You’ve just finished lanolizing and drying your wool covers and now they should be ready to use.
But wait, why are they so sticky and greasy?
And is it okay if wool covers have lanolin deposits visible on them?
Right now you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to over-lanolize wool and I’m here to answer this question for you.
Wool can be over-lanolized if too much lanolin is used for lanolizing or if it isn’t emulsified properly. This can result in sticky wool and visible lanolin deposits on wool. The excess lanolin will not hurt wool, it will only take a longer time to wear off.
Read on to learn more about over-lanolizing wool covers, how to solve it and how to prevent over-lanolizing in the future.
Can You Over-Lanolize Wool Covers?
Wool can be over-lanolized if too much lanolin is used in the lanolin bath or if the lanolin isn’t emulsified entirely.
Neither of the scenarios is bad for wool, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your covers if you apply too much lanolin.
Lanolin is a substance that’s naturally present in the wool, so it wouldn’t make sense that a bit too much of it would ruin it.
Read this post if you’re wondering why do we lanolize wool if lanolin is already naturally present in it.
The only “bad” thing about over-lanolization is that the wool will be sticky-feeling and greasy-looking.
Feel free to use a cover even if it’s over-lanolized. The excess lanolin will wear off in a couple of days and likely transfer to your child’s clothes a bit as well. Don’t worry about this, however, everything will come off in the washing machine.
The excess lanolin will moisturize your baby’s skin so you don’t need to worry about lanolin hurting your baby.
The excess lanolin will also buy you some more time to actually use the covers because they’ll stay water-resistant for a longer time, meaning you’ll be able to lanolize them later than usual.
Too Much Lanolin Used in the Lanolin Bath
If too much lanolin is used, the lanolin deposits are generally somewhat even (like in the photo above).
The recommendations of lanolin amount per cover vary but most will recommend to use 0.3 to 0.5 teaspoons per wool cover.
I usually don’t bother with exact measurements and probably always use a bit too much, just to be on the safe side.
As already mentioned above, over-lanolized wool covers are completely okay to use, especially if the excess lanolin is applied evenly.
Lanolin Not Emulsified Completely
If you, however, don’t emulsify the lanolin entirely before putting wool covers in the lanolin bath, you’ll end up with lanolin patches all over your wool covers, leaving some areas over-lanolized and some under-lanolized. Make sure to read the hyperlinked post so you don’t make the same beginner mistake.
A wool cover with lanolin spots all over it probably won’t be as water-resistant as the evenly over-lanolized covers.
When I first lanolized wool covers, I ended up with lanolin spots (see the above photo of the pink/purple cover) and I could feel that the back part of the cover just wasn’t lanolized while the front part was covered in lanolin globs.
I wouldn’t recommend using such a cover because it would probably result in leaks very quickly and you’d have to repeat the whole process of washing and lanolizing anyway very soon.
Not to mention that this much of excess lanolin would be very likely to smear everywhere where you wouldn’t want it.
So if you do have lanolin spots on your wool covers, read on to learn how to fix this.
How to Fix Over-Lanolized Wool Covers?
As I already mentioned, there really is nothing to worry about if your wool cover has an evenly spread lanolin layer on it, it will wear off in a couple of days.
But if you really can’t stand the stickiness or if you ended up with lanolin patches on the cover, where one part is over-lanolized and the other one is under-lanolized, there is at least one way you can solve this issue.
If there isn’t a lot of lanolin visible, you can try blotting it with your fingers or a simple cotton cloth and the wool cover might be able to absorb it.
Another way that will, however, require more of your time is washing the wool cover with a wool detergent and then lanolizing it again. (Here’s my ultimate guide to washing wool covers.)
Since lanolin is a fatty/waxy substance it needs the help of an emulsifier to dissolve in water.
That is why washing an over-lanolized wool cover with a wool detergent (emulsifier) will work best to remove the excess lanolin.
Wool detergent won’t remove just the excess lanolin but likely most of it, so you will have to lanolize the cover again after washing it.
How to Prevent Wool Over-Lanolization
To save yourself from future trouble with over-lanolization it’s best to learn how to prevent this issue altogether.
The first rule, you should use the correct amount of lanolin per wool cover.
I already mentioned that most instructions recommend using 0.3 to 0.5 teaspoons of lanolin per wool or a pea-sized amount of lanolin per wool cover.
A pull-up wool cover will need slightly more compared to a daytime wool cover, so adjust the lanolin amount (for example 0.5 teaspoons for a pull-up and 0.3 for a daytime cover).
Don’t worry too much about the exact measurements, however.
The most important thing is that you do not use way too much of lanolin and that it is emulsified completely before putting wool covers in the lanolin bath.
I created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to lanolizing wool covers here, so definitely check it out before you lanolize your wool again.