The Nappy Lady Ltd

How to wash and lanolise wool nappy wraps

How to wash and lanolise wool nappy wraps

How often do you need to wash wool nappy wraps?

You only need to wash your wool wraps when they get dirty with faeces, or if they seem a bit smelly. This tends to be around every 2-3 weeks, more frequently with a newborn, since they are more likely to have explosive poo escape onto their cloth nappies and get poo on to their wool covers or wool longies.

Wool nappy covers are best washed by hand in plain white vegetable, olive soap or Disana's specialist wool shampoo.

How to wash your wool nappy covers:

  1. In a bowl with lukewarm water (no more than 30 degrees), rub your wool soap in your hands so that the water becomes cloudy.
  2. Add your wool wrap to the bowl and gently squeeze, allowing the soap to work through the wrap. You can leave for 10 minutes to allow the soap to work through if you wish.
  3. Using a fresh bowl of clean lukewarm water (again no more than 30 degrees) rinse the wrap, gently squeeze your wrap in the clean water to rinse out any excess soap.
  4. To dry gently press to squeeze out excess water, I find placing the wrap inside a clean towel to get rid of excess water very effective.
  5. Reshape your wool cover whilst still damp and lay flat to air dry naturally. They do take at least a day or two to dry. Avoid drying in direct sunlight or on a heat source, as this can cause felting. We do not recommend using a tumble dryer for a wool wrap.

photo shows wool wrap soaking in disana wool shampoo to be washed


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 water through.

Can you wash your wool nappy wrap in the washing machine?

We strongly recommend washing by hand, however some wool nappy covers wraps can be machine washed on a wool cycle but only at 30 degrees. Check the labels on your wool covers and also your washing machine instructions, as some older machines still do a wool wash at 40 degrees. 


How to lanolise wool nappy wraps

Every 1 to 2 months, you will need to add some more lanolin to the wool nappy cover 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.


Method 1 - Disana Lanolin Conditioner

You need about one teaspoon of Disana Lanolin Conditioner 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.

lanolin conditioner on a spoon showing how to mix with water

Method 2 - Pure solid lanolin

This method is cheaper, but a bit more work.

Buy some pure solid lanolin (The Nappy Lady sells this).

After washing the whole wrap, set it aside.

  1. Make a soapy water solution with about 1-2 litres of lukewarm water and either 2 tablespoons of soap flakes, baby shampoo or pure soap (rub it round in your hands, or grate.) Make sure you have a good lather.
  2. Then scoop out a little in a cup and add a pea sized amount of the pure lanolin.
  3. Heat this cup in the microwave (or you could use a little hot water or boiling water) until the lanolin has melted.
  4. 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).
  5. Now soak your wrap in this solution for 10 minutes to 8 hours, as above. Dry as above. 

solid lanolin on a spoon ready to dissolve into hot water

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

A new wool wrap normally needs to be lanolised a few times to reach its full potential. 

We advise you lanolise it and let it dry completely, 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 advisors find that 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.

Some of the different lanolin options:

Disana Wool Wraps Washing Instructions

Disana's organic Merino wool is a very soft fabric so care must be taken when washing. Disana Wool Shampoo is a mild wool detergent and matches to the very specific demands of natural wool. Disana wool shampoo preserves the sensitive wool fibres and minimises the risk of a possible felting by washing.

Disana recommends hand washing or machine washing on a 30C wool programme but never any hotter than 30C. 

Machine Washing Instructions

It is very important that you do not wash wool items too warm otherwise, wool suffers a "temperature shock" and pulls together quickly causing felting.

  • 15 ml per wash(1/2 capful).
  • Only wash woollens in the machine on a cold wool wash;
  • set temperature to “cold”(25°C);
  • do not spin;
  • do not leave in the suds.

Hand Washing Instructions

It is very important that you do not wash wool items too warm otherwise, wool suffers a "temperature shock" and pulls together quickly causing felting.

  • 5 ml per 4 litres of water into a hand basin.
  • Use lukewarm water (25°C) - check with a baby bath thermometer
  • Do not rub or scrape at woollens
  • Simply push the item down into the cleansing mixture several times to wash through
  • Only place woollens briefly in the water - the shorter the washing process the better for the product.
  • Rinse out with clear water after washing with lukewarm water (25°C)

Drying Instructions

Do not dry in the sun, on a radiator or a tumble dryer.

Instead lay your wool item on a dry terry towel and let it dry in a well ventilated room.

Re-shape while damp.