Extra Wool Supplies for Cloth Diapering

I’m thrilled to have Lauren from Hobo Mama joining us for Wool Week! Because, you guessed it, wool doesn’t stop working its’ magic with diapering. Lauren’s here to give us the scoop on some more wool wonders …

I’m a huge fan of wool for cloth diapering. My favorite diapering setup is a prefold with a cover, and my favorite covers are wool. But besides wool covers, there are other ways wool supplies can help with diapering! I also use wool dryer balls, wool puddle pads, wool clothing, and a fleece mattress pad.

Wool dryer balls

Green Belle Designs wool dryer balls held in hand
Wool dryer balls are just what they sound like: They’re tightly wound balls of wool yarn or wool roving that you can toss into your machine dryer. They soften fabric without chemicals by gently agitating the clothes as they dry — but they’re completely safe for clothing and cloth diapers alike, because they deposit no residues and their soft, round shape won’t snag or damage fabric. Wool dryer balls also help cut drying time since the wool absorbs some of the moisture. Most people toss about 6 into a load, but the more the merrier! They can also help fight static. I was a sworn user of fabric softener sheets, but when I heard enough scary things about the chemicals they leave behind on clothing — and then transfer to my children’s skin — and the way the residues can coat cloth diapers and leave them less absorbent, I knew I needed something natural. I was so skeptical that wool dryer balls would live up to they hype, but let me tell you — I am a devoted convert. I am planning to make them to give as Christmas gifts to try to win over my family! You can easily make wool dryer balls yourself, or you can find a lovely assortment in different colors and natural scents (from essential oils) on Etsy.

Wool puddle pads

Whether you cloth diaper or practice elimination communication or a little of both, you’ll likely need to deal with damp-to-wet sheets during the night at some point (not to mention spit-up and breast milk leakage!). Since I cosleep, I’ve found great results from simply lining the baby’s and my sleeping area with a wool puddle pad. In my case, I bought a super-soft, organic merino blanket when Mikko (now 4) was a baby, and I’m still using it now with baby #2. I regularly wash it in a woolwash and occasionally lanolize it to keep it in good shape. If there’s a diaper leak from above, the wool blanket absorbs most of the moisture, often keeping the sheets underneath completely dry. It also helps keep the baby warm, if he managed to sleep through it! Any wool blanket can work for this purpose, though I do recommend getting a nice and soft one, since it’s going to be over the sheets and might be touching your skin. Look for 100% wool as well, for maximum benefit.

Wool clothing

knit wool longies for cloth diaperingOne way to keep babies comfy at night or while doing EC is through wool bottoms: knitted or crocheted longies, skirts, or leg warmers. An advantage to wool outers is that, unlike cotton, wool won’t wick moisture and immediately turn chilly on your baby’s skin. It can be a good solution for babies who are doing EC or going partially coverless to keep them warm and your furniture and floors more or less protected.

Fleece mattress pad

Underneath our bottom sheet is the softest, fluffiest goodness: a wool fleece mattress pad. We recently bought a new one after having used our old one (to death) for five and a half years. (We’re hard on fleece; what can I say?) When we first bought it, it was summer, and I was bragging about our purchase to my mom (we had scored it in a great deal on eBay), and she said something snide about, “Oh, a wool mattress pad in summer! Sounds wonderful.” But her sarcasm was so off the mark, because it was wonderful. The wool fleece functions the way a vinyl or similar waterproofing mattress pad would, by keeping wetness off your mattress — but it doesn’t make you sticky! It doesn’t trap the moisture up where you are; it absorbs it ever so slightly as you sleep. In the winter, it helps keep you warmer. It’s like magic — magic that will help you sleep better because your temperature is regulated. Plus, it’s sooo soft and fluffy. I’m seriously in love. For cloth diaper fans, a fleece mattress cover (they come in toddler and crib sizes, too!) can help keep leaks from ruining the mattress while it helps keep your little ones comfortable while they sleep. Caring for it is as easy as letting it air out for the day whenever you change your sheets, and once in awhile going over it with a vacuum to restore the fluff. Those are my go-to wool extras for cloth diapering. What wool things do you love?

Hobo Family  Lauren blogs at Hobo Mama about natural and attachment parenting and is the co-founder of Natural Parents Network. She lives and writes in Seattle and shares her unholy love of wool with her husband, four-year-old son, and five-month-old baby.

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  1. Diana says

    I have just started making and using the wool dryer balls. I think they are great. I have not used any essential oils yet for scent. Do you have a favorite scent?

  2. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I haven't tried them yet myself … it's on my to do list to make some! I think I'll try lavender first – that always makes a fresh laundry scent :) ________________________________

  3. says

    Oh gosh, Why did I NOT think of using a fleece or fleece/wool mattress cover? DUH! Thanks for your post! I love knitting with wool. It's my favorite fiber :)

  4. says

    I LOVE my wool dryer balls! And, if I feel my little guy's pants are wet during the night, and I'm too sleepy to change him but don't want our bed soaking wet, I just grab his fleece blanket which is always nearby and slip it under him and we all are back on our way to a cozy night's sleep.

  5. Kellie Barr says

    We kind of live surrounded by wool here. :) One of my favorite wool stories is that we have wool blankets on all of our beds, under the sheets as mattress pads. When we were on vacation a few years ago, the cat decided to show us how unhappy he was at being left by using my daughter's bed as a giant litter box. When we got home, we didn't think we'd ever be able to salvage the mattress – until we peeled up the wool blanket to find that NOTHING had gone through to the mattress! Wool is amazing stuff.

  6. says

    I love your blog Gretchen, consider your self followed! Found you via the Prairie Hen, ain't she a doll ;)

  7. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Ah thanks! Yes, I <3 Prairie Hen :)________________________________

  8. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I had a cat like that! I wish I would have known about wool then! Life saver!!! ________________________________

  9. hobomama says

    Thanks, Gretchen, for doing this fantastic Wool Week and for letting me post here about one of my favorite topics. :)

  10. hobomama says

    Wool is seriously magic.Also, I love cats (love), but they can have some serious attitude sometimes, huh?

  11. hobomama says

    I love anything that lets me be a lazier parent, for sure! ;)

  12. hobomama says

    Oo, Alissa — that looks lovely!This is the wool fleece mattress cover we use: http://www.snugfleece.com/ Pricey but sooo snuggly. Like, seriously, I'm in love with our bed.(And just to be sure we're talking about the same thing, wool fleece=sheep hair, because some fabric called fleece is actually polyester. I don't when Gretchen will do a Polyester Week…)

  13. hobomama says

    Lavender is definitely a great pick! You can use any essential oils you have on hand. The person I bought mine from (the ones in the top picture, by the lovely Green Belle Shoppe by Shelly Rose Designs http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShellyRoseDesigns) uses scent mixes that are sold on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/58466150/dryer-ball-s… I think some people put the oils into the core as they're making them, and some just dab on the outside and let them dry before using. The scents dissipate after awhile, so to refresh them you'd need to put them on the outside, anyway. I haven't tried refreshing mine yet, but I've got lavender and also a citrus essential oil (I forget which exactly now!) on hand, so I'm going to try one of each and see what I like. :)

  14. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I need to save up for a wool mattress cover!________________________________

  15. Diana says

    Thanks so much for those suggestions and I am on my way to check out those shops!