Lanolin. If you breastfeed, you probably have a tube of solid lanolin sitting around somewhere. It has a million uses, from treating diaper rash to soothing radiation burns. If you decide to use wool while cloth diapering, you will find it has another use—helping to make your wool covers water resistant.
Lanolin: As seen at baby showers everywhere
But wait! Different kinds of lanolin exist! Solid lanolin is the easiest to find—it’s at Target, Wal-Mart, all the big box stores, usually in the same aisles as all the breastpumps and bottles. Some health food stores sell liquid lanolin marked as an all-natural moisturizer for dry, scaly skin. It is thick and sticky and feels a little like honey. Cloth diapering stores may also sell spray lanolin, specifically for spraying directly on wool! Which one to use?
Eucalan is the delicate wash I see recommended everywhere when people ask, “What should I use to wash my wool diaper covers?” That being said, I didn’t try it until recently, and only bought it on a whim while I getting some cloth diapers from another site, my reason being, “Oh, Eucalan…I guess I should finally try that to make shipping for these other things worth it.” Nothing deep, but then I guess if you have very deep, philosophical reasons for buying soap beyond “I need to clean things,” you probably have other issues beyond the scope of this blog.
So what are the advantages Eucalan supposedly has over other wool/delicate soaps? Let’s see what Eucalan themselves have to say:
- Phosphate free
- Natural lanolin
- Enriched formula
- Recyclable hdpe plastic bottle
Ok, so “enriched formula” is vague marketing speak, but the rest is pretty cool. Non-toxicness and diapers go pretty well together, seeing as baby butts can get pretty toxic themselves without any outside influence. Lanolin is great for wool. What about scents?
Eucalan comes in unscented, eucalyptus, lavender, grapefruit, and jasmine (under the “Wrapture” label). And yes, the name “Eucalan” comes from its original scent of eucalyptus, in case you were wondering! I bought the lavender scented version. Usually I only like unscented soaps because if you get one bad scent you are stuck with it until the soap is gone, but I have a terrible weakness for anything lavender (I make killer lavender encrusted pork chops, just so you know). All scents are created using natural essential oils as well, so no worries about chemically cooked up, overpowering fragrances here. Unless you have specific allergies to any of the ingredients, Eucalan is safe for sensitive skin.
Now, why on earth would you want a no-rinse liquid wash? Well, generally you are using Eucalan on delicates, as it’s advertised, and delicates are…delicate. To rinse you have to handle them more, squeezing and so on, so a no-rinse wash means you can skip that, basically putting a little less wear and tear on your items. It does save that extra rinse step too, which is nice when you are washing a large amount of items at the same time. “But won’t that leave a ton of soap on my laundry…?” you might ask. Eucalan is formulated to have minimal suds, so simply squeezing it out without rinsing is good enough. Not rinsing also leaves a bit of lanolin on the laundry items, which keeps them soft and a little water resistant.
Today I would like to talk about felt.
I admit, I am highly attracted to anything that comes in a rainbow.
No, not that kind pictured above. That’s acrylic felt and great for crafts and the like, but I’d like to talk about that tiny shiver of fear that shudders down one’s spine when the words “felt” and “wool diaper covers” come together in the same sentence. I think after “How do you wash wool?” the next question I hear most often regarding wool is, “What is felting and why do I need to do it?”
When it comes to wool diaper covers, felting is usually desirable because of its advantages:
- Wool is water resistant on its own, even more so when lanolized, and at its max moisture resistance when also felted. This is because felting tangles all the tiny wool fibers together and creates a tight barrier.
- Felted wool is thick and soft. Since the fibers are tightly tangled together, I find felted wool a little more durable and far less likely to snag on random objects scattered around the living room.
Frankly, when I was buying my first wool cover and scouting around for a good wool wash, a soap bar seemed stupid. “Isn’t it much easier to just get the liquid?” I thought haughtily, imagining a world where only poor peasants leaned over their washbuckets, using rough, ash-stained hands to rub a sad bar of soap over their $80 wool longies (ok, I didn’t say it was a very realistic imaginative world).
Of course, thriftiness prevailed; not knowing if I would even like using wool, I opted for the cheapest wool wash, which happened to be a Sudz n’ Dudz Organic Wool Wash Bar. And what do you know? I have become that poor peasant using rough hands to scrub my wool diaper covers.
Luckily for all, Sudz n’ Dudz is not a “sad bar of soap.” In fact, it’s quite amazing. Each bar is handmade in the U.S.A. with organic oils and essential oil scents. There is an unscented bar as well, and each is enriched with lanolin, so every wash gives your wool a little lanolin boost. The company website indicates that the oils and butters that make up their soap include castor oil, coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, palm oil, and shea butter. It’s quite an unremarkable list in that you can hop to any local organic store and pick up each ingredient off the shelf, but something about the way Sudz n’ Dudz combines their ingredients turns them into magical soap.
The first time I heard the dreaded “W” word in regards to cloth diapering, even the walls of my apartment trembled in fear (never mind that there was construction on the building going on).
It was foreign-sounding. Like enchiladas, except less tasty.
It was bewildering. Confusing. Like when you wake up from accidentally drifting off on the couch, because Elmo’s World ended and now your toddler is happily screaming while jumping up and down on the coffee table throwing the remains of her lunch in the air and the cats are running around in circles catching bits of ham and chicken raining down on them.
At one point this butt had never known the wonders of wool covers.
For one who has not yet been initiated into the Cult of Wool, the entire concept is strange and a little scary. PUL diaper covers, okay, easy. They wrap around the diaper and snap or velcro shut. Pull on nylon covers, also easy. That’s all waterproof material. Totally understandable how it keeps your kid from leaking pee all over the carpet.