If you're ready to lanoline your wool, let's presume it's already been washed. If you are looking for how to wash your wool, see our previous post.
1. Start with clean wool. This wool is inside out because I just finished washing it. The top two pieces here are Wild Coconut Wear interlock blend and the bottom pair are machine knit Sloomb longies.I lanolize my wool inside out for a few reasons. #1, just in case...if I get any lanolin spots on my wool it will be inside where I can't see it, #2...baby needs more protection on the inside of the wool because that's where it comes into contact with the wetness first, not on the outside.
2. Get out your lanolin, wool wash, and something to emulsify them in. I'm using some solid lanolin by Sheepish Grins and a sample size wool wash bar since that's what I had on hand.
3. Fill your buckets/sink, etc. with tepid water (the same temperature you use if you are going to hand-wash your wool. These are my lanolizing tubs. Basically two little plastic washing tubs that I used to use when we went camping and we had to hand wash our dishes :) Now they are dedicated to woolies. Some use a 5 gallon bucket if they are lanolizing a lot of pieces at a time.
4. Scoop out some lanolin and add it to a cup of water. I use about 1 tsp per pair of longies. And just a side note, I usually try to stick with the same spoon and mug to mix my lanolin just because...The lanolin is all food grade but I like the scented stuff and I don't want to consume any of the fragrance/essential oils that might be there.
5. I also then slice some pieces of the wool wash bar and add some of the slivers to my mug with the lanolin (lanolin is the glob floating on top, the wool wash slivers are the white pieces that sunk to the bottom). You need the wool wash to emulsify the lanolin. Emulsify means to force two things together that normally wouldn't mix...In this case, the lanolin and the water (think about how oil and water don't mix...the wool wash forces them to mix).
6. I microwave for 1 minute and stir stir stir when it comes out! Please be careful and don't burn yourself! The first picture below shows what it looks like when it just comes out of the microwave. The water is a little murky and the lanolin glob on top is melted but it's just floating there.
This is what it looks like upon stirring but you can still see quite a bit of yellow, so I added in a few more slivers of wool wash bar and kept stirring.
Now it looks like this! You need your mixture to look creamy and has no floaties. That's when you know your lanolin should be sufficiently emulsified.
7. Dump your lanolin mixture into the tub with the clean water. Stir it so all your water is nice and cloudy. The one of the right has the lanolin mixture added to it and the one on the left is just water. Wanted to give you a comparison shot.
8. Repeat the lanolin mixture steps if you need to make a second batch for your other tub. I typically lanolize one pair of longies per tub at a time but I'll lanolize two covers in the same tub since they are smaller.
9. Add your wool to the tubs and make sure they are fully immersed. I used a tupperware lid to weigh it down and then put the mug upside down to hold it. I have shallow tubs so if you are using something like a 5 gallon bucket you might not need to do this. After about an hour I gently flip my wool to the other side just so I know it's all getting well lanolized. If you use your wool for overnights (I do), I highly suggest letting them soak for a good hour before taking them out. I personally leave them there for at least 2. I usually start them in the late afternoon and leave them soaking all evening until I get ready to go to bed.
10. When you've left them in for your desired time, take them out and gently squeeze out the excess water in the sink. DO NOT wring out your wool. It's not good for it and can damage the fibers.
11. The best way I've found to get excess water out of my wool and helps with decreasing drying time is to roll it up in a towel and pushing down gently on the towel to squeeze out excess water. The first time I did this I was shocked at how much water was left on the towel! I fold my towels in half lengthwise so I can put one piece of wool on each end and roll towards the middle (think about what a scroll looks like)
My wool 'scroll' :)
awesome drying rack!
13. Wait for them to dry! I recommend turning on a fan to get some good air circulation. Keep them out of extreme temperatures (like in front of a window) and out of any direct sunlight. It can take anywhere from 12-24 hours to dry and can vary depending on how you have them drying (drying rack vs on a towel), how good the air circulation is in the room, and the moisture level of your home. When your wool is dry it might feel sticky, that's okay! I actually like my wool a little sticky because I feel like I know it's lanolized well. Any excess lanolin will rub off on your baby's skin and moisture them :) If you don't like the tacky feeling then you can use a little less lanolin the next time.
Hope this guide has been helpful and please feel free to contact us at FiggyFuzz Baby Boutique if you have any questions!