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There is a good reason why cloth diaper users always get so enthusiastic about wool diaper covers once they try them.
They’re natural, have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, are water-resistant once lanolized, and need to be washed rarely compared to standard PUL cloth diapers.
They can last longer than PUL, where the water-resistant layer will wash off eventually (after a couple of years of use).
They’re also biodegradable, which is another significant advantage if you’re striving to become more sustainable.
But are wool covers actually worth the price and learning a particular washing routine?
Wool diapers are slightly more expensive than PUL covers throughout 2.5 years of supposed cloth diapering for one child, but they will generally outlast the PUL covers. Wool care requires less effort than many parents believe – they can actually be very low maintenance.
Read on for a price comparison between wool and PUL covers, how much work wool care entails, and find out if they are suitable for you.
Are Wool Covers Worth The Cost?
Parents contemplating trying wool diaper covers for the first time are often concerned about the financial cost and the supposed high maintenance of wool.
These two reasons are precisely why I didn’t gather the courage to try wool until my second child was born.
Now I’m thrilled I gave wool a chance because it’s fantastic!
Let’s talk about the financial aspect first.
A Cost Comparison of Wool vs. PUL Covers
Wool covers are generally more expensive than all other cloth diaper items, such as PUL covers, all-in-ones, inserts, etc.
If you’re wondering why wool covers are so expensive, I went into more detail about the price in this post.
What makes it easier on the wallet is that you’ll need far fewer wool covers than other cloth diaper items.
I decided to research the prices online and find out if it’s worth investing in wool covers instead of PUL ones.
Many parents think they can only use wool covers at night, but this isn’t true.
Of course, you can use the wool pull-ups during the day as well, but daytime wool covers are a thing as well, and they’re fantastic. They’re very similar to PUL covers in shape; the only difference is they’re made of wool.
So to kickstart my research, I decided to compare the cost of full-time wool diapering (e.g., using wool covers during the day and the night) vs. using PUL covers for 2.5 years, which is a hypothetical age of potty training.
I looked up prices for different sizes for two different nighttime wool covers and two different daytime wool covers on Amazon and Etsy.
I calculated the average prices for each size and cover type and put them in the table below.
|Size||Average nighttime (USD)||Average daytime (USD)|
|EU 50-56 cm / 19-22 inches / 0-3 months;||27.70||34.15|
|EU 62-68 cm / 24-27 inches / 3-6 months;||28.30||44.72|
|EU 74-80 cm / 29-31 inches / 6-12 months;||28.30||40.50|
|EU 86-92 cm / 34-36 inches / 12-24 months;||28.30||41.53|
|EU 98-104 cm / 38-41 inches / 2-3 years;||28.91||44.72|
|EU 110-116 cm / 43-45 inches / 3-4 years.||29.99||/|
The following table shows the minimal and maximal prices I’ve encountered so you can better imagine the price ranges.
|Size||Min nighttime (USD)||Max nighttime (USD)||Min daytime (USD)||Max daytime (USD)|
|EU 50-56 cm / 19-22 inches / 0-3 months;||25.40||29.99||34.15||34.15|
|EU 62-68 cm / 24-27 inches / 3-6 months;||26.61||29.99||44.72||44.72|
|EU 74-80 cm / 29-31 inches / 6-12 months;||26.61||29.99||36.27||44.72|
|EU 86-92 cm / 34-36 inches / 12-24 months;||26.61||29.99||38.34||44.72|
|EU 98-104 cm / 38-41 inches / 2-3 years;||27.82||29.99||44.72||44.72|
|EU 110-116 cm / 43-45 inches / 3-4 years.||29.99||29.99||/||/|
I created a scenario for full-time diapering with wool covers, where you need the items I included in the table below. I chose the cheapest items from my research.
Read this post about how many wool covers you need for full-time wool diapering per age, so you will better understand the logic laid out in this post.
