Getting the Facts Straight About Wool Covers: 12 Myths About Wool

Myth #1“Wool is scary.”

Wool is not scary in the least!  In fact, wool just might become your best friend. You just have to get to know wool really well, and you’ll soon fall in love as you realize how un-scary it really is.  Before you know it, you may not be able to live without it.  ♥

Myth #2:  “A wool cover will leak.”

Wool, once properly prepped, will not leak.  Ever.  In fact, wool will keep your baby warmer and happier than ever before.   While it is true that wool itself is not waterproof, it is actually highly absorbent at a microscopic level, and the lanolin naturally found in wool is water repellent.  Our baby was such a heavy night time wetter that he never managed to stay dry the whole night through until he wore his first wool soaker through the night.  We never once had a leak after that.  This phenomenon never ceases to amaze me.  Wool by itself tends to naturally repel water, and that property combined with lanolin (the oil naturally found in wool that is secreted by the sheep’s skin, which you add from time to time during the washing process), you have an excellent water-repelling fiber that’s totally natural!

Myth #3:  “Wool is difficult and time-consuming to clean.”

Wool is not at all difficult to clean.  Start to finish, you can wash your wool in 18 minutes flat (excluding drying time, of course).  15 of those minutes, you can be in a different room playing with your baby or checking your email.    To make things even easier, you don’t have to clean your wool more frequently than once per month.  Just air out your covers between each use, rotating between two or three covers during the day, and you don’t need to wash them until they smell of ammonia or have a visible stain.  When you need to lanolize your wool, this process will add a few extra minutes to your routine, but this does not need to be done every time the wool is washed (even less if you use a wool wash that contains lanolin).

Myth #4:  “Wool is too itchy!  My baby will be uncomfortable.”

Have you touched 100% organic virgin merino wool yet?   Once you do, all fears of itching will be eliminated.  It’s one of the softest materials you will ever touch.  If your concern is a wool allergy, your baby is probably allergic to the chemical residue that conventional wool contains.  Try organic wool, which contains no chemical or pesticide residues.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.   It is also interesting to note that many babies are sensitive to polyester rather than wool.

Myth #5:  “Wool is more expensive than PUL.”

While each individual wool cover may have a higher price tag up front, in the long run you’ll spend less on diaper covers if you use wool exclusively than you would if you used PUL exclusively.  The reason is that with wool you can get away with fewer covers.  Wool covers don’t stink until they are very well used, so as long as you let the cover air out between uses, you can keep using, and using, and using it.  Conversely, with PUL covers, use them twice and they reek of urine so strongly you can smell it across the room.

Myth #6:  “Wool is too warm!  My baby will be too hot during summertime (or in general) while wearing wool.”

Wool, especially good quality wool, such as the organic, virgin merino wool we carry, is so lightweight and breathable that your baby can wear it on the hottest of summer days and not even break a sweat.  Wool by itself it so breathable that your baby’s temperature will not rise while wearing wool.  PUL covers, on the other hand, are not breathable in the least and thus result in higher temperatures inside of the diaper and more incidences of diaper rash.   This is an added benefit for preventing diaper rash too, a condition that is often the result of heat and not enough air circulation.   Plus, there are wool covers for every season…if you’re still concerned about too much warmth, try these ultra thin, single layer wool shorts, which are great for daytime and summertime.

Myth #7:  “My baby can wear wool at night, but not during the day. Wool is too thick to wear underneath clothes.”

There are many types of wool covers designed specifically for daytime use.  They are just as leak-proof as any PUL cover, they are just as trim, and they still have all of the same wonderful benefits of any wool cover.  There are stretchy one-size wool wraps, thicker, more heavy duty wraps with Velcro fasteners, and even lightweight pull-on shorts.  You can even get fancy wool pants that double as pants and a diaper cover, all in one!  Talk about cost-effective.

Myth #8:  “Wool will not last as long as PUL.  Won’t it stretch, felt, or shrink after many uses?”

If you properly take care of your wool, it will last for years, and chances are, it will outlive any PUL cover out there.  Besides, a little felting on a wool diaper cover will actually help prevent leaks, so it’s certainly not something to be feared.

Myth #9:  “I use prefolds, and those are impossible to use under wool.”

Prefolds can, in fact, absolutely be used with wool, just as they can with any PUL cover.  You just need the right type of wool cover.  A good wool wrap, such as the Little BeetleOrganic Caboose, or Disana, will fit perfectly over a prefold diaper held in place with a snappi or pin.  If snappis are not your thing, you can even trifold your prefold directly into the wool wrap and place it quickly on your baby.  If any messes leak out onto your wool cover, you can do a quick stain clean-up with a wool wash bar and some lukewarm water.

Myth #10:  “My baby will leak if we go out of the house.”

Your baby will not leak at all wearing the appropriate type of wool cover that is properly prepped.  We are full-time wool users– at night, during the day, and outside of the house–  and our baby has never once had a leak, even after several hours with the same wool cover.  There are some great options available for nighttime wear, daytime wear, and even lighter options that are great for summertime or families that practice EC.

