One of the most confusing things about learning to use wool is figuring out how to care for it. Many new wool users treat there wool like a newborn baby that is fragile and needs special around the clock attention, I was one of these too. In reality wool is a tough textile. You can rest easy when your kids go outside and come in covered in mud. I have never had a stain I couldn’t get out. Now that I am used to using my wool it isn’t so hard, and I realize that I was pampering it a bit too much in the beginning.
There are several kinds of wool but the most common are knit and interlock. Interlock wool can generally be washed on cold on a gentle cycle in the washing machine. You can dry them on low, or hang to dry. Not all interlock is machine washable so make sure to check your manufacturer’s directions. Knit wool can be a little more tricky. It needs to be hand washed and cannot be dried in the dryer, unless of course you are trying to felt the wool, but that is another story. Below is a step by step guide to washing and lanolizing your wool. You may find that something else works for you or that you need more lanolin on you woolies. These are the basics, so alter them to meet your needs.
First off you are going to need some wool wash and some lanolin. These are the main ingredients to caring for wool. After the first lanolin bath you may not need to lanolize again as most wool wash bars or liquids I have seen do have lanolin in them. I just use wool wash now and haven’t had a problem with leaks.
Recipe for Lanolin Soak: teaspoon lanolin, little bit of water, some baby wash. Mix in a cup or bowl and microwave about a minute, after washing your wool with the wool wash pour the lanolin mix into the water and swirl around, then add in your wool. You may have to work in the lanolin if you see it forming heavily in spots. Let soak 15minutes to 3hrs, you won’t need more than that. (I do about 30min)
Run the wool bar or liquid under lukewarm water, the water will turn a milky color. You can use the bar or your fingers to work the wash into the wool. Don’t be afraid to really rub on stains or dirty areas, turn it inside out too so you can get the wool that has the most contact with the diaper area. If you have lanolin stains or tough stains that don’t seem to be coming out, use dawn dish liquid. It will get nearly every stain. But you will have to relanolize because dawn will strip out the lanolin. No need to rinse out the wool wash.
Next gently squeeze out any excess water, do not wring or twist it. Then it is very helpful to lay the wool on a towel and then roll it up. Just let it sit there an hour or so and the towel will soak up a lot of the water. After you are done lay them out on a dry towel to dry. I don’t recommend hanging longies on a drying rack while they are still wet, they will dry into a weird shape. If you let them mostly dry lying flat then you can hang them up to finish. I like to shave them with a wool shaver after they are dry it makes them look new and is nice for getting off all the little fuzzies.
Now that wasn’t too hard was it? Before long you will be a wool washing expert and find all the tricks that work best for you.