Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Don't Fear the Shear: Embrace Wool!

Q: What do you get when you cross a sheep and a porcupine?

A:  An animal that can knit its own sweaters.

I love wool.  I've been wearing and caring for wool for over twenty years and never had a reason to fear it, so you shouldn't either!

Some basic facts about the miracle fiber we call wool:

  • Resists wrinkles and soiling
  • Durable
  • Repels moisture
  • Retains its shape
  • Flame resistant
  • Breathable fiber: cool in the summer and warm in the winter
  • Mold and mildew resistant because it repels moisture

That's all fine and dandy, but you want to know, "What's so great about wool and cloth diapering?"  First of all, it's old-school: with wool, you can impress others with your retro/vintage-diapering ways!   

Here are some other reasons why wool & cloth diapers make a perfect pair:

  • Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling damp or clammy, and it retains 70% of its insulation qualities when wet 

  • Wool is great at regulating temperature: Wool is the only known fiber that can help the wearer regulate body temperature in a wide range of temperatures. It is capable of keeping the wearer warm in winter and cool in summer (reference)
  • Wool resists absorbing odors & readily disperses them
  • Wool is biodegradable

  • Wool is self-cleaning: Lanolin on wool interacts with the ammonia in urine to form a soap. This makes wool diaper covers 'self-cleaning.' Just hang them to air dry and they will stay smell fresh for several uses. When heavily soiled, diaper covers can be handwashed in a lanolin rich soap to restore their amazing ability to neutralize urine odors (reference)

I think one of the things that dissuades people from using wool covers with diapering is the idea that wool requires a great deal of care: a fact that couldn't be farther than the truth.  If you were to use the same wool cover all day, every day; you would only need to wash that cover once every week or two: that's a HUGE difference from the PUL and fleece covers that many people use. 

When you do wash your wool cover, the care is very easy.  Simply fill your sink with lukewarm water, add a little mild soap (some people just use baby wash), and work through your cover like you're kneading dough.  Many people will use an all-in-one wool wash like Eucalan, in which you wash as usual, soak for at least 30 minutes, and your cover is both washed and lanolized.  Lie flat to air dry and you're done.  TA-DA!  The hardest and most time-consuming part of the process is the air-drying, which can take a day or so (so be sure to have a backup cover for wash days).

Since becoming a mother and staying at home to raise my kiddo(s), I started using wool for diapering & laundry and fell in love with using wool to knit.  It's the perfect fabric/textile for those looking to create a greener environment for their family.  I love wool so much that I created a business to spread that love: Median Woolworks.  I make woolen goodies - everything from upcycled wool longies/shorties, babyleggings, dryer balls, and hand-knit cowls. 

I see it like this - if I can care for wool, anyone can (says the woman who doesn't even iron)!  Don't Fear the Shear - Embrace Wool!

Median Wool Works is offering a Giveaway Prize of one Up-Cycled Wool Cloth Diaper Soaker to help you embrace wool!

Open to US residents 18-years of age and older.  Cloth Diaper Guru is not responsible for prize fulfillment and received no compensation for this guest feature and giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I really have always wanted to understand wool and cloth... but I just don't "get" it. I understand that it theoretically shouldn't stink and should repel water back into the fitted diaper... but the one time I tried it, my son looked like he was wearing a weird bulky sweater on his bottom. And it stunk of his super strong funky pee the next morning. :/

    1. It's normal that the cover would have smelled like your son's urine, or even ammonia, but the difference with wool is that you need only turn the cover inside out and hang/lay air out, and the ammonia/urine smell would be gone (because of wool's ability to neutralize odors, unlike other fabrics used in diapering).

  2. I just LOVE wool too! For myself (working outside in damp conditions) AND for diapering. I will not fear the shear! lol

  3. What a fantastic post about wool! Love the sheep graphic! It's definitely good to have 2 or 3 wool covers to start out with, since you have to factor in drying time and also time for hanging/freshening a cover that was peed on (as you mentioned above). Thankfully, talented mamas like Lauren are providing gorgeous upcycled wool soakers in a more budget-friendly option!

  4. Even with 5 years of cloth diapering on my Mommy Resume, I am still a "wool virgin". I guess I had always been intimidated by it, but using wool is really much easier than I thought :-)

  5. I am definitely not very comfortable with wool even though I ought to be.. I had a wool soaker once and never used it because the separate laundry was a pain for me. I'd love to try again now that I know more!

  6. I love my wool. Would love to try one from her as well!

  7. I really want to try wool. I've heard it's great for overnight cloth diapering, something we've yet to attempt...

  8. I LOVE wool covers!!! They're AMAZING, especially for night time use.

  9. I've been cloth diapering for 21 months and I still haven't taken the wool plunge.. Perhaps your giveaway will be my gate way :)

  10. I got into wool late so I only have 2 but I love them!