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Lanolising wool shorts

In this post we share our experiences of lanolising the Merino wool shorts from the Disana nappy system, which we hope will be helpful to others.

We have found that we have not needed to lanolise the other woolen item in the nappy system – the Merino wool wrap – as it is made of boiled rather than knitted wool. This means that the fibres are already tightly felted together. The knitted weave of the Merino wool shorts means there is more space between the wool fibres, making them lovely and soft and breathable. The high lanolin content present in the shorts means that they will be leakproof for some time, until the lanolin is all used up through the process of being a cover over the cotton nappy. In the early days with our newborn daughter, we found we needed to re-lanolise about every 2-3 weeks. It is easy to spot when this needs to happen as you notice the shorts becoming damp more easily/quickly or not drying up as well after getting damp. The process of lanolisation replenishes the lanolin – the natural wax – that has been used up, and also makes the wool fibres felt more closely together. So once they have dried out the shorts will be fully leakproof again. Please note that because of the felting, the shorts do become a little smaller. So if you have a particularly small baby you may want to lanolise more so that the shorts become a more snug fit. If on the other hand you have a large baby, you may want to size up.

You may wash the shorts – using the Disana wool shampoo – as frequently as you wish, and you do not always have to follow a wash with a lanolin treatment. But if you are wanting to lanolise, do wash the shorts first. So the shorts will already be wet. Here is the process that we follow, which is largely taken from the instructions on the lanolin conditioner bottle label, but with a few extra tips we find useful:

  1. Run a little hot water into an empty small bowl or sink.
  2. Shake the bottle of lanolin conditioner vigorously for several seconds.
  3. Squeeze out 2 tablespoons of lanolin and place into the hot water. Stir until fully dissolved.
  4. Add water at the appropriate temperature to make up to 1 litre of lukewarm temperature water. The water must not be too hot or too cold otherwise it will ‘shock’ the natural wool fibres.
  5. Place the wool shorts in the lanolin solution and wash through by gently squeezing and moving them around.
  6. Remove from the solution after a couple of minutes.
  7. Gently squeeze out the excess lanolin solution from the shorts. Do not wring them. Take a clean towel and place the shorts within the folds and gently press down to remove excess water.
  8. Leave the shorts to dry in a shady spot. Do not place in the sun or directly on a heater.
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