Some of the links in the table below are affiliates, meaning I may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase any of them. The links will take you to the online store, where each of the items is being sold.
|Full-Time Wool Diapering||Cost (USD)||Resell percent||Resell value (USD)||Net cost (USD)|
|Four small (newborn) DC||136.60||70%||97.44||40.98|
|Two medium 74/80 NC, four DC OS covers||198.30||70%||138.81||59.49|
|Two large 86/92 NC, four DC OS (same as you already own)||53.22||50%||26.61||26.61|
|Two extra large 98/104 NC, four DC OS (same as you already own)||55.64||50%||71.34||-15.70|
|Four hemp fitted diapers||74.99||30%||22.50||52.49|
|40 flat diapers||102.00||30%||30.60||71.40|
To be able to compare these costs with PUL covers, we obviously need the prices for PUL as well. I took the data from another post I wrote where I compared the price of cloth diapers against disposable diapers.
I decided to include one of the cheapest cloth diapering options here; PUL covers and flat diapers.
|PUL cloth diapers||Cost (USD)||Resell percent||Resell value (USD)||Net cost (USD)|
|12 newborn covers||126.11||70%||88.28||37.83|
|8 one-size covers||88.70||88.70|
|4 hemp fitted diapers||74.99||30%||22.50||52.49|
|40 flat diapers||102.00||30%||30.60||71.40|
As you can see from the above tables, wool covers will cost you about $150 more than using only PUL covers during the 2.5 years we used for calculations.
Nevertheless, wool covers will typically last longer than PUL covers, making them cheaper in the long run, especially if you plan on cloth diapering two or more babies.
That is why I think wool covers are worth the cost in the long run, but if you need to see savings in the short run, it will make the most sense to use PUL covers (except if you find really cheap preloved wool covers somewhere).
How Much Work Are Wool Covers?
Wool covers need a special washing routine and must be lanolized to become water-resistant. The good news is that you only need to wash and lanolize wool covers every 2 to 3 weeks.
(That is, if no poop gets on them during this period. In that case, you need to wash them as soon as possible. If the stain is small, you can spot-clean them, not wash the whole cover.)
Since wool is a delicate natural fabric, it must be treated gently and, therefore, washed by hand.
The whole process of washing wool covers takes about 5 minutes. You just need to be mindful of using a specialized wool detergent and lukewarm water temperature for washing and rinsing; otherwise, wool can felt and shrink.
I describe in detail how to wash wool covers in this post, so definitely check it out if you need additional information.
Lanolizing wool is also a quite simple procedure; you just need the right instructions.
Luckily for you, I created this ultimate guide for lanolizing wool covers which should leave you with well-lanolized wool every time and not with lanolin spots all over wool covers like it happened to me when I first tried lanolizing.
Honestly, the most time-consuming part of wool care is waiting for them to dry. This can take up to 3-4 days, especially in colder months of the year. I wrote more about how much time lanolizing really requires in this post.
Why You Should Give Wool Covers a Try
As you’ve probably noticed, I really love wool covers, and here are the reasons for my awe for them:
- They’re low maintenance (they only need to be aired between two diaper changes), especially if you manage to keep the baby’s poop off them. You can do that by using elimination communication or using fitted diapers underneath wool covers. Read more about which cloth diaper types exist and how to choose the right one here.
- They only need to be washed every 2 to 3 weeks.
- They are natural and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
- They are completely biodegradable (except for the snaps on daytime wool covers) – isn’t that amazing? No additional trash going to the landfills!
- They are very soft and comfortable for the baby. Nighttime wool covers (soakers) don’t have any elastics, so no elastics marks on your baby’s thighs in the morning.
- They keep the baby warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm. I like that nighttime covers keep the belly warm as well – this becomes very important if you’re dealing with cold nights and a baby that hates blankets.
What To Do If You Won’t Like Wool Covers
Since wool covers require a significant initial cost, you might still be on the fence about wool covers.
What if you do not like them for whatever reason after using them and then waste all this money?
My advice would be to sell them in your local cloth diapering community (some are really active on social media like Facebook) and try to regain as much of the original cost as possible.