“Wool covers? Really you put that itchy hot wool on your baby?”
I know that in a lot of the cloth diaper histories they say that wool is just now being found to be a good cover for cloth diapers. This statement is NOT true. Wool covers have been around for probably as long as the cloth diaper. Man has been using wool for centuries, and I am sure there was some smart lady that thought it would be great for a diaper cover so her lap didn’t get wet. Ok, maybe that is far fetched, but really if you ask your grandma or great grandma what they used over their cloth diapers they would most likely say wool. My hubby’s Grandma thinks that my cloth diapers are so fun because they have bright colors and no pins! We have talked cloth diapers many times. Once the topic of covers came up… she said she used wool covers. Her boys would get terrible rashes and ammonia burns if she used the plastic pants. So she made up some wool covers. My hubby’s dad had wool covers on his bum… we are only 2 generations removed from that. Other countries such as New Zealand, Australia and England use mostly wool covers. So why do we say they are the latest and greatest in cloth diapering? I have no idea.
What is the difference between wool and plastic covers? What makes wool so great? How do you take care of it? Let’s talk about it…
WOOL COVERS VS. PUL COVERS
1. Wool is absorbent.
PUL covers are moisture resistant, but not absorbent. Wool is actually quite absorbent, increasing the capacity of your diapering system, while also acting as a barrier by not releasing that moisture to your lap.
2. Wool is breathable.
What is PUL? It is a PolyUrethane that they Laminate on to a fabric. Most often it is a polyester fabric, but I have seen PUL on cotton, too. PUL is supposed to be more breathable than the plastic pants that have been used as diaper covers in the past. I guess maybe it might be, but I have PUL fabric at my house… and I have tried to breath through it. -Really I did! And….? Nope… I couldn’t breath though it. So in my mind, if I can’t breathe through it, then how much air is really being circulated? Well, not as much as I would like.
Wool is very breathable, though. Wool is the perfect fabric. It allows your body to be warm when the weather is cool, and cools the body through evaporative cooling when it is hot. So even if you live in Florida or Arizona, you can use wool on your baby and they will feel cool and comfortable!
3. Wool is convenient.
The PUL covers are pretty convenient for throwing in the wash when ever you need to, but wool care is easier than you think! (See below section for wool care.)
You can say… “ah-ha, but the PUL covers snap.” You would be right, but so do wool covers. I make a pretty mean wrap style wool cover that snaps and is a one-size.
4. Wool is versatile and stylish.
I also love the versatility of wool. There are pull up style covers such as soakers and longies. Even more fun, though, are the skirties and shorties that are simply adorable. I love that they can replace the blah jeans that everyone else puts on their babies that, let’s be honest, really aren’t that comfy. I loved putting handmade longies on my babies because no other little baby would have the same outfit.
5. Wool is natural.
PUL is about as man-made as you can get. Wool is about as natural as you can get. Wool is naturally anti-bacterial, and, as an added benefit, it is also naturally flame retardant. Wool can also be extremely soft! I hand pick the wool I use for my covers, and if you could feel the wool I pick, you would be sad I was cutting up the sweater. Really, you would want it for yourself.
CARING FOR WOOL
Getting back to the washing comparison, wool is different! It is SPECIAL!
Really, the care of wool is not that hard. I know this is a big, BIG part of why most people are afraid to try wool coves. However, a mama who once reviewed my products said this about wool:
“I had no idea that wool was so low-maintenance. Unlike fleece or other materials that need to be washed after each use, wool only needs to be washed and lanolized once a month” -Kristen
So, from the mouth of a mama… wool is easy to care for:
- I simply hand wash the woolies in lukewarm water,
- then melt a pea sized amount of lanolin in a cup of boiling water.
- Add the lanolin/water to a big bowl of lukewarm water and
- then add the woolies.
- Let them soak there for 4-6 hrs or overnight.
- Then get the water out without wringing the woolie. I throw mine (not the delicate crocheted or knitted ones) in the spin cycle of my washing machine. (The delicate ones can just be rolled in a towel to absorb the excess water.)
- Then hang them up to dry. I love to hang them outside, they dry super fast.
I even have a simple lanolizing video tutorial on my webpage.
Wool can be soft, it is absorbent, and is 100% breathable. Wool is a perfect cover for cloth diapers.
Vilate is a WAHM with 6 kiddos and a longtime RDA supporter and volunteer. She has perfected her cloth diaper design over the 12 years she has been using cloth diapers. You can find a lot of cloth diapering and wool information on her website. http://niftynappy.com.