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Monday, August 16, 2010

Cloth Diaper Washing 101

We've had a lot of questions recently about washing cloth diapers and I know it's one of the points of concern for many people when they start cloth diapering. Washing cloth diapers should not be a difficult and lengthy process. You should not have to use different additives (such as vinegar, baking soda, etc). There are a few things to mention before we get to the washing itself. You always want to use the highest water setting on your washer to allow for more agitation of your diapers. If you use a HE washer and cannot set the water level, throwing a soaking wet towel in with your diapers will "trick" your washer into adding more water. You want to use a laundry detergent that is free of dyes, perfumes, enzymes, brighteners, bleach and softeners. You do not want to use Dreft, it contains softeners which will coat your diapers and cause them to leak. Now to washing! It's very simple, I promise!
  1. Cold water rinse without detergent, this will flush out any solid residue and urine, preventing stains from setting in.
  2. Hot water wash with detergent, using half the amount you wold use for regular laundry.
  3. Additional rinse and optionally add 3-4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (this is a natural antiseptic).
  4. Inserts, fitteds and prefolds can go in the dryer, covers and pockets should be hung up to dry to lengthen their life.
A few more things to take note of... You want to keep a dry cloth diaper pail or hanging wetbag because wet pails are messy, unsanitary and a drowning hazard for small children. You want to dump any solids into the toilet before washing, but remember that breastfed newborn poop is water soluble and can go directly into the washer. Wash ever 2-3 days for optimal stain removal and to prevent odor from starting. If you have a particularly bad stain, lay the diaper in the bright sun for several hours and it will disappear! If you ever have problems with washing, including stink, leaking or rash problems, please don't hesitate to contact us! We're more than happy to troubleshoot with you! You can contact us via our facebook page with questions or you can email info@nickisdiapers.com :)

23 comments:

Sy and Renessa said...

Thank you! I have been using cloth diapers for a little over a month now and am trying to do things "by the book." I had a little voice in the back of my mind that was second-guessing my washing routine...now my mind is at ease. This question isn't related to washing, but...how should I best use flannel wipes? Just water? Is there a home-made wipes solution?

girlsmom0406 said...

I regret the day we thought buying a front loader was a good option ;) I've had a very difficult time getting our diapers to not stink, add to that there is no rinse cycle on our washer so we have to run a 'delicate' cycle for our rinse and it seems that unless I rinse 2-3 times, we get the stinkies. It's a huge inconvenience. We use Rockin Green which everyone raves about, and it's been better than when we were using a free and clear detergent but it seems like we'll have to continually rinse, rinse, rinse. I've even tried the towel trick and it doesn't make much of a difference.

Amanda C

Western Mass Mama said...

What wonderfully easy and comprehensive instructions for washing CDs!!
I'm going to link this post from my blog - it's definitely the best instructions I've come across for something that I think scares so many people away from Cloth Diapering!

cocoacream said...

Thanks so much for the simple, concise CD washing guidelines! I am getting ready to use cloth for my first in just a few short months, and all the instructions I've found online make it sound so complicated. You've boiled it down to the basics, which really helps!

SAPsMaMa said...

I agree this is a good wash routine, very similar to mine! I dried diapers first year and now replacing their elastic, it's a pain in the butt!

we do a cold rinse of the poopy diapers, hot wash of all, and use 1/4 amount detergent specified, and in a downy ball use viniger with a few drops of laudnry oil from Healing Scents, which is mostly lavender. we then do a second cold rinse, and dry inserts in dryer, everything with elastic gets hung up. Also we now have wool dryer balls!

Kristin said...

We have an HE front loader and were having stink problems about a month ago. We seemed to have totally fixed it by adding 2 qts of cold water to our initial rinse cycle (putting the water in the liquid detergent compartment) then adding 4 qts of very hot water to the wash cycle...no more stinkies and I dont hate my HE machine anymore :)

Danielle said...

I'm happy about the comments! I have a front loader and have been using additives to help with the stink! I am going to try adding water through the liquid detergent compartment and see what happens. Gosh, now I'm excited for when I have enough diapers to wash! Too bad the load I started before I read this is almost done!

A. Davies said...

I recently switched detergents because I found the one I was using didn't get all the stink out and I'd wash it 2 and 3 times with extra rinses all to no avail. I'm using Thirsties prewash and superwash now and just one time of using those and they don't smell anymore, but I find my baby still gets diaper rash. Any ideas that could help me keep her diaper rash free?

Amy said...

this is so helpful! we are expecting (in 5 days!) and going to use cloth diapers. Thanks for the easy instructions!

Melissa said...

Commenting here for giveaway and passing to a friend who's going to CD!

dannyscotland said...

This is a great post. I'm going to share it with my new-to-cloth diapers friend!

FunkyMom said...

I never thought to add the extra water to the detergent cup!! AWESOME!!! I'm stripping my dipes right now due to stink! Now I know what to do for my next load!

Mrs.Smitty said...

I like to use Tea Tree Oil, I've never tried Lavender Essential Oil. I'll have to pick some up and try!

Angie said...

I'll definitely have to try the Lavender Essential Oil. For those of you with HE washers, how do you add the oil to the final rinse? Do you just put it in the fabric softener slot?

Nathaniel said...

Thanks for making the steps simple! The only thing I do differently is add detergent to the first cold wash as well. I love the clothesline shot! :-) -Joy

~*Faith*~ said...

I'm having problems getting all the stinkies out of my microfiber inserts for my FuzziBunz. Any thoughts?

Christine said...

Do you think it's a good idea to strip dipes monthly, to stay ahead of the stinkies? I am planning to use mostly pockets with microfiber inserts, and I'm terrified of the stinkies!!!

Krista said...

I started line drying my son's diapers this summer, and it works great. It's amazing how well the sun works at getting stains out!

Yuki said...

Oh boy I just read all the comments and it makes me wonder how my front loader will be doing...

I had a problem with a stinky pair of jeans last week and I don't know how it got stinky but nothing was working and then I thought about all those advices to put cloth diapers on the sun so I try that and it worked! No more stinky jeans!! Now I will try that with my menstrual pads