Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wool covers and wool care



Personally I've been read and browse about wool cover since I just started cloth diapering my dd over a year ago. But I didn't think it will be suitable for our tropical climate in Malaysia.

After searching and browsing about wool covers, I've decided about 3 months ago to try one wool cover for my dd. Why must try for 3 months ? :) well this is just me, I want to be sure that is suitable for Malaysia's climate and I also aware that wool need a special care (not hard but very easy)I want to share to all of you on how to take care and wash and how to lanolized the wool.
I think a few month of usage will be just right to share to others (not an expert yet, 3 months is just a short time ). I personally think by using or trying a product one or two times doesn't means I can share the goodness to other moms.
I want to make sure that wool cover doesn't mean that it's hard to be taken care off, or it will be too hot to be use over here. I want to try to wash it a few times and how long it will take me before I need to lanolized . This info can be found easily over the internet of course, but I just need to experience it my self before I have the confidence to share to all of you.

Wool,however does need a special care. So this is why I need to use it for a few months before I can post this blog. I want to share and give a proper info to my customers ,when they ask me: is it hard to wash wool? is there many steps to do? how to wash? can i use washing machine? what kind of soap can I use?

I am aware to that wool cover and wool care are still new in Malaysia . As I want to offer a one stop cloth diapering shopping to all of busy moms, If I will carry wool covers in my e-store I also will need to carry a line of wool care. Well I am happy to announce that wool cover and a line of wool care will be available soon at Mia Bambina.

Here is some info about wool. (taken from thesheepishgrins.com)

What is Wool?
Wool is the “hair” from a sheep. It is a renewable resource and is shorn from the sheep without injuring the animal. One reason wool is so popular is that the best wool is grown without any harm to the animals. Wool is biodegradable, so after your wool product has outlived its usefulness, it will break down into the soil - unlike plastic or polyester. Wool is a complex protein that keeps warm blooded animals properly temperature controlled in many different climates and temperatures. Just like human hair, wool requires gentle washing and conditioning to keep it soft and healthy.
Isn’t Wool Hot?
No, in fact wool has the unique ability to act as a breathable insulator. It helps keep the body at an even temperature and does not conduct heat. This means that during hot or cold weather it will keep you at a constant temperature. This is due to the small pockets of air formed by the fibers of the fabric.
Why is wool used to make diaper covers?
Wool diaper covers (also called soakers) are breathable and environmentally friendly. Wool has been used as a water-resistant cover for diapers for generations. It was only with the advent of rubber pants that wool soakers fell out of favor. Clean, lanolized wool covers will absorb 30% of their weight in moisture before they feel wet.
Lanolin on wool interacts with the ammonia in urine to form a soap. This makes wool covers 'self-cleaning'. Just hang them to air dry and they will stay fresh smelling for several uses. About once every week or so they can be handwashed in a lanolin rich soap. Every 3-4 weeks they will need lanolized to restore their amazing ability to neutralize urine odors.

Because it is breathable, wool is a natural choice for babies with sensitive skin. Their skin stays dryer and they stay happier.
Hand knit or crocheted diaper covers and longies (long pants) are regaining popularity as more moms and dads discover the unique benefits of this natural fiber.

Cool Wool Facts:
*Wool is very resilient – it can be bent and stretched over 20,000 times and still not damage or break. Compare that to only 3,000 times for cotton and 2,000 times for silk. Properly cared for wool can last more than one generation.
* Wool is naturally flame-resistant and will resist burning.
*Wool has natural elasticity that allows it to be stretched as much as 1/3 of its length and still snap back into shape.
*The complex cellular structure of wool allows it to absorb moisture between the cells but still give the feeling of being dry. Wool naturally moves moisture from the wet side of the fabric to the dryer side. This helps it to evaporate extra moisture, making wool a great choice for a night time diaper cover.



My 2 cents:
I try 2 wool covers , please note that wool cover is different from wool soaker . Wool soaker normally is knited and it is form like pants or wrap. While wool cover is just like other diaper cover, the closure can be made by aplix/velcro or snaps but the body is made out of wool. Merino wool is the most popular wool for cover.

By using wool cover for my dd, I found that wool is extremely thin! It is thinner than fleece cover! I was thinking that wool must be thick!
I use the wool cover at night together with any fitted diaper but my favorite is with Drybees bamboo fitted. It gives my dd the complete"natural" diapering system! :-D
It is soft and very breathable! I just love it. Wool cover cost more than other covers, but you will need much less than other covers. I have 2 wool cover so far.

After used , the wool will smell a bit, but after I air dried it, it smell like new again! Amazing.
I wash the cover every week or 10 days , or if it's soiled.

And I lanolized it every 3-4 weeks.

Washing wool
Many of wool covers available in the market now can be wash inside the washing machine in gentle cycle. You must refer to the manufacture guide.
How ever I hand washed mine.

