here's a quick post on lanolizing and caring for wool. now, i'm no expert but i have had nothing but success with wool so far--it's much easier than i expected and pretty much a low-maintenance part of my cloth diapering routine. here's what's working for me:
washing wool: i use ecover washing liquid for fine fabrics & wool. i fill up the bathroom sink with hot water, add a capful of the ecover, and swish the water around until it gets a little bubbly. then i toss in the wool--make sure that your wool doesn't bleed if you are washing more than one piece at the same time! i let it sit for about half an hour, then drain the sink and fill it with plain cold water to rinse. i swish each piece around a bit, then drain the sink again. i press excess water out of the piece--wringing wool can cause it to felt and shrink, which is not the greatest look. i roll up the wool in an extra-large bath towel, and then set it out in the sun or over a heating vent to dry.
i wash each piece about once every 2 weeks, or every 10-15 uses. wool is so interesting--lucy's nighttime cover will be very pee-stinky in the morning, but after it's aired out for the day it smells fresh & clean. i could probably get by with even less washing, but for now i'm sticking with every 2 weeks.
to lanolize: lanolin is the naturally occurring secreted by wool-bearing animals, and is very much like a wax. it keeps our wooly friends dry--the water just rolls right off instead of absorbing into the fibers. lanolin makes wool super effective for use in cloth diapering, giving it moisture-containing properties while still allowing for breathability, unlike the plastic pants of the past, or polyurethane laminate (PUL) covers of today. existing lanolin in wool is reduced with each washing, so a cloth-diapering mama (or papa) has to add it back in. i got great information from green mountain diapers on how to do this, but here's a quick rundown of what i do:
wool cover should be freshly washed & rinsed. in a stockpot, i boil about a gallon of water--enough for the piece to be fully submerged. to boiling water, add 2 big squirts of lansinoh lanolin (by far better then the medela brand) to the water--what would amount to 2 big tablespoons. add a bit of wool wash--this is important to avoid glopping which can put big greasy spots all over your wool (don't ask me how i know this, but my imse vimse cover has seen better days). swish everything fully to break up the oils in the lanolin. turn down the heat on the water.
flip your cover inside out (you want the bulk of the lanolin to be on the side of the cover that will be exposed to moisture) and toss in the wool. using tongs, dip the wool in and out of the water a few times. transfer to a strainer and let cool, then press as much of the water out as you can. do not rinse. roll wool up in a towel & lay flat to dry.
if the wool feels greasy, you probably used too much lanolin. if your little angel is soaking their covers, you probably didn't use enough. but really, this is the simplest thing ever, and it takes very little time. the payoff is a cute, breathable, natural little tush for your babe--well worth the minimal amount of work!