Care of Wool Wraps
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
You only need to wash your wool wraps when they get dirty with faeces, or if they seem a bit smelly. This should only be about every other week or so, more frequently with a newborn, since they are more likely to get faeces on the wrap. Wool wraps are best washed by hand in plain white vegetable or olive soap. White vegetable soap is available in most supermarkets and is not expensive. You can also use a wool shampoo, but soap helps the wool to retain its water-resistant properties a little better.
Just rub the soap over the wrap, or even just the dirty bit, in lukewarm water then rinse. When washing the whole wrap, it is a good idea to finish off with a little white vinegar in the last rinse. Wool prefers slightly acid conditions, and hard water especially, is quite alkaline. Just a tablespoon is enough. If you have a child who soaks most of the wool overnight regularly, then a 10 minute soak in vinegar water before the wash can be beneficial to the wool.
Some wraps can be machine washed in the wool cycle, but only at 30 degrees, check the label and also your washing machine instructions, as some older machines still do a wool wash at 40 degrees.
After washing, spin the wrap on a very gentle spin in the washing machine, or roll the wrap up in a dry towel to remove the excess moisture, then hang to dry away from direct heat. Never put a wool wrap on a radiator or in the tumble drier, or it will shrink and felt. This is not bad in itself, as felted wool is very leak proof, but it won’t fit any more. The airing cupboard is fine to dry the wraps if you are in a hurry, but in general, allow 24 hours for them to dry fully if you have washed the whole wrap. It is also best not to dry wool in direct sunlight as this can also cause shrinkage.
Every 1 to 2 months, you will need to add some more lanolin to the wool wrap to keep its waterproof quality. You will know this needs doing, as the outside of the wrap and baby’s clothes will start to feel slightly damp when the nappy has been on a while, such as overnight. With an older child, you may find the wrap is smelly even when dry. This is when you should lanolise, even if the wrap isn’t yet starting to leak. A bed wetting 4 year old may need the woollen wrap lanolised every 10 days or so.
Some wool wraps seem to benefit from 2 or 3 lanolin treatments when new to build up the water-resistance to make sure the lanolin has penetrated deep into the wool fibres. Do these over the first 2 or 3 weeks of use, then you should find you can go 8 weeks or so before the next treatment. Wash the whole wrap in soap, as above then you can use one of 2 methods to re-lanolise the wrap.
You need about one teaspoon of wool cure to 1 litre of water (cool or lukewarm). A good way to do this is in an old ice cream tub. Use lukewarm water to soak the wrap from 10 minutes to 8 hours in the solution, overnight is good. No need to rinse, just dry as above, after washing.
The other method is cheaper, but a bit more work. Buy some pure lanolin (The Nappy Lady sells this). After washing the whole wrap, set it aside. Make a soapy water solution with about 1-2 litres of luke warm water and either 2 tablespoons of soap flakes or pure soap (rub it round in your hands until the water has a good lather, or grate.) Make sure you have a good lather. Then scoop out a little in a cup and add a level teaspoon of the pure lanolin. Heat in the microwave (or you could use a little boiling water) until the lanolin has melted. Pour this back into the soapy water. The water should go very milky in appearance. What you are doing is emulsifying the wax so it is suspended in the water (the same as washing up liquid removing the oil from your roasting tin). Now soak your wrap in this solution for 10 minutes to 8 hours, as above. Dry as above. If the wraps feel a bit sticky once dried, don't worry it just means you used a bit too much lanolin. They will be fine to wear and just use a little bit less lanolin next time.
While this may seem like a lot of bother, remember, you only need to wash every other week or so, and lanolise once every 4 to 8 weeks (depending on how much you use the wrap). As it does not need to be washed every day, you could argue that wool is quite low maintenance.
Lanolising a NEW WOOL wrap
With a new wool wrap it normally needs to be lanolised a few times to reach it's full potential. We advise you lanolise it and let it dry completely then wear it for a few days and then do it again. If you lanolise straight away before it has worked into the fibres it might go sticky as the lanolin will stick to the top of the last lot rather than work in. Our wool expert Emmally from Knots and Dots who make our bespoke wool wraps finds after the first treatment a wrap would last about 7 days before it needed another lanolin treatment. After a few treatments it could go over a month depending on the volume of wee and absorbency of the nappy underneath.
DISANA WOOL WRAPS WASHING INSTRUCTIONS
Washing Disana Wool Wrap
Disana's organic Merino wool is a very soft fabric so care must be taken when washing. Disana recommends hand washing or machine washing on a 30C wool programme but never any hotter than 30C. Use a Diana's wool shampoo which is designed to protect and replenish wool's natural oils. To hand-wash your organic Merino wool, dilute your wool detergent in cool water, max 30C (lukewarm only, should feel coolish), in a bowl. Add your woollens to the bowl, gently stirring and squeezing the detergent through. Rinse using water at the same temperature, otherwise your wool will be subjected to "shock" and might felt up. So lukewarm/coolish at 30C again.
DO NOT: Don't wring, soak, brush or rub vigorously as the wool fibres may be damaged and your garment may felt up and shrink. Just squeeze the water through.
To dry, gently squeeze water out and wrap your wool clothes in a towel to remove the excess water.
Air-dry naturally avoiding direct heat. So, hanging on a drying rack over the bath is good, or on a clothes horse, or flat on a dry towel. Mine often end up over the back of chairs or on the washing line (I haven't had a problem with the the heat of the English being too hot, yet!).
Re-shape while damp.