Are Wool Covers Waterproof? (And a New Way to Use Wool)


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You’re probably confused if you’ve recently learned about using wool covers as the water-resistant layer for your baby’s cloth diapers.

At least, I was when I first heard about people using wool covers instead of PUL covers.

Surely wool can’t take all that fluid and not leak. Wool just isn’t waterproof.

That was my thinking, anyway.

But here’s the truth!

Wool covers are water-resistant when appropriately lanolized and can be used reliably as a cloth diaper cover. Nevertheless, wool covers are not waterproof because they can only hold a certain amount of water.

Read on to learn how wool covers work when it comes to cloth diapering, and learn to use this fantastic fabric for a must-have cloth diapering item that you probably haven’t thought of yourself.

A grey nighttime Disana wool cover.
A grey nighttime Disana wool cover.

Are Wool Diaper Covers Waterproof?

Wool diaper covers are not waterproof but can be water-resistant enough to use them as covers for cloth diapers reliably.

But don’t just buy a wool cover and use it without treating it properly – wool won’t be able to repel water on its own effectively.

Wool covers can become significantly more water-resistant by treating them with lanolin (affiliate link to Amazon), a wax that is naturally present in wool. But if lanolin is naturally present in wool, why would you need to lanolize it again? I explained this in a separate post. Check it out, so you’ll understand it works.

Lanolin is essentially neutralizing any urine that comes in contact with it and is therefore getting used up all the time. That is why wool covers need to be lanolized about every 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the use.

Lanolizing wool covers is a simple process, but you do need to follow specific rules. I’ve had experience with oversimplified lanolizing instructions from lanolin manufacturers and other internet users. I ended up with lanolin spots all over my wool covers, and I couldn’t understand why.

That is why I created this ultimate guide to lanolizing wool covers effectively every time so you won’t waste as much time as I did.

Are Wool Diaper Covers More Water-Resistant Than PUL Covers?

Wool covers can be more water-resistant than their PUL counterparts, but this depends on the amount of lanolin that is present in the wool cover.

If wool covers have been effectively lanolized a few times in a row, I believe they will be more water-resistant than PUL covers.

Many parents happily report that they finally stopped the nighttime leaks after switching to wool covers at night, which means they are highly reliable if they’re appropriately lanolized. Many of these parents used PUL cloth diapers or even disposable diapers at night before trying wool.

If you’re starting to get convinced you need to try wool, here’s a post I wrote directly for you: Are Wool Covers Worth It?

How To Make Wool Diaper Covers Last Longer?

While I’ve already established that wool covers aren’t waterproof, there are certainly a few things you can do to prolong their water-resistant properties and save yourself some time before lanolizing them again.

  • Use very absorbent cloth diapers under wool covers, e. g. fitted diapers, instead of flat diapers (both Amazon affiliate links).
  • Use a lanolin spray (link to an Etsy store) to prolong the time before lanolizing.
  • Use a lanolized wool liner (link to an Etsy store) by placing it between the wool cover and the absorbent cloth diaper (e. g., fitted diaper). The lanolized liner will neutralize the urine instead of the wool cover, and it will buy you a week or two before lanolizing again.

How To Use Wool For A Must-Have Cloth Diaper Item

This might come as a surprise to you, but some people are using wool as the water-resistant material for their wet bags.

Wet bags or diaper pails are used to keep used cloth diapers until wash day. They are usually deemed one of the essential cloth diapering items by many parents.

Wet bags are usually made of PUL – the same water-resistant material used outside of cloth diapers (with beautiful colorful prints on them). That makes them easy to wash together with dirty cloth diapers.

Wet bags made of wool, however, can’t be thrown in the washing machine together with other dirty cloth diapers, making them a bit more high maintenance.

I recommend using wool wet bags only for storing peed cloth diapers. Poopy diapers will be a pain to thoroughly clean each time, even if the baby is breastfed exclusively, which means their poop is completely water-soluble.

That said, wet bags made of wool will likely be for you only if you’re at least somewhat successful with elimination communication (catching pees and poops based on your baby’s cues). I wouldn’t store poopy diapers in them because cleaning the poop off of wool is a bit more work.

A major disadvantage with wool wet bags is that they are almost impossible to find online, so your best bet is to knit one yourself (or someone knits it for you).

If you do decide to go for it, definitely lanolize it properly and start using it for peed cloth diapers.

I would turn it inside out after emptying it for washing, so it airs out, and then I wouldn’t wash it until it started smelling – the same as with wool covers.

The good news is that a wool wet bag will almost certainly outlive a PUL wet bag, which will start leaking after a certain amount of washing, which is great news if you intend to have more children.

Wool is also completely biodegradable, making it an even more sustainable choice than PUL.

Since wool wet bags won’t be touching your baby’s skin, there is no need to worry about the wool being itchy. Because of this, you can use cheaper wool for wet bags than merino which is commonly used for diaper covers.

Natasha

When I first became a mom, it shocked me how much more waste we produced by adding a tiny little member to our family. Since then, it's become very important to me to be more sustainable as a family. I'm excited to share with you what I'm learning along the way!

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