Lanolising Wool Nappy Covers
What is lanolising?
Lanolising wool nappy wraps is the process of adding lanolin to wool to maintain its water resistant properties. Sheep naturally produce lanolin but once it is made into a wool nappy wrap you need to manually do this.
How often will I need to lanolise?
Approximately every 6-8 weeks you will need to add some more lanolin to the wool cover to keep its waterproof quality. The frequency of lanolising will vary for different children and how much they wet.
You will know this needs doing, as the outside of the wrap and baby’s clothes will start to feel slightly damp when the cloth nappies haves 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.
Many people lanolise after every other wash. Wash the whole wrap in soap, as per the details in our wool care guide, then you can use one of two methods to re-lanolise the wrap.
Lanolising new wool covers
For a brand new wool nappy cover, I would recommend 3 lanolin treatments initially to build up the water-resistance and to make sure the lanolin has penetrated deep into the wool fibres. Some people choose to do these initial treatments one after the other, without drying in between. Or you can do these over the first 2 or 3 weeks and using for a few nights in between, this is personal preference.
You should then find you can go 8 weeks or so before the next treatment.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Then scoop out a little in a cup and add a pea sized amount of the pure lanolin.
- Heat this cup in the microwave (or you could use a little hot water or 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
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.