Cloth Diaper Wash in 5 Simple Steps
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1. Your dirty diaper storage prior to washing
Dry pail is sufficient enough. If you have diapers with poo on them just rinse and then add to the pail. Do not let your soiled diapers sit for more than 2 to 3 days. If you are like me you may not have more than a 3 day supply anyway. This helps minimize stains and odor. If you have a problem with odors coming from the pail sprinkle a little baking soda over the diapers.
Just a note: I tried using the method of soaking the diapers until I was ready to wash them. BIG MISTAKE!!! The water got stagnant and made the diapers smell worse than when they were first added to the pail. This may work for some people but not for me!
2. Selecting a detergent
I thought I was going to have to switch to disposables after I checked into this one. All these recommended, special detergents that are available on the market, yet they are unavailable in any of the shops here. They are available for order online however the cost of shipping this stuff would probably pay for two babies in disposables. Do you really need a special detergent? Oh no! I may get some opposition on this one.
I use regular tide detergent. The same as I use for my family’s clothes. My diapers always come out clean and my baby has not yet had a diaper rash. So really there is no need going out and spending all that extra money on special detergents that may not even work.
3. Washing additives
There is no need to add bleach or fabric softeners to diaper loads. Actually both can be very bad for your diapers.
While bleach is a great disinfectant, used over time in diapers can lead to the fibers being eaten away resulting in holes and frayed edges. It can also decrease their durability and absorbency over time. Fabric softeners may give clothes a nice smell and soft feeling to them. Using on cloth diapers though can leave a water-repelling residue on your diapers which will result in less absorbency.
As a safe substitution for both use the following:
For a half wash load, add in half a cup of baking soda with the laundry detergent. Add half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
For a full wash load, just increase both the baking soda and vinegar to one cup.
For me I was using ¼ cup of bleach a few times per month. I have since stopped doing this and instead use the baking soda added to detergent, if I feel I need to. My reason for ending the use of bleach is that I could no longer tolerate the smell. I always use vinegar in the rinse cycle.
4. The washing process
In terms of using cold or hot water I have washed my diapers in both temperatures as the climate where I am living does not usually give me much choice. Both have worked fine for me. Only add the required amount of detergent needed to get your diapers clean. There is no need to double up on detergent just because the diapers look really dirty and smelly. This will only take you more time and waste water since you will have to make sure you get all that extra soap out of the diapers.
Sufficient water is needed to rinse diapers properly. While HE washers are great since they help save energy and cut down on water having less water can mean serious residue problems. Top load washers are easier to use with cloth diapers as you can adjust the water that you need. This will help prevent the build-up of detergent, bacteria and urine.
5. The drying process
Sunlight is your best friend when it comes to drying diapers so hang those diapers outside on clothes line.
Sunlight is a natural brightener, disinfectant, and will remove any tough poo stains left behind.
If you want to use a dryer that is also fine. You can still use the sun to remove stains if you need to. It only takes an hour or two and then you can always fluff them in the dryer if you wish.
Diapers washed, dried and put away = one happy mama :)