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Wool – The Other Diaper Cover

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“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppp!!!!!”  Okay, sorry. I just love that clip from Evan Almighty. Click on the clip and watch it – you know you want to. When I first started using cloth diapers I sorta skipped over the wool option. It seemed difficult and itchy to me. But, look…..aren’t sheep cute? Annie loves sheep – except when she says it, it sounds more like “peep.” I started having a few issues with Annie leaking through some of her PUL covers and I got aggravated. My friends Brandy and Angela told me I should try wool….. they both use it all the time. So, I got a couple covers and they blew me away. It’s not hard to take care of and the benefits are amazing! So, if you use cloth diapers think about trying some wool…..and if you don’t use cloth diapers, read it anyway because I might have a couple good tips for ya. :-)

Here’s Annie modeling her upcycled wool cover that I bought from Etsy. I use this cover at night on a regular basis……so, why should you use wool? For the reason that Annie wears this cover at night – you’ll get fewer leaks. Think about it – sheep stand out in all kinds of weather. So do cows – hence leather. Doesn’t it make sense that their wool would be pretty stinking waterproof? Wool is a natural water repellent because of the lanolin that sheep produce. When you have a diaper underneath that gets wet, the wool on the outer cover rejects the liquid, keeping it inside – no leaks. The wool absorbs the moisture, wicking it away from baby’s bottom. You’d be amazed at how much liquid that wool can absorb.  It’s really great for overnight when kids pee a lot. I’ve even heard Mommies that use disposables like to put a wool cover over them for night wear, to insure no leaks. The initial cost of a wool cover (normally around $35) might make you want to pass out. That’s another reason I passed over them at first…….but they’re worth the money. You’ll only need about 4 of them, and they hold their resale value very well. Plus, if you have multiple children, you won’t have to buy them again just reuse them – another plus of cloth diapering.

Here is Annie wearing a crocheted wool cover that my awesome friend made for me. Isn’t it cute?! A lot of people think that wool should only be worn in the winter. Not so….in fact, you can use wool diaper covers all year long. Wool is extremely breathable, so it will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer – much cooler than a PUL cover. Annie sweats a lot in her PUL covers, but I find she stays a good temperature when wearing wool. Because it’s breathable, you’ll be less likely to get diaper rashes.

When you buy a cover it will likely come lanolinzed already. If not, you need to do it yourself. It’s easy! Dissolve a dime sized amount of lanolin (found at Target in the baby section with breastfeeding items) in warm water. Add the cover, inside out, and let it soak about 15 minutes. Get rid of excess water (do NOT ring out) by putting it in the washer on the spin cycle and then let the cover dry. You’re done! Now you won’t have to lanolinize it again unless you see that it’s not working properly – I maintain my lanolin by using a wool wash that includes lanolin that Angela gave me.

Wool is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. Because of this, you don’t have to wash it a ton……about once a month, unless it gets poop on it. I don’t know about you, but Annie is super wiggly and sometimes I get poop everywhere – I’m not the only one…….right? After each wear, if you see it’s damp just hang it up to dry for a while. That’s why you need about 4 covers, cycling them out as they get damp and then letting them air dry. To wash, just do it in your sink with warm water and the wool wash mentioned above. Get the water out by using the spin cycle and let them dry.

Here is Annie modeling a pair of her longies (wool pants that act as a diaper cover) that my mom and I made…’s a little more cost effective. We found a few sweaters at Goodwill for $3.50! If you do this, you need to make sure the sweaters are 100% wool. We’ve made longies and shorties (short pants). You can get some really cute colors and patterns this way! I used one of Barry’s old sweaters and he’s still bickering about that – something about how it was a really expensive sweater and Annie’s wearing money around on her butt. Blah, blah, blah. Here’s a link for how to make your own very easily and inexpensively. There are tons of upcycled covers on Etsy as well….I LOVE Etsy! After you buy a sweater to make your own cover, you have to felt it……that’s what makes it soft!  And it will insure that it won’t shrink. Most covers you buy will already come felted. I enjoyed felting….it’s pretty funny to see a HUGE sweater turn out to look like a baby sweater. Oops! Ha, ha! If you crochet or knit, you can make your own as well. The patterns for those are linked.

Here’s Annie sporting a fleece cover. It works about the same as wool, but it’s a cheaper alternative…..and it’s synthetic, not natural. Some babies react to fleece and can’t use it. Annie has done fine with them. You can make your own using a pattern above or buy them off Etsy. If you’ve ever tried to wash a fleece blanket, you know that it doesn’t get really wet….it repels water, so that’s why it works. You can make it from fleece you buy at the store, or you can use an old fleece throw.

Two great sources for wool things are Mom’s Milk Boutique and Green Mountain Diapers .

I think that about covers it. Brandy and Angela, if I missed something please add it below in the comments. :-)


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. You know we love wool. :-) I’ve even made some tiny ones for New Baby. I can’t wait for him to get here and put diapers on his tiny heiny. :-)

  2. We haven’t used wool yet, but one of my good friends does and she showed me how to do a wool wash and lanolize. For some reason I’m a little nervous for my first try! So far I’ve used old sweaters and sewn several pairs of shorties for my new baby who should be here next month and one pair for my 19-month-old daughter. It’s so much fun because I can personalize them.

  3. Okay, Stacy, you have me wanting to try wool now! haha!

    I want to crochet a soaker myself, but I want your advice. The patterns that you linked to are just crocheted or knitted and not felted. I know that you said if you make your own out of old wool sweaters you need to felt it. So my questions is, do you think that crocheting one out of wool and not felting it will still do a good job at preventing leaks and keeping baby dry?

    Are the ones that you buy from Etsy felted?

    • Yes, my etsy one is felted. But, the ones I have that are knitted are just knitted from wool yarn that I purchased and then lanolinzed. I could be wrong, but I think the yarn is already felted when you buy wool.

  4. Great post! Thanks for the information. I’m looking to make wool diaper covers for my neighbor’s little guy, so she can go to cloth diapers and save herself a hundred bucks a month. And now, of course, I have to go find a copy of Evan Almighty!

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