Myth #11:  “Wool is okay for some days, but it’s impossible to use full-time.”

Anyone can use wool full time with the right combination of diapers and covers.  There are some great options available that are ideal for different times of day: thick wool soakers that are tough enough to last all night, trim stretchy wool wraps that are perfect for outings and naps, and even lighter options that are great for summertime or families that practice EC.

Myth #12:  “It’s impossible to use wool with a newborn because newborn poo is too runny and will quickly soil the wool covers.”

While it is true that newborn poo can run onto the inside of a wool cover more easily than solid food poo, using wool with a newborn is not impossible.  You simply need the right type of cloth diaper.  We recommend using a cotton fitted diaper that really fits your baby snugly and comfortably.  A fitted diaper that fits right will really help to contain poo leakage so you can continue using your wool cover without washing it until really necessary.  Another useful tip- invest in a wool wash bar and spot clean your cover in the case of a small poo stain.

Wool is an outstanding choice for cloth diaper cover.  We became addicts after our baby’s first leak-free night wearing his Engel wool soaker on a chilly winter night.  We never looked back.  Organic wool paired with a 100% organic cotton fitted or prefold diaper is the only true organic and all-natural cloth diapering solution.  No PUL, no plastic, no Velcro, and even no snaps or pins are all options!  An organic wool diaper cover is the only all-natural, polyester-free choice for cloth diaper covers.  And since it works just as well, if not better, why not go for the all natural, sustainable choice?



6 responses to “Getting the Facts Straight About Wool Covers: 12 Myths About Wool

  1. This is a really great article, thank you. I started using wool longies for my first son when he was about 1 year old. I wish I’d started earlier.
    My second son was due in July and I just didn’t want to torture him PUL in the heat of summer so I knit a couple of wonderfully soft merino and virgin wool covers and I made several more out of some sweaters I bought at thrift stores (here’s a post with some pictures: – one of which is an INCREDIBLE pair of the softest, cuddliest, warmest cashmere you could imagine (which reminds me, I’ve got to upload some pics of those). When I put those on him no one can resist touching them.
    We use wool all the time now. It’s great in winter and summer, you can make your own very easily (even for the novice sewer, like me, the sewn ones are incredibly easy – and cheap), they don’t leak, they look great, and they’re fantastic over huge diapers at night.
    The only issue I ever have with wool is that it leaks under compression. So if you’ve got your little one in an Ergo or other carrier and they really soak their diaper, the wool will leak.

    • Thanks for your comment, Kate! I love the longies and soakers you made- they are beautiful. You make an excellent point about wool leaking under compression- this certainly can happen if the diaper is completely soaked, but I believe that the chances of leakage can be reduced by adding some extra cotton in the diaper (i.e. an extra trifolded prefold or a thick doubler inside of a fitted diaper) and using a very thick night-time wool soaker. If I anticipate that my son will be either in the carrier for a long period of time or perhaps in the car for a long trip, I diaper him as if he were going to bed for the night, and so far, we have had no leaks!

  2. I learned the hard way about the compression issue. Like you, I now double up for long walks in the carrier and car rides.

  3. I plan on using wool longies at night and I’ve read that you shouldn’t wear additional clothes over the wool because it can cause wicking or leakage. That’s fine with the wool longies because they are warm enough to sleep in so we don’t need additional jammies over them. But how does that work if you use a wool cover during the day under clothes? Do the clothes cause wicking? I’m confused by what I’ve read elsewhere. Thanks for helping me better understand this.

    • Hi Jen, Your baby can certainly wear clothing or pajamas over the wool at night. As long as the diaper underneath is very absorbent (with extra layers/ inserts as needed for nights) and your wool cover is properly lanolized, it’s really not too common for leakage or wicking to occur. Of course, compression wicking can take place at any time with any knitted wool cover.

      For daytime, clothing can be worn over any wool cover, and the only time you may have an issue is when pressure is applied while your baby is urinating- while holding the baby, while the baby is in the car seat or baby carrier, etc. Compression wicking is simply a risk that comes along with using wool- but of course, any cloth diaper cover made form any material can leak through from time to time. I’ve had a lot more leaking issues with PUL covers and pocket diapers than I have had with wool covers. My boys now wear wool day and night, with pajamas at night and clothing during the day, and only a handful of times have they soaked through the wool onto their clothing.

      In short, it’s not usually the clothing that causes wicking. Instead, the cause is typically compression or a cover that needs to be re-lanolized. If your child is a very heavy wetter at night and you are concerned about leaking, just be sure to use the most absorbent diaper you have, and you can also dress your child in wool over the soaker (wool pants or longies, pajamas, bodysuit, etc). The wool clothing may feel a bit damp in the morning, but it will absorb a lot of moisture and still feel much more dry than cotton will.

  4. Hello!
    I use disposable diapers but my son always leaks through his jammies and sleep sack due to peeing so much at night, AND being a tummy sleeper. Do you think it woops work to put a wool diaper cover overtop to catch the leak and keep him feeling dry. I think the cold-wet feeling wakes him most mornings 😦

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