I guess someone somewhere figured out if wool keeps a sheep dry, it could keep humans dry too. Yay for that person, because now we not only have delightfully soft wool sweaters and socks, but also a fantastic diapering solution!
Wool works for three basic reasons – the trifecta ability to repel water, breath, and absorb moisture. So… it’s got the perfect properties of a plastic bag, cotton fabric, and a sponge! In one!
Water Repellent – wool fibers have an overlapping structure that naturally repels water (kind of like scales on a snake, but let’s not go there – how about shingles on a roof?). Plus, natural wool fibers are coated with lanolin, a thin layer of oil from the sheep’s skin (yes, kind of like sheep sweat). The lanolin adds to the ability of wool to repel water.
Breathability – Wool fibers tend to tangle, especially when heated and agitated, as in a washer/dryer – this is what is known as felting wool. Wool can also be “fulled,” or boiled for a similar effect. When wool is felted or fulled, the fibers are not just tangled, but also meshed, so pockets form, and air can pass between them. Breathable fabric = temperature regulation = evaporation of moisture = fewer diaper rashes (at least, that is my conclusion).
Absorption – Remember those tiny pockets of meshed-up wool? Well, they actually absorb microscopic amounts of water droplets – as much as 30% of the wool’s weight! So any water that manages to get through that outer repellent layer, gets absorbed by the wool fibers.
And that, my friends, is why wool is such a great material for making diaper covers!
What else do you know about wool? Do you wear wool yourself?