Sheepish Grins


What Is Lanolin?

Lanolin is a greasy, yellow substance that is produced by sheep to keep their wool dry and soft. Lanolin is soothing to the skin and naturally helps prevent bacteria from growing. It acts as a moisture barrier on skin and keeps wool in good condtion. Pharmaceutical grade lanolin has been purified to remove pesticides and other chemicals.

When purified, lanolin is used as a base for ointments and creams, as a lubricant, and in finishing and preserving leather. It is also a constituent of some varnishes and paints. Lanolin is made of a mixture of cholesterol and the esters of several fatty acids. With water it forms an emulsion. As a waste product in wool processing, it is known also as wool wax, wool fat, or wool grease.

Does Sheepish Grins use any animal byproducts?

Absolutely not. Lanolin is produced from wool sheared from live animals. Sheep need to have their wool sheared off at least once a year or it gets so long it tangles and makes them much too hot for summertime. When the wool is cleaned, the lanolin is extracted. One of the reasons I love using lanolin and wool is that they are biodegradable, naturally produced, renewable resources and using them does not hurt sheep.

None of our products contain ingredients that require an animal to die (for instance, we do not use any emu oil, beef tallow, or other fats from animals). We use only two animal ingredients in our products, bees wax and lanolin. All of our skin care products are clearly labeled so you can easily see what they contain.

Why Do My Wool Soakers Need Lanolin?

Lanolin is what keeps the sheep�s own wool dry and helps to neutralize urine.  Lanolin is what keeps the water out.  In the case of your wool soakers you want to keep the water in.  Lanolin also reacts with your baby's urine and neutralizes it.  This is why you can hang a wet soaker up to dry and have it still smell fresh without washing.

How Often Do I Need To Lanolize?

When your wool soaker or wool diaper cover is no longer waterproof or starts to smell it is time to wash and reapply the lanolin.  For daily use, a soaker may need to ne lanolized weekly. For only night time use it may need lanolizing only every 2-3 weeks.

How Do I Lanolize My Wool?

First wash your wool in luke warm water using Sheepish Grins Wool Soap or Sheepish Grins Foaming Wool Soap.  These soaps are gentle for your wool but still have all the cleaning power that you need.

Drain water.

You can add one of the following to just enough luke warm water to cover your soaker:

1 teaspoon or less of Sheepish Grins Solid Lanolin mixed with boiling water and a teaspoon of baby wash. Mix to smooth out any clumps, then add to warm water.


1 teaspoon or less of Sheepish Grins Liquid Lanolin

Add your wool soaker to water and gently swirl it around.  Allow it to soak in the water for a minimum of 15 minutes and as long as 24 hours.

Remove from soak water and roll in a towel to remove excess water.  Lay the soaker flat and allow to air dry.

Well What Is The Spray Lanolin For Then?

This is the easiest way to lanolize your wool.  After you wash your wool you just spray your soaker inside and out with Sheepish Grins Lanolin Spray.  Massage gently into the fibers and allow to dry as usual.  No clumps of lanolin anywhere and you can control how much or how little you add to your soaker. You will need to use enough to get the wool quite damp, but not soaked.

Is your lanolin "organic?"

The United States Department of Agriculture requires that anyone who produces, processes or handles organic agricultural products must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier in order to sell, label or represent their products as "organic." To become certified, an organic producer, processor or handler must develop, implement and maintain an organic system plan. Most small manufacturers simply can't afford to jump through these hoops so they can legally call their products organic.

Additionally, although lanolin is from the sebaceous glands of sheep, it undergoes many processes before it is purified and isolated and chemists may consider it a semi-synthetic compound and thus not under the category of "organic."

When choosing a source for lanolin it is best to find one that is harvested and processed in the United States and watched over by the FDA.  Lanolin sources out of the country may advertise themselves as "organic" but there is no reliable way to ensure what that actually means to the United States consumers.

My lanolin is purchased from United States sources and is then processed to above pharmaceutical grade status in the United States.

Additionally, any "organic" product can not contain more than 5% of any non-organic ingredients. Since there is no USDA certified organic lanolin, no "organic" product can contain more than 5% lanolin if it is to legally be called organic. We feel you deserve more lanolin than that. Our wool care products all contain much more than 5% lanolin.

I have spent many hours researching lanolin and while I have found many people claiming to sell organic lanolin products, I have never found a source of USDA certified organic lanolin. If you know of a reliable source of USDA certified organic lanolin I would love to be proven wrong on this one.

If you have a question about wool, wool care, or lanolin please feel free to email me.

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