Friday, November 30, 2007

Coming soon to Baby Tots and Mom

Recently, I've ventured out into a new cover diaper and it is ' Wool diaper cover'. I knew of wool clothing and owned a few pieces but never knew how to properly care for them aside no wringing , no hot wash and etc. Then taking the chance to purchase a wool diaper cover
( considering the amount i had to spend on it) i had to really care for this special merino wool cover.

That includes on how to wash and care for it, and all the HOW, WHY and WHICH type of fabric that suits our little darlings. And then began my extensive search on the internet regarding wool cover.

Why wool?

In contrast to synthetics, which are commonly used as wetness barriers when cloth diapering, wool is antibacterial. The difference lies in the way the fibers wick. Synthetics hold or block moisture in its liquid state, thus creating an ideal breeding ground for bacteria to grow. Wool, on the other hand, absorbs moisture in its vapor state, easily releasing it into the air, before bacteria ever has a chance to set up shop.

Wool is lanolin-rich. Lanolin is a popular ingredient in soapmaking. Lanolin’s constant presence in wool, along with the friction produced by vapor-swollen wool fibers, enables the wool to perpetually scrub itself clean. On those occasions when wool gets soiled with larger particles that can’t evaporate, the lanolin content makes it a breeze to rinse those deposits away.

Odours are caused by bacteria growing on the fibers. Because wool is anti-bacterial: no bacteria, no odour!

  • Wool breathes

  • Wool is a natural fiber

  • Wool repels water & holds moisture at the same time

  • Wool doesn't get stinky and is in fact antimicrobial to some extent ;

  • Wool can be dyed in lovely colors, knitted, crocheted, woven or felted in 1000's of different ways and styled in countless designs

  • Wool doesn't need washing as frequently as other materials do

  • Wool is warm in winter and cool in summer

  • What type of wool covers are available?

    Soakers: A soaker is a pull-on wool cover that somewhat resembles a brief or panty.

    Longies: This is diaper-lingo for wool pants. One of the neat things about wool is that it can do double-duty as diaper cover and clothing at the same time!

    Shorts: Just as the name says, these are shorts made out of wool that serve as diaper cover and clothing simultaneously.

    Wraps: These are wool covers that envelope the diaper area and close using snaps, velcro, buttons, or even ties

    How are these covers made?

    Wool covers are typically hand-knit (or crocheted), machine-knit, or sewn from wool fabric. All work beautifully, and it is usually a choice of aesthetics or budget that determines which cover construction a parent will choose. Obviously, handmade garments are more time-consuming to create, and can therefore cost more, although not necessarily.

    Aristocrats,Disana, and Babyology covers are examples of Machine-Knit wool, which can sometimes offer a more budget-friendly or durable alternative.

    Fabric sewn covers can usually accommodate closures like snaps or velcro better than their knit counterparts. Examples of brands that make wool fabric covers are Niji, Nikki, Lana, Little Beetles, Biobottoms, Loveybums, Stacinator, Rumpwraps, and Vermont Diaper Company, to name only a few.

    What about washing the wool?

    Since wool is naturally anti-bacterial, throw out the idea that it needs to be washed each time it is worn. Simply rotate two or three covers throughout the diaper changing day, allowing them to air out between changes, and they’ll stay fresh for many days. How long? Depends. Many mamas report going a month or two between washes. You’ll know when it’s time to wash when the wool doesn’t smell fresh anymore.

    If poo escapes the confines of your diaper for a wool field trip, that’s another story, since poo doesn’t turn to vapor.

    Lanolin has natural cleansing properties, which make it very easy to rinse soil deposits off of your wool with lukewarm water. Once the poo has rinsed away, you’ll need to wash the cover.

    There are a few ways to wash wool. Some people use baby shampoo, bar soap, or specialty commercial wool washes, like Eucalan. All are fine, but DO NOT use Woolite. It is not compatible with diapering because it strips the precious lanolin from the wool.

    What is lanolizing?

    "Freshly lanolized," or "needs lanolization" or something like that. What are they talking about?

    For many people, using a lanolin-rich wool wash, like those mentioned above, is enough to maintain stability in the lanolin content of their diaper covers, and therefore the performance. Some, though, may find that their covers’ ability to act as a wetness barrier decreases over time and needs a boost. This is where lanolization comes in.

    To lanolize a cover, basically all you need to do is dissolve some pure lanolin, like Lansinoh brand nipple ointment for nursing moms, in water and soak.

    How much lanolin to use? If squeezing out of a tube, like Lansinoh, or any available lanolin in the market, then squeeze a line of lanolin about ¼ inch long.

    How to make it dissolve in the water evenly? Start with about a cup of hot water, either hot from your tap, or boiled and cooled slightly. The heat will help the lanolin soften up and dissolve. (Some tips I've learned . Instead of throwing away your baby jar food, you can squirt lanolin into the jar and add hot water and shake real hard to dissolve the lanolin). Then add that small amount of hot water/dissolved lanolin mixture to your sink/pan/bucket of lukewarm water. Adding a small squirt of your lanolin-rich wool wash in this step would also be helpful, as it will keep the pure lanolin from clumping and staining your cover.

    How long to soak? About 20 minutes should do it. Some prefer spinning in the washing machine , however it is recommended to squeeze it out between a towel.

    But isn't wool scratchy...and what about allergies?...what is organic wool?

    Wool can be scratchy. But not all wool is. Just like human hair, it can be coarse or silky-fine. The thicker the individual wool fiber, the more coarse the wool garment will feel. Different breeds of sheep have characteristically fine or coarse wool. The Merino breed has the finest wool: its fibers measure between 18 and 22 microns wide. Other soft breeds include Rambouillet, Romeldale, and Targhee, whose fleece measure up to 26 microns. Amongst the coarsest are Lincoln and Cotswold, in the 37 to 40 micron range.

    Merino wool feels buttery soft; not a touch of scratchiness to it. Beyond merino, each person is likely to have a different scale of which breeds are comfortable and which are too coarse. If you or your baby are extremely sensitive to coarse wool, you may wish to stick to merino covers only, although many people are able to wear and enjoy a variety of wool breeds and blends in absolute comfort.

    About allergies: sadly, there are a few people who truly have an allergic reaction to wool, and therefore, cannot wear wool. The good news is that many people who think they have a wool allergy may find that they actually have a sensitivity to either the coarseness of the wool, or the chemicals that are used to process conventional wool, but not to the wool fiber itself. This gives many the option of switching to merino or other soft breeds, or using organic wool, or both, so that they, too, can enjoy this wonderful fiber.

    Organic wool is, simply put, chemical-free wool. The sheep who grow the wool graze in pastures that have not been treated with herbicides or pesticides. Any supplemental feed is also chemical-free. The sheep are not dipped in chemicals while they’re still wearing the wool. And, once the wool is shorn, no harsh chemicals are used in the scouring and spinning process. The result? Beautiful, pure wool!

    Dressing your baby in wool.

    How many covers do I need?

    If using wool exclusively, I’d say a bare minimum of four. That gives you two to three to rotate through the day, and one to wash if soiled. Six would be a more comfortable number, in case baby has a day of explosive pooping, and the sky’s the limit as far as how many. Some truly addicted wool-diapering mamas have in excess of twenty in any given size.

    Storing your precious wool.

    There are two main types of critters who like to feast on wool: clothes moths and carpet beetles. Both are very small, measuring about ¼ inch long. Since they prefer dark, undisturbed areas to breed and feed, wool that is frequently used is not likely to be damaged, and needs no protection.

    If your wool stash is large, or if you are going to store outgrown wool covers, then you will need to protect your garments. Mothballs, which are toxic and should never be in a home with children, and their natural cousin cedar oil, are only effective in extremely high concentrations on very young larvae, so therefore are not foolproof. Plastic will not allow the fibers to breathe, and moisture trapped in plastic-encased wool fibers can cause mold or mildew over time.

    So what are you to do? It’s actually very cheap and easy to protect your wool. Wool pests will not eat plant fibers (unless soiled with human stains like blood, urine, or food), so storing your wool in clean cotton pillowcase is a great way to go. To be sure to keep the pests out, you can store the wool inside two pillowcases, each tied shut with ribbon or twine, with the tied ends on opposite sides. Store the double-bagged wool anywhere you have room for it, but it is best to avoid attics or basements.

    If you fear your wool may have the beginnings of an infestation, all is not lost. Cold temperatures will kill any pests and their eggs. Just put your wool in the freezer! In a deep freezer (0 degrees F or lower), it only takes 3 days. In a kitchen freezer, which is usually set closer to the freezing point of 32 degrees, it may take up to three weeks. After removing the wool from the freezer, give it a good wash, and you’re worry free!

    Articles from various internet resources.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Facts about cotton

    What's the difference between cotton and linen?
    Natural fibres fall into two main groups: protein fibres, which come from animals, and vegetable fibres which come from plants. The main ingredient in all vegetable fibers is cellulose, a carbohydrate found in all plant life. Both cotton and linen are vegetable fibres. Linen is made from the flax plant, cotton is made from the cotton plant.

    Why is seersucker a traditional summer fabric?

    A firmly woven cloth with parallel flat and puckered stripes, cotton seersucker became popular in the 1930s for summer suits because the crisp, cool fabric did not show wrinkles and could be laundered easily.

    What makes terry cloth towels so absorbent?

    Most terry cloth is made with cotton because the absorbent fibres gets stronger when wet and it can be sanitized in very hot water using strong bleach and detergent without harm. Terry cloth is usually made with looped pile because the loops act like very small sponges. Looped pile is also better able to withstand the strain of rubbing, pulling twisting and tugging by the user. Loosely twisted loops are softer and more absorbent than tightly twisted loops, which produce a rougher fabric. Long pile is more absorbent than short pile. Terry cloth is most absorbent when it has loops on both sides. Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water.

    Extra tips on cotton produce:

    Diaper Cloth
    is a twill, dobby or plain woven absorbent cotton.

    Flannel cotton is plain or twill weave with a slight nap on one or both sides.

    Flannelette is a soft cotton fabric with a nap on one side.

    Outing flannel is a soft, twill or plain weave fabric napped on both sides. Used for baby clothes, diapers, and sleepwear.

    Terry Cloth is a looped pile fabric that is either woven or knitted. Very absorbent and used for towels, etc. French terry cloth is looped on one side and sheared pile on the other.

    This article was selected from various internet resources.

    Organic cotton

    Organic Cotton Facts

    Of all organic fibers, organic cotton is one of the most popular. Here are some facts about the growing organic cotton industry.

    What is "organic cotton"?
    Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

    How much organic cotton is grown globally?
    In 2000-2001, international production was approximately 6,368 metric tons (slightly more than 14 million pounds, or 29,248 bales), grown in 12 countries, according to data from the Pesticide Action Network of the United Kingdom and from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
    This represents about 0.03% of worldwide cotton production. Turkey and the United States were the leading producers of organic cotton, followed by India, Peru, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Senegal, Israel, Greece, Benin and Brazil.

    How much organic cotton is grown in the U.S.?
    Based on OTA's 2005 survey of U.S. organic cotton producers funded by Cotton Incorporated, farmers in four states harvested 6,814 bales (3,270,720 pounds) of organic cotton from 5,550 acres during 2004. This is an increase from the 4,628 bales harvested from 4,060 acres in 2003. Texas continues to lead the United States in organic cotton production, with limited acreage also planted in California, New Mexico, and Missouri.

    In 2005, U.S. farmers planted 6,577 acres of organic cotton. Harvest figures for 2005 are not yet available.

    How is the apparel industry involved with organic cotton?
    Apparel companies are developing programs that either use 100 percent organically grown cotton, or blend small percentages of organic cotton with conventional cotton in their products. There are a number of companies driving the expanded use of domestic and international organic cotton. For a current list of OTA members with fiber products, visit The Organic Pages Online at
    What kinds of products are made using organic cotton?

    As a result of consumer interest, organic cotton fiber is used in everything from personal care items (sanitary products, make-up removal pads, cotton puffs and ear swabs), to home furnishings (towels, bathrobes, sheets, blankets, bedding), children's products (toys, diapers), clothes of all kinds and styles (whether for lounging, sports or the workplace), and even stationery and note cards.
    In addition, organic cottonseed is used for animal feed, and organic cottonseed oil is used in a variety of food products, including cookies and chips.

    How fast is the organic fiber market growing?
    In 2003, organic fiber sales in the United States grew by 22.7 percent over the previous year, to reach $85 million, according to the Organic Trade Association's 2004 Manufacturer Survey. Sales of organic women's clothing during that period grew by 33.6 percent, while organic infant's clothing and diaper sales grew 20.5 percent. Sales of organic men's clothing grew by 11 percent, and children's and teen's clothing sales grew by 15.8 percent. Meanwhile, sales of organic sheets and towels grew by 17.9 percent, and those for organic mattresses and pillows increased 8.3 percent.

    Participants in the survey predicted that U.S. sales of organic fiber would grow an average of 15.5 percent each year for 2004 through 2008.

    ©Organic Trade Association, Updated 2006