Monday, January 17, 2011

Mmm, lanolin

If you are a cloth diaper mama, you will probably have at least heard of lanolizing.  It is the process by which lanolin is reapplied to a knitted or crocheted item (having been washed off in the scouring stage, before the wool was even yarn).  It's usually done to wool diaper covers to improve their waterproof properties, and to keep them from getting stinky (the ammonia in urine reacts with the lanolin to make soap!).  But I must tell you, lanolin rich wool gear is not just for cloth diaper bottoms!  A lanolized hat will repel water.  Lanolized mittens will keep the snow out better.  Lanolin is, all around, great stuff!

So for those of you who don't know, here's the process:  First you put a small amount of HOT water into your basin (don't use your sink, the lanolin can clog up your pipes).  Mix in about an inch of lanolin, depending how many woolies you need to do.  You can find 100% lanolin with breastfeeding supplies at most stores.  Just get whatever's cheap - brand makes a difference to nursing moms, but for our purposes, as long as it's 100% it'll work fine.  Once the lanolin is melted into the water (this will take some stirring), mix in a bit of your favorite wool wash or baby shampoo.  Slowly add cool water until your water is just lukewarm.  Slowly submerge your finished item into the water.  As the water continues to cool, the lanolin will adhere to the wool (as well as the inside of the basin, frankly).  I usually let mine soak for about half an hour.  Squeeze out the excess water and dry flat as usual.  Ta-dah!  Lanolized, water resistant winter gear.


  1. This is a terrific idea for the mittens I'm working on... Thanks!

  2. What an amazing idea!!!! I will have to try this!