Caring For Wool
How often do you have to wash wool diaper covers? Is it true that if they get a little wet it is possible to simply dry them and then reuse them?
How frequently you have to wash wool covers depends on a number of factors such as how often you change, the weight/thickness of your wool cover, the absorbency of your diaper material, the chemical strength of your child's urine, and how heavily you lanolize. Lanolin is the natural sheeps' oil in wool fiber that makes it so great as a diaper cover. It helps the fibers keep moisture locked inside, and also combines with urine in a chemical process similar to saponification - leaving the urine neutralized. However, this process also uses up the lanolin, so that it has to be replaced from time to time - this is the process called "relanolizing" in diaper-speak. It generally involves using a soap that contains lanolin, or melting pure lanolin in water and forcing it back into the wool fibers. Some people prefer a light lanolizing and more frequent washing, others like to actually get the fibers "greasy" (you can actually see and feel the sheen of lanolin) so that they rarely have to lanolize and can go longer stretches without lanolizing. It's really a matter of personal preference.
Overall, if you use a good, absorbent diaper with sufficient soaking power (the harder the diaper works, the less hard the wool has to), have a decent mid-level application of lanolin, and change every 2-4 hours, rotating your wool covers so that they can dry completely, you can use one for about 2 weeks before having to relanolize. If you are using a woolen for overnights - a great choice - you may have to lanolize a bit more frequently, like every 3-4 uses. Again, having good diaper material underneath and a thicker/heavier weight of wool will reduce how often you have to do this, even for overnight.
If the diaper is soiled with feces you should wash it before reusing. You may not have to lanolize again yet, but a good rinse with some baby shampoo in the sink would be suggested.