I just wash and rinse the wool cover with tap water(room temperature), and then soaked it with baby shampoo , if there is no wool wash available. It will be better if you wash it with a lanolin rich soap .
After that just take a towel, put the cover in between and squeeze the towel , so it will absorb most of the excess water from the cover. Air dry the cover.....
That's it!

Lanolizing wool.
Don't feel scare when you read "lanolized" :) it is very easy to do.
before that , please read the lanolin info (take from the sheepishgrins.com)

What is lanolin?
Lanolin is a greasy, yellow substance that is produced by sheep to keep their wool dry and soft. It is extracted from wool fibers through a chemical process. Because there is no way to remove lanolin organically, there is no such thing as an organic lanolin.
When purified, lanolin is used as a base for ointments and creams, as a lubricant, and in finishing and preserving leather. It is also a constituent of some varnishes and paints. Lanolin is made of a mixture of cholesterol and the esters of several fatty acids. With water it forms an emulsion. As a waste product in wool processing, it is known also as wool wax, wool fat, or wool grease.

Why Do My Wool Soakers Need Lanolin?
Lanolin is what keeps the sheep’s own wool dry and helps to neutralize urine. Lanolin is what keeps the water out. In the case of your wool soakers you want to keep the water in. Lanolin also reacts with your baby's urine and neutralizes it. This is why you can hang a wet soaker up to dry and have it still smell fresh without washing.



How Often Do I Need To Lanolize?

When your soaker is no longer waterproof or starts to smell it is time to wash and reapply the lanolin.

How Do I Lanolize My Wool?
First wash your wool in luke warm water using Sheepish Grins Wool Soap or Sheepish Grins Foaming Wool Soap. This soap is gentle for your wool but still has all the cleaning power that you need.
Drain water.
You can add just teaspoon of Sheepish Grins Solid Lanolin mixed with boiling water and a teaspoon of baby wash. Mix to smooth out any clumps, then add to warm water to cover your soaker:
Add your wool soaker to water and swirl it around. Allow it to soak in the water for a minimum of 15 minutes and as long as 24 hours.Remove from soak water and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Lay the soaker flat and allow to air dry.
Remove from soak water and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Lay the soaker flat and allow to air dry.

What Is The Spray Lanolin For Then?
This is the easiest way to lanolize your wool. After you wash your wool you just spray your soaker inside and out with Sheepish Grins Lanolin Spray. Massage gently into the fibers and allow to dry as usual. No clumps of lanolin anywhere and you can control how much or how little you add to your soaker.

I lanolized my cover before I have the special lanolin , so what i use is the 100 % pure nipple cream made from lanolin ( like lasinoh) the solid lanolin can also be use as nipple cream , lip balm and to moisturized a dry and cracked skin.

I know that the first time you read about lanolizing wool can be confusing. So keep coming back to my blog, I will blog with photos on how do I lanolize my wool covers.






6 comments:

Peridot&Sapphire said...

hey sandra... thanks for the info... BTW, can wash wool in cold??!! That will shrink the cover... I wash mine in room temperature, in warm.
Oh yes... I used it for 2 & half months now and love the wool soaker I had so much! Even the hand knitted one also performing well beside that it looks abit rag...
Should post a video clip on how to wash and lanolized the wool cover by Sandra! I watched it from greenmountaindiapers.

Sandra@miabambina said...

Hi sharine
thanks for your feedback, by cold water here I mean the tap water. I think it is also a room temperature, since our temperature here is also not cold.
By cold water i don't mean ice cold. :)
So it is depends on your water. My water tank is outside my house and made from metal, so it can take the heat from the sun and make the water abit warm and not cold.
I will edit the post anyway to avoid any misunderstanding. thanks!:)

allthingspurple said...

hey.... a post on wool care !! just when i need it. I just got my Llamajama longies and my kozydesign shorties. Love them to bits. They are so pretty.

But Sharine, how come 2 1/2 month already worn out? My sis's wool longies worn on her 4th son for 6 months still look new...?? which brand is yours?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra,
Agree with you. Wool cover is trimmer than fleece cover, and more breathable.
dewihong

Peridot&Sapphire said...

Christene... the hand knitted soaker is my house brand.. haha! MIL and I knitted on our own, it's my first knitting project. I'm now knitting smaller size... still got a few wool yarn ready for 2 or more wool soaker. Addicted to knitting and wool yarn now *fainted*
Personally I prefer wool soaker than cover for trimness. But mostly wool cover is machine washable (like the swaddlebee and imse vimse shown in this post) but mine are all hand wash.

Sandra@miabambina said...

Sharine just to add
the swaddlebees wool cover wash instruction says it can be wash in cold.

I think the knitted soaker need more care than the cover/soaker made from wool fabric (not knitted)