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Longies, and soakers, and skirties, Oh My!

January 31, 2008


I grew up with my mom using cloth diapers. So it was only natural that I decided to use cloth with my own little ones. There have been a few times that getting to throw away that nasty, stinky diaper sounded awfully appealing, but overall I have loved using cloth and really don’t think it’s much harder than disposables. I have always used pre-folds (some definitions)and covers, but this last year I was introduced to wool. At first, I was too overwhelmed to try. I also don’t know how to knit or crochet and they can be very expensive to buy. But then I found out that you could make covers from recycled sweaters. So I made my first cover and I’ve been hooked every since. I’m still amazed that a knit pair of pants could be so leak-proof! And they look so cute, too. So here are some basic instructions on the care of wool. At first it sounded kind of intimidating to me, all these terms I was unfamiliar with. But in reality, it is extremely easy to care for.  

Wool Wash and Lanolizing Instructions


                When you get a new pair of longies or other wool cover, before you can use it as a diaper cover, you will need to lanolize it. All you will need is some lanolin. You can use liquid lanolin (the easiest to use) or solid lanolin. I’ve read that solid lanolin is more effective, but I have only used liquid and it’s been fine for me. You can even use Lansinoh. I found my liquid Lanolin at a local supplement store. You can even find it at some groceries that have large health food sections. You will probably only need to lanolize it every other time you wash or even less frequently. If you find your covers are wicking, it’s time to re-lanolize.

1)      Fill a small jar with very hot water. Add a pea size amount of solid or about ¼ tsp or so of liquid lanolin. If you find your covers are wicking, you can try using more. If they seem sticky, you used too much (or didn’t dissolve it properly).  Add a drop or two of wool wash or baby wash and shake to mix.

2)      Add to a sink or basin full of tepid water and mix thoroughly

3)      Add your covers and immerse in the water completely.

4)      Let it soak for at least 15 minutes.

5)      Gently remove excess water by gently rolling a towel.

6)      Let dry completely.

7)      All done! That wasn’t so hard, was it!


                Wool doesn’t have to be washed very often, only once a month or so…or even longer depending on how many covers you have in rotation. Of course, if they get soiled or just plain stink, it’s time for a wash. You can use special wool wash (Eucalan is good) or you can just use a little baby soap. I would stick with something plain, without added lotions and such.

1)      Fill your sink with lukewarm water. Add about a tsp per quart of wool wash or baby soap. Better too little than too much. You need to be able to rinse it out afterwards. Of course, you also want them to be clean! If using bar wool soap, rub the bar under the water as you fill the sink or basin.

2)       Gently swish the cover under the water. It’s especially important to be careful with your wool if it isn’t already felted. If you use too warm of water and too much friction, you will felt it.

3)       Rinse in more tepid water until free of suds. 

4)      If you need to lanolize it, proceed to that step now

5)      Otherwise, gently squeeze out the excess water. I find the best way to do this is after I press out the major portion, to lay it on a towel and roll it up in the towel. This removes a lot of the water without being too rough on the wool.

6)      Lay it out to dry. This is the hardest part..waiting patiently for your favorite cover to dry. They do take a while, especially in the winter.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2008 5:15 pm

    That’s great information. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a pattern for making these out of sweaters?

  2. February 4, 2010 7:54 am

    Thanks for the instructions on lanolizing soakers/longies. I am linking to it in my blog!


  1. Diaper cover patterns « A Baby Registry Adventure

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