Caring For Wool Covers

Caring for wool covers is not very difficult. Wool only requires a wash every so often.  Wool covers really are amazing, versatile items. With a simple regime you can have clean woollies all the time.



  • Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight, absorbing any excess urine from the nappy.
  • Lanolin (which is used to create water resistance) repels moisture.
  • Wool is the most breathable nappy cover.
  • It can be used over any fitted nappy during day or night.
  • It can be used many times before needing to be wash (unless soiled).


  • It will need to be aired out in between uses.
  • It can’t be included in the nappy wash cycle.
  • Wool covers need to be lanolinised when new and after every wash.

Things You SHOULD NOT DO With Your Wool

  • Don’t use hot water.
  • Don’t use a detergent with enzymes.
  • Don’t use bleach.
  • Don’t twist or wring wool to remove water.

How To Hand Wash a Wool Cover

Materials Needed

  • Wool wash (eg Softly) or laundry detergent without enzymes (eg liquid Surf/ Fab)
  • Sard soap, for stain removal
  • Lanolin
  • A towel

Wash process

Add small amount of wool suitable detergent to lukewarm water. Use Sard soap on spots that are soiled or to remove stains.

Turn cover inside out (dirtiest side) and immerse in water. If the cover has any dirty spots, gently massage the stain.  Leave to soak, meanwhile prepare lanolin mixture.

Remove the cover, gently squeeze out water.  Empty liquid.  Refill with lukewarm water and rinse the cover.

Never twist or wring wool to remove water.


In a mug add a small amount of boiled water, just over a pea size of lanolin per cover, and small amount of hand or body wash/wool wash/dishwashing detergent.  Stir until it turns a milky white. The wash/detergents allows the lanolin to dissolve/emulsify* in the water, gives a more even lanolising and prevents lanolin stains from occurring. If the lanolin has not dissolved, use more wash and reheat the water for a few seconds in the microwave.

Allow your lanolin mix to cool slightly. Add the mix to approximately 0.5L of lukewarm water and swirl. Put the cover inside out and submerge. 

After soaking, turn cover the right way out and squeeze excess water out (no wringing) then roll in a towel to remove excess water out. It can also be spun in the washing machine wrapped in the towel in a wash bag. The towel may be covered in residual lanolin, this will wash out in warm-hot water.


Dry flat.

The cover may be tacky after it is dry, this is normal and will disappear with use. Lanolin that is transferred onto nappies will wash out in warm-hot water.

*An emulsion is a mix of watery and fatty liquids where the fat is suspended in the watery liquid.  Breastmilk is another example.

Sanitisation Of Secondhand Wool Covers: Benzalkonium Chloride Sanitise

Wool can be sanitised using a Benzalkonium Chloride product. Remember to only use cold water and only one subsequent cold wash with detergent after sanitisation is needed.

This option:

  • is not suitable for Septic Systems. Benzalkonium Chloride does not readily break down like bleach does, therefore will kill the bacteria in septic systems.
  • will not oxidise (remove) ammonia, use bleach sanitise instead.
  • is not suitable for sanitisation after a fungal rash, use bleach sanitise instead.

Products to use

Canesten, Di-San Laundry Sanitiser, Dettol Laundry Sanitiser or Coles Laundry Sanitiser.

Benzalkonuim Chloride sanitise process

¼ standard measuring cup per 5L water

  • Measure out cold water into a bucket
  • Dilute the Benzalkonium Chloride product, in cold water in a separate container, add it to the total quantity of water
  • Soak for 30 minutes 
  • Keep cover immersed in the solution by covering with a white towel
  • Rinse with cold water
  • Follow with a hand wash with detergent in cold water and rinse