorter time you wash wool, the better.
Homemade lanolin treatment:
- 0,5l jar
- 400ml of boiling water
- 1 teaspoon of soap flakes or grey soap
- 1 teaspoonful of lanolin
- Bowl of lukewarm water
Pour boiling water to the jar and dissolve soap in it. Then we add lanoline and stir until its totally dissolved. At the result you should get a uniform, milky liquid without pieces of lanoline. This solution we pour to bowl of lukewarm water and stir. Voila! Homemade treatment is ready, you can soak your wool covers in it.
We recommend to lanolize separately light and dark colors wool covers, as well as colors very different from each other to prevent dyeing one from another. When lanolizing wool shorties, first turn them inside out. Wool covers and shorties sewn with recycling wool can be soaked in the lanolin treatment for whole night and covers made of woolen fabric shouldn’t be soaked for longer than 5-6 hours. It’s important not to exceed this time as it might cause shrinking of the wool cover.