So my laundry room smells like I drowned a sheep in the washing machine. Yep, you've guessed it - I've finally gotten around to felting and lanolinizing the wool Army blanket I bought. It went well. I think. I guess I won't really know for sure until the first time Jesse wets the bed. If the mattress stays dry then this will have been a success!
In case you're wondering exactly what I did, either out of sheer curiousity (pun not intended) or because you might be interested in trying to do the same thing, here are the deets:
You start with a 100% wool blanket. I bought an Army blanket off eBay for around $40, shipping included.
It really needed to be washed, since there were pet hairs all over it. And well, that's part of the felting and lanolinizing process anyway. (Please beware - DO NOT treat other woollens like this! This is ONLY if you want to felt them!) So I stuck it in the washing machine on warm, but added a bunch of hot water as well, since you need temperature variation. I couldn't find my wool wash (argh!) so I just used a small amount of my regular green laundry detergent.
I let it wash and then go through a cold rinse cycle. This was the result - CLEAN!
Then it was time to lanolinize. If you've used wool diaper covers, this process will be somewhat familiar to you. I filled the washing machine again but with tepid water this time. And I located my lanolinizing tools.
Yes, that's Lansinoh lanolin (left over from those first weeks of breastfeeding) and a (gasp!) plastic water bottle. I half filled the water bottle with very hot tap water and added a decent amount of lanolin.
I put the top on, and I shook it like a polaroid picture. Seriously, you have to shake the sh!t out of that stuff to make sure lanolin is thoroughly suspended in the hot water. Then I added the water and lanolin mixture to the now filled washing machine.
I swooshed the water around with my hands, to make sure the lanolin was mixed throughout. Then I made sure the washing macine was shut off and left the blanket to soak all day. When I came back, I put the washing machine through a delicate cycle and spun it out.
I then laid out some old towels on the laundry room floor, doubled the blanket over twice, laid another towel on top of it, and then rolled it up.
To make sure I got as much water out of the blanket as possible, I walked along the rolled blanket-towel combo. Then I laid the blanket over a drying rack.
And then I swept up all the woolies off of the floor. I should have taken a picture of that too! It looked like I had shorn a green sheep in there! And I'm still going to have to take a lint brush to the blanket.
When it's finished drying, I'm going to decide what to do with it. I'll probably cut it to the size of Jesse's mattress and sew over the edges. I don't think I need to sew it to fit down over the mattress, like a typical mattress cover does. But we'll see how it goes.
There you have it. A natural waterproof (water resistant?) mattress cover. I'll let you know if it works sometime in the next year or so.