How Long Does It Take To Lanolize Wool Covers?

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After learning that wool covers need lanolizing to be efficient as diaper covers, you’re probably wondering how much time it will take to do this.

At least, I did when I contemplated getting wool covers for the first time.

Now that I’ve lanolized wool covers a lot of times already, I can tell you how long it will take you to do this.

It takes about 3 minutes to prepare the lanolin bath, about 3 to 4 hours to soak the wool covers in the lanolin bath, and roughly 1 to 3 days to dry the lanolized wool covers. The lanolization process, including all of the above steps, will require about 1 to 3 days before completion.

Read more about how much time each step can take and how you can alter these times to your advantage if needed. I’ll also describe why wool needs to be lanolized and how often you should do it for the best wool experience.

How Much Time Does it Take to Lanolize Wool Covers?

Lanolizing wool seems like a long process if you consider that the whole process, including drying, can take up to 3 days.

The truth is that the lanolization will require only a tiny amount of active work on your part. The majority of the time will be spent waiting.

There are three crucial steps to lanolizing wool covers; preparing the lanolin bath, soaking wool covers in the lanolin bath, and drying lanolized wool covers.

I created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to lanolizing wool covers in this post, so check it out!

A lanolin bath ready to be used for lanolizing wool covers.

How Much Time Does it Take to Prepare the Lanolin Bath?

Preparing the lanolin bath will be the shortest step; you’ll only need about 3 minutes to prepare the lanolin emulsion, including bringing all the necessary supplies to the place you’ll be lanolizing.

Make sure you read this post before preparing the lanolin batch for the first time, so you won’t end up with lanolin patches all over your wool covers (like I did on my first try).

If you’re using pure solid lanolin (check out this post for the best lanolin for lanolizing wool covers), you’ll need hot water and a few drops of an emulsifier, such as baby shampoo or wool detergent (affiliate link to Amazon) to achieve the homogenous milky-looking emulsion.

If you’re using a pre-prepared lanolin emulsion, skip the emulsifier and only add some hot water.

You’ll need to mix all these ingredients for about half a minute (in both cases) and then pour the emulsion into a larger container with lukewarm water and again mix it thoroughly. This shouldn’t take more than a minute, either.

There you have it – your lanolin bath is ready in under 3 minutes!

How Much Time Does it Take to Soak Wool Covers in the Lanolin Bath?

The general recommendation for lanolizing wool covers is to let them soak in the lanolin bath for about 3 to 4 hours; however, some users lanolize only for about 10 minutes, while others do it overnight.

After having the lukewarm (no more than 30° Celsius/86° Fahrenheit because wool is sensitive to heat) lanolin bath ready, you need to submerge your wool covers into the bath slowly. The wool absorbs liquids very slowly, so you need to take a minute here to ensure the wool is completely soaked with the emulsion.

Then leave the covers in the lanolin bath for about 3 to 4 hours unless you can’t fit this into your schedule.

Leaving them in the bath for only about 10 minutes will likely mostly do the job, but you have to accept the possibility that all the lanolin won’t be deposited into the wool as effectively as with a long soak.

I have never lanolized for such little time, so I’m not sure how this would work in practice, but I’d imagine you’ll need to lanolize the covers again sooner than you would have to if you let them lanolize for a longer time.

Some users also leave their covers in the lanolin bath overnight.

I’ve done that already, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes I just forgot to take the covers out of the lanolin bath in the evening after a couple of hours.

This doesn’t hurt the covers; if anything, it is just overkill. Lanolin deposits into the wool after a couple of hours, and when that time has passed, leaving it in the lanolin bath for a long time won’t make such a difference anymore.

To summarize, depending on the hurry you’re in, you can have this step down in as little as 10 minutes or make it last up to 12 hours (the whole night).

A grey wool cover drying on the drying rack.

How Much Time Does it Take to Dry Lanolized Wool Covers?

Wool covers generally need anywhere from 1 to 3 days of air-drying, depending on the temperature and humidity.

Drying the lanolized wool covers will require the most time in the lanolization process. The good news is you don’t have to do anything if you don’t have the time.

After taking the wool cover out of the lanolin bath, gently place it on a towel and roll the towel together with the wool to gently press as much water as possible out of the wool.

I like to repeat this press roll about three times, so I get as much water out as possible. You can also turn the cover inside out (or vice versa) and do the press roll on this side as well.

Now that you’ve gotten most of the water out of the wool, it’s time to let them dry on their own. I turn them inside out (and vice versa) every 12 hours so they can dry evenly on both sides.

If you leave them to dry before going on a weekend getaway or some similar outing, don’t worry about turning them inside out – the covers will dry anyway; it just might take a bit more time.

Please note that wool should always be air-dried flat and never in the dryer, especially not lanolized wool, which would make the inside of your dryer very greasy.

In my experience, the wool covers dry the fastest in summer when the temperatures reach up to 30°C/86°F. It only takes them about one day to dry.

The longest time I’ve had wool covers drying was up to 3 days when the weather wasn’t as hot and there was high humidity (like during fall and spring).

Why Do You Need to Lanolize Wool Covers?

Wool covers need to be lanolized because lanolin wears off each time it comes into contact with urine.

Once all of the lanolin is used to neutralize urine, the wool will start absorbing the urine and begin to smell and cause leaks. Check out this post about all the reasons that might cause wool covers to smell and how to solve them.

Read more about why wool covers need to be lanolized in this post.

How Often Do Wool Covers Need to be Lanolized?

Wool covers typically need to be lanolized every 2-4 weeks unless they get soiled sooner.

When they start to smell like urine after the diaper change, and the odor doesn’t disappear after about an hour or two, or if they leak, it’s time to lanolize your wool covers.

Don’t forget to wash the covers first, this ultimate guide to washing wool diaper covers will help you with that.

Read more about how often wool covers need to be lanolized and how to prolong the time between lanolizations in this post.


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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