Trust me, I know that if you've never used wool it is an intimidating idea. Heck, I avoided it for a long time because I was afraid of it! But I promise, once you get the hang of washing and lanolizing your wool it is such a breeze. First you need to gather your supplies:
I do have to confess that I use liquid lanolin. A lot of people buy a tub of the solid one and melt it themselves, but I chose a slightly easy/lazy route. It makes for one less step, and it is made by Sudz N Dudz, which some cloth diaper retailers sell.
Next, you want to rinse the wool. Rather than running it under running water you will want to fill a bucket, tub, or bowl with luke warm water. Water temp is important because if it is too hot, you can shrink the wool. Then add the wool in and just gently push it up and down with your hand like so:
Once the wool is rinsed, it is time to add the wool wash. I remove the soaker from the bowl, dump the water, refill with water, add the soap and suds it up, then add in the soaker. Once again, I gently pump the soaker up and down. Then I let it just sit there in the sudsy water for about 15 minutes.
And after the soaking is done, once again it is time to rinse but this time you will need to empty the bowl, rinse it out a bit, then add in water and move the soaker up and down until you don't see any more bubbles in it. Now you have a nice clean wool soaker, which isn't really waterproof til it has been lanolized!
Don't worry...lanolizing is simple, especially if you use liquid lanolin like I do! You'll want to make sure the bowl still has nice clean warm water in it and squirt a pea size amount of lanolin. You'll find it tends to just float in a few spots in the bowl.
That is where the baby shampoo comes into play; you need to emulsify the lanolin, which means that the shampoo binds to the lanolin and spreads it evenly throughout the water. When you do that, it'll help coat the soaker a little more evenly. You add in some squirts of shampoo and swirl the water until you see it turn a milky white color.
At this point, I turn my soaker inside out in order to get more of a lanolin coating on the inside, which is where it makes more sense to have all the lanolin to prevent leaks. Then all you need to do is add in the wool and if it floats up, you can weigh it down with a heavy mug!
As far as how long to lanolize, I prefer to do that overnight and find that I don't need to lanolize again for a couple of months. When I did once lanolize for only half an hour, I started getting leaks 2 weeks later. After however long you decide to leave your wool in the lanolin, you need to let the wool dry. Be warned that the wool will take in a lot of liquid so it is best to roll it between a towel and step on it to really press out as much water as possible. I forgot to get pictures of myself doing this but I know that if you google The Gnome's Mom blog, you'll be able to find even more info on wool and pics of how to dry it. Once you have pressed out the excess water, the wool can be left out to air dry and in my experience, that can take a few days. I like to flip it after 12 hours, turn it rightside in after another 12 hours, then flip again after 12 hours so that air gets to all parts of it.
I really hope that this blog helps anyone considering investing in some wool. Happy diapering!