Washing Wool Diaper Covers (The Ultimate Guide)

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Washing wool diaper covers commonly seems like a complicated and incredibly time-consuming task to potential new users before they actually try it on their own.

The truth?

It’s actually pretty simple, and you’ll certainly get your wool covers perfectly clean if you follow this post.

Let’s get started!

What Do You Need For Washing Wool Covers?

You’ll need the following items to wash wool successfully:

Wool detergent in lukewarm water for washing wool diaper covers.
Wool detergent and lukewarm water in a green basin for washing wool diaper covers.

How To Wash Wool Diaper Covers?

Wool diaper covers are generally advised to be washed manually and this is what I suggest, too.

This way you’ll likely be able to use them longer than if they were being washed in the washing machine (given that you even have a wool program on your washing machine).

I do have to admit, however, that I’ve used the wool program on my washing machine a couple of times when I was in a hurry and the covers came out okay. To be fair, by then they were being used for 1.5 years already, so they might have shrunk a bit already and I didn’t notice anything strange.

If you own brand-new wool covers, I would recommend you manually wash them to keep them in the best possible condition for as long as you can.

Prepare The Washing Bath

Take the suggested amount of wool detergent and mix it with lukewarm (no more than 30°C/86°F) water in a basin or a sink.

You must never wash wool in cold or hot water, and it’s even more important to keep the washing and rinsing water at the same (lukewarm) temperature.

Wool is a natural fiber that can get shocked by significant temperature changes, which can cause shrinking and felting. Wool also shouldn’t be washed in hot water because the fibers will denaturate.

Grey and red Disana wool covers being washed with a wool detergent in a green basin.
Grey and red Disana wool covers are washed with wool detergent in a green basin.

Put Wool Diaper Covers In The Washing Bath

First, turn the wool covers inside out to ensure you properly wash the dirtiest part of the wool cover – the inside.

Then, slowly push them inside the prepared bath. You’ll need to push a little because wool absorbs water very slowly and it will take a while for the cover to become really soaked.

As you can see in the photo, I’m washing a grey and a red cover together and I know they won’t bleed color because I’ve washed them together a lot of times already.

I would be careful with a brand new strong color like red, blue, green etc. because they might bleed a little. I remember the red cover leaving a little color in the bath as I first started using it, so keep that in mind if your covers are strong-colored and are still somewhat new.

After the covers are completely soaked, I usually gently swirl them around and sometimes gently turn them on the right side again (as opposed to inside out). Always remember, you need to treat wool very cautiously and you should never ever stretch it, especially not when wet.

Grey and red Disana wool covers are being washed in a green basin.
Grey and red Disana wool covers are being washed in a green basin.

You can leave the covers in the bath for about 15 minutes or so if you wish. I usually take them out after a minute or two and that’s enough, too. Time is not a big issue here, handling wool is much more important.

Rinse Wool Covers With Fresh Water

Now that the covers have had their bath, it’s time to rinse them with fresh water.

It is extremely important that the rinsing water has the same temperature as the bath. As already mentioned, wool can shrink and/or felt if exposed to large temperature differences. It’s best to use lukewarm (no more than 30°C/86°F) water for washing and rinsing.

If I’m washing the covers in the sink, I just drain the water, put the covers on the side of the sink and fill it up again with lukewarm water again.

Wool covers should never be wrung to get the excess water out – just take the covers out and let them sit until you start rinsing. Put the covers back in the sink and very lightly swirl them around.

Depending on the amount of suds in the rinsing water, you’ll need to repeat the process a few times. I usually do it about 3 to 4 times until the rinsing water is clear.

If you’re using a basin or some other container, follow the same process as if washing in the sink. The only differences will be emptying the water manually and that you’ll need to place the wet covers somewhere else while waiting for rinsing water.

If I’m using a basin, I do it on the bathroom floor in our walk-in shower, so I’m able to leave wet covers on the floor tiles while I’m pouring fresh rinsing water into the basin. This way, wet covers won’t do any harm to the floor because tiles can obviously handle water.

Remove Excess Water From Wet Wool Covers

You already know you can’t get rough with wool and this is true also when trying to remove excess water from it.

The only acceptable way to get rid of all the water in the wool is to place it on a dry towel and then gently roll it. The water will come out of the wool into the towel.

I usually repeat the towel roll about three or four times and I generally use two towels. Sometimes I turn the cover back on its right side (remember, we were mainly washing it inside out) and roll it.

After about three or four such towel rolls, the wool cover will feel a lot drier than it did when you first took it out of the water.

Nevertheless, a lot of the water is still absorbed in the wool.

Remember how slowly wool is to absorb water?

Well, it’s the same with drying.

Wool takes a long time to dry, especially knitted wool like the Disana brand that is pictured above.

A grey Disana wool cover is placed on a towel on a laundry rack.
A grey Disana wool cover is placed on a towel on a laundry rack.

Air-Dry The Wool Covers

Wool covers should only ever be air-dried and never put into a dryer.

Most of the manufacturers will state this clearly, so if you want to be left with undamaged and not shrunken wool covers, I recommend you follow this rule.

After you’ve rolled the wet wool cover in a towel a few times, it’s time to put it to dry.

But be careful, you shouldn’t hang wool to hang because it can stretch due to the extra weight from water.

Over time I’ve developed the best practice for me, which is to place the wet wool cover on a towel or a thick terry flat diaper, which is placed on a drying rack.

The towel/flat diaper will absorb the excess water.

A grey Disana wool cover drying on the drying rack.
A grey Disana wool cover drying on the drying rack.

After about an hour I remove the absorbent cloth underneath the wool cover, which is wet by now and leave the cover flat on the drying rack to continue drying.

I usually turn the wool cover inside out or vice versa in the morning and in the evening, so twice a day.

Drying will take anywhere from one to three days on average, depending on the climate you live in.

Avoid placing wool in direct sunlight and other sources of heat because they may damage wool.

How Often Do You Need To Wash Wool Covers?

Wool covers generally need to be washed every two to three weeks when they start to smell.

I’d also recommend washing them when they’re brand new or when you buy them second-hand from someone else.

You’ll also need to wash or spot-clean them if any poop gets on them – this needs to be done as soon as possible to avoid stains.

You might be wondering why don’t you need to wash wool after each diaper change. This is because wool contains lanolin – a fatty substance – which is great at neutralizing urine. Lanolin also makes the covers water-resistant – read more about it in this post.

You’ll just need to air-dry the cover that you’ve just taken off and leave it to dry before the next diaper change. Use a different pair of wool covers in the meantime. If you’re wondering how many wool covers will you need to benefit the most from them, don’t skip this post.

What About Lanolizing Wool?

Wool naturally contains lanolin which is amazing for cloth diapers because it keeps your child’s clothes dry. The lanolin will wear off with time, however, and you’ll need to lanolize wool again. Learn more about why is lanolizing necessary in this post.

And when you’ll actually need to lanolize your covers, look no further. I’ve created the ultimate guide to lanolizing wool covers which will leave you with perfectly lanolized wool every time! Don’t worry, I’ve included all the important details that no one else mentions.

If someone would have told me all those little details I probably wouldn’t be left with lanolin spots all over my brand-new wool covers.


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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