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  1. #1
    Junior Member highlandmom's Avatar
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    Default Wool Diaper Covers

    Ok, I have had it!!! I have tried the Kushie Diaper wraps, they smell, crack and the velcro stops working. I have tried the Bummies Super Snaps. They leak around my LO legs. I use Snap-to-fits as my 'good' diapers and pre-folds as my 'around-the-house'. I am also 'trying' to eliminate plastics in my house, if I can, so these seem like the best option.

    Does/has anyone used the wool covers? What brands? Are they water-tight (semi?)? Do they smell? How do you Lanonize? Washing? They say hand wash, but I have a frontload and it has a handwash option. Do you use special soaps?

    Or are the flannel option just as good? There just has to be a better way to CD without plastics.
    YouSupporting You On Your Journey From Belly 2 Baby
    Emillia - Midwife Hospital Birth Jan 2006, Nursed 26 months.
    Terran - Midwife Home Waterbirth Aug 2008. Nursed 14 months.
    Ryker - Midwife Home Waterbirth April 2010. Yes, I am still nursing!

  2. #2


    I overnighted Belle in wool for about 3 weeks and stopped. I used the Aristocrat Baby brand and yes, I handwashed and lanolized as was suggested and hung out on the line to freshen and dry after EVERY use and each morning she woke up dry but smelling like a horse stall. The smell seeped into everything. I gave up. I alsp had a JamTots wool cover that I used during the day and wasn't impressed. Despite lanolizing it still kind of seeped out. She was also teething at the time and I was rold that sometimes urine can take on a strong smell when teething but I couldn't bear it. I had to wash her sheets and nap bag every day.

    If I were to do it again I wouldn't overnight in wool but I'd use Aristocrats during the daytime for sure. They really do keep baby dry.

    Now it's pockets during the day and night time pull ups for bed because nothing cloth can contain her pee overnight as she sleeps 12+ hours.

    Not heard of flannel covers but fleece are supposed to be quite good.

  3. #3
    Expert Forum User Siana's Avatar
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    I've used wool covers, both day and night, almost exclusively for my second child, and we LOVE them

    Wool covers are amazing for so many reasons. They are great for regulating temp. and keeping baby dryer by being so breathable and absorbent. They are low maintenance since they don't need to be washed after every use, only when dirty (i.e. have poop on them), or you find the outside of the cover getting a bit damp.

    Here's an article on more about wool covers:

    Why Use Wool For Diaper Covers?
    by Marc Pehkonen

    Wool keeps sheep dry. Why? Wool's structure produces an elegant combination of water repellence, breathability and moisture absorbency.

    SEM Wool Image - Provided by
    100% Wool 25x Magnification (left side) | 250x Magnification (right side).
    Copyright © 2000 Marc Pehkonen of fuzbaby. Used by permission
    At a microscopic level wool consists of a series of overlapping scales (called cuticles) which have a tendency to repel water droplets. This structure, in combination with a thin coating of lanolin (an oil secreted from the sheep's skin) causes water to run off the fibers. (The duck's back effect is also a sheep's back effect.) Natural water repulsion makes wool a good candidate for a diaper cover.

    But there's more. Many artificial fibers also repel water, but that alone does not make them a good choice for a diaper cover-a plastic bag would fill this condition. It is important that the fabric also be able to breathe, or the temperature next to baby's skin will rise. Breathability (and hence reduced skin temperature) is an important factor in preventing diaper rash. When a woven wool fabric is boiled, the fibers become entangled and they form a lofty mesh with many tiny air pockets. This process is called fulling. Fulled wool is a highly water-resistant, breathable fabric.

    But there's (yet) more. There are artificial fibers that both repel water and breathe-Goretex is one such fabric. The third important property of wool is that it also has the ability to absorb moisture at a microscopic level. Beneath the water-repellent outer cuticle of the wool fiber is a highly porous core. The voids in this core can store minuscule water droplets-up to 30% by weight of the fiber itself-so that wool is able to both absorb and transmit moisture simultaneously. This is a very elegant, balanced mechanism, and there is no artificial fiber that can do this.

    This threefold combination of water-repellence, breathability and moisture absorbency make wool unparalleled as a choice for diaper covers.

    It is also worth noting that even if an artificial fiber could be manufactured that exactly duplicated the properties of wool, it would still be a less desirable choice. Without exception, attempts to mimic nature are highly energy and resource intensive, even if they achieve their goal. Simple wool keeps sheep dry. It will keep your baby dry too.

    Would you like to try wool diaper covers on your baby? Wool soakers (pull-on covers) are easy to make. Knit or crochet your own wool soakers from the Down Under Diaper Cover pattern at Born to Love.

    If you are looking for ready-made wool covers, many family-owned businesses make them. The fabric for AJ's Wonderful Wool Soakers is machine knitted, and these wrap around covers are finished by hand. WoollyBears are old-fashioned, crocheted soakers. Mountain Bums make pull-on Woolly Bums from sweaters. JoBos offer side snap, wool jersey covers. And finally, our family business, fuzbaby, has the fuzbomb, a wrap around cover made from fulled wool fabric.

    copyright © 2000 fuzbaby

    About the Author: Marc Pehkonen is a Materials Scientist and an enthusiastic supporter of the family business, fuzbaby, run by his wife, Lori Taylor. Marc has worked on sheep farms in New Zealand, sheared sheep, spun wool, and he is a knitter. He is the father of two cloth-diapered, wool-covered children. They love wool diaper covers, wool coats, wool blankets, wool sweaters, wool hats, wool shoes. This family loves wool.
    What brands?
    I have Aristocrats, Sugarpeas, Little Lambs, and a few other WAHM hand-knitted covers.

    Aristocrats are a machine knit pull-up cover and are considered one of the best nighttime covers - it's quite thick, and have a wide coverage (IMO not such a great daytime cover for active babies). TheThe Sugarpeas I have are wool flannel.

    Sugarpeas are side-snap wool flannel diaper covers. They've been great for daytime use, though I can get away with nightime use since LO most often doesn't pee at night anymore.

    Little Lambs is a two-layer wool flannel cover with snaps. They're also known to be great for heavy wetters, but I didn't get around to using ours (it was tucked away in out linen bin... out of sight, out of mind).

    There is a lot of variation in the Hand-knitted covers I have. Some are thinner or thicker than others (and so the absorbency varies). Except for the hand-knitted one I made (with an extra absorbent crotch area), I pretty much use the rest during the day. The ones I have double as shorties, so they're very practical.

    Are they water-tight (semi?)?
    Wool is a water-resistant breathable material. Depending on the wool fibers used for the cover, the ability to repel and absorb moisture varies. A thicker yarn or more layers of yarn aids in more moisture absorbtion. Lanolin is what aids in repelling moisture.

    Do they smell?
    Just after removing a pee soaked diaper, I have noticed a smell on the cover (of pee of course!). I just hang to dry, and it doesn't take long for the smell to disapate. I like alternating between two nighttime covers (for instance) though, because I like them drying out completely before using again.

    How do you Lanonize? Washing? They say hand wash, but I have a frontload and it has a handwash option. Do you use special soaps?
    "Periodically, wool covers must be re-lanolized to maintain the water resistance. Use only 1/4 to 3/4” of the Lansinoh Lanolin or PureLan. Solid lanolin such as Lansinoh is more effective than liquid lanolins or lanolin sprays. Start with 1/4” and see if you need more. If you overdo the lanolin, the cover will feel greasy. That is actually ok if you don’t mind how that feels, and you wool will perform very well with the extra lanolin. In a cup or the bottom of the sink if you have very hot water ready at the tap, melt the lanolin in hot water, and add some Eucalan. By adding the Eucalan to the lanolin mixture to prevent the lanolin from glopping. The lanolin must stay a bit warm or it will congeal and get gloppy. Fill a small sink or container with room temperature water and add the lanolin-Eucalan mixture, then gently press the cover under the water. Swish a tiny bit, or very gently massage it to distribute the lanolin into the entire cover. You can turn the cover inside out and gently lift the cover through the water so the cover catches the lanolin, but be gentle. Let it soak for at least 15 minutes, longer is fine. Add warm water if needed. Don’t get the water too hot so you don’t shrink the cover. Water that is too cold will shock the wool and can shrink it. Caring for wool sounds more diffcult than it really is. The breathability and natural antibacterial quality of wool cannot be matched by any synthetic. Wool doesn’t retain odors like all synthetics do. Wool is well worth the effort. Caring for wool may actually be easier than synthetic covers because the washing is so infrequent." (source)

    If you're interested in some second-hand wool covers, we're done with some (and hopefully in a few months LO will be done with diapering entirely... I can't wait to reclaim the top of the kids dresser etc.LOL).
    Mama to two
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  4. #4
    Expert Forum User bikruca's Avatar
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    one thing worth noting is that a wool cover is only as good as the diaper under it- with plastic covers you can get away with using a less absorbant diaper than your child needs because it will pool inside the cover- with wool when it become saturated enough it will eventually make it's way through the wool.

    I liked wool but simplified to a system dh and I both liked (pockets) I used loveybums wool flannel (great fit and daytime use), handknit shorties and longies, a kiwipie cashmere cover (these were sooo hard to get lol), and various other things. Now that we are using exclusivley prefolds I am thinking about getting 1 or 2 wool covers to add to our stash but I don't want to complicate things since dh does a LOT of our diapering. 8)

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  5. #5
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    I used wool covers exclusively on my Shaylin... until she was 2. Day and night... I really loved them. I agree about them being only as good as the diaper under them.
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    Wool doesn’t retain odors like all synthetics do.
    Hmm, this may actually be the winning-over argument for me. I definitely find that Ben's covers retain odors. They're PUL (Mother-ease airflows), and because he's remained such a skinny kid over time, he's been in his current size of diaper covers for the past 2 (maybe 2.5?) years. So they're quite used now, and they get stinky fast -- when Ben has a BM, his cover always needs changing, even though it's almost never actually soiled, because it picks up the smell so badly.

    I'll definitely need to buy some more large covers before Evan's in them (which will be soon!), since Ben's larges are worn enough that I really don't want to put another baby through them. (They're not ratty, but they are greyed and, as already mentioned, retain smells.) Plus, Ev will probably be in larges before Ben's out of them, and 6 covers aren't enough to cloth diaper 2 kids conveniently (particularly when you need a fresh one with each toddler BM.) So, since I have to buy covers anyway, I may give wool a try.

    Can you recommend some good sources to buy wool covers? If I tried planning to knit them myself, I know it'd never get done, so I really ought to just buy them. We'd need heavy-duty ones for Evan for overnight, as he's a heavy wetter. (He goes to bed in an organic ME Sandy's with a hemp JamTots doubler -- major bubble butt! -- and it's completely soaked (but not leaking) by the morning.) And some others for during the day. I think I'd just buy a couple at first, just enough to try them out, then if they work out (esp. if they really don't retain smells!), top up our supply as needed.

    formerly Kathy

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