If you know much about the cloth diaper industry you may have heard about wool, wool covers, longies and shorties. While it is very popular among cloth diaper users, it may take awhile for a parent to try wool. With price tags starting at $35 and up it’s no surprise that many parents are hesitant to try wool due to the cost alone. Try to look past the initial investment for just a minute and let me explain why wool is sustainable, great for nighttime use, and yes, economical.
The wool used to make covers and other wool garments is harvested sustainably by shearing the wool of sheep. This is all done with no harm to the sheep and the raw wool is collected, washed, dyed, and spun into wool. This wool is then knit to create the desired shape.
Wool for cloth diapers can take the form of covers, longies, and shorties. The main differences between these are the length and how they fit your baby. Covers resemble any other diaper cover and fit over a fitted, prefold, flat or other diaper. Shorties (shorts) and longies (pants) work just the same as covers but they are longer and resemble clothing. In fact, many parents use wool in place of clothing.
Beneficial properties of wool:
- Antibacterial and anti-fungal - When properly lanolized (I’ll explain this process later) wool becomes antibacterial and will help keep your baby free of rashes.
- Breathable - Wool does not contain any PUL or waterproof plastics that would prevent air from reaching your baby. One of the greatest ways to keep your baby dry and free of rashes is to allow their bum to stay dry. Wool is also considered to be a good option year round because it’s so breathable. Even in warm climates wool will help regulate your baby’s body temperature and keep them cool (in the summer) or warm (in the winter).
- Bulletproof - This is one word that make take some time to understand how something breathable can also be bulletproof. The natural properties of wool allow it to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture. It will actually absorb urine and pull it away from your babies skin. It won’t feel damp or wet on the outside either. We’ll just call it “Magical!”
- Economical - That’s right, spending $35+ on a wool cover (shortie or longie) is actually an economical diapering option. Unless you happen to get poop on your wool cover it can be reused over and over again for several weeks without needing to be washed. If it feels damp you simply lay it to dry until the next diaper change. We recommend having around 3-4 wool covers in your stash to allow them to air dry before using them again. You’ll know it’s time to wash it when you can still smell urine after they are dry. If you purchased a dozen flats or prefolds and 3-4 covers you could diaper your baby for around $150-170 (one dozen flats @ $24 and 4 wool covers @ $35 = $164). That’s about the same cost as 9 pocket diapers.