Stovetop sanitise

The stovetop sanitise method is appropriate for delicate items, such as wool, which need sanitising but cannot be put through high heat or chlorine bleach.


For effective thermal sanitisation, you need temperatures of 65°C (149°F) for 10 minutes or 71°C (160°F) for 3 minutes.

There are two options to this method. One option may theoretically ‘shock’ wool causing it to shrink and the other may expose parts of the wool to hot spots while warming, thus damaging the wool. We tested both options and found they both worked well with no damage to the wool. Choose whichever method you feel comfortable with.

Equipment needed

  • Large stock pot or saucepan
  • Trivet
  • Tea towels or cloths (or x2 cloths if no trivet)
  • Meat or candy thermometer
  • A timer

Stovetop sanitise method

1. Fill stock pot with water. Place trivet or towel on the bottom of pot.

2a. Heat water to 65°C, then gently place the wool cover into the water. OR2b. Place the wool cover in lukewarm water (30°C), then heat water to 65°C.

3. Keep item submerged with a tea towel over top and maintain the water temperature at 65–67°C for 10 minutes.

Keep handling to an absolute minimum. Do not agitate or handle the wool when hot. Heat combined with agitation can cause woollen items to shrink and felt.

4. Gently remove the item when 10 minutes are up. Allow it to cool and drain by itself. If you are sanitising a wool nappy cover, prepare the lanolin mixture for lanolising.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is the stovetop sanitise method suitable for PUL covers with elastics?

We have not tested this method with PUL covers or items with elastics, therefore we cannot guarantee that they will not be ruined.

If you decide to use the stovetop sanitise method for PUL or elasticated items, proceed at your own risk.

Can I use this method to remove stains from woollen items?

This method will have very limited results for removing stains from woollen items.

To remove stains, gently rub the area with bar soap or liquid or gel stain remover, then wash as warm as the item will tolerate. Use a liquid enzyme-free detergent for best results.

Is this method effective against mould?

Thermal sanitisation that reaches a temperature of 70°C may be effective against certain types of mould.

Can I use my multi pot for this?

Yes, ensure it is to temperature before adding your item and setting the timer.

Do I need to use detergent with this method?

No, a stovetop sanitise does not require detergent.

Can I use this method to sanitise large items?

The size of the items you can sanitise will be limited to the size of the pot you have.

Keep in mind that ensuring an even temperature for large items is more difficult.