Lanolising Wool Wraps
Sunday, 5 July 2020
Lanolising Wool is the process of adding lanolin to wool to maintain it's water resistant properties. Sheep naturally produce lanolin but once it is made into a wrap you need to manually do this.
Approximately every 6-8 weeks you will need to add some more lanolin to the wool wrap to keep its waterproof quality (this will vary for different children). 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.
For a brand new wool wrap, 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. 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 2 methods to re-lanolise the wrap.
If using a wool cure (such as Disana conditioner) you need approximately one teaspoon of wool cure to 1 litre of water (max. 30 degrees). Use lukewarm water to soak the wrap for 15 minutes to 8 hours in the solution, overnight is good. If you are lanolising for the first time, I would recommend 8 hours if possible. No need to rinse, just dry as above, after washing.
The other method is more economical. Buy some pure lanolin (The Nappy Lady sells this). After washing the whole wrap, set it aside. In a bowl with lukewarm water (no more than 30 degrees), rub your wool soap in your hands so that the water becomes cloudy, then melt a pea size amount of your solid lanolin, either in the microwave or in a small amount of boiling
water, add to your soapy water and mix together. 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 15 minutes to 8 hours. There is no need to rinse after lanolising. To dry gently squeeze out excess water, I find placing the wrap inside a clean towel to get rid of excess water very effective. Then all you need to do is reshape whilst 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, which can cause felting. I would not recommend using a tumble dryer for your wool wrap. 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, just use a little bit less lanolin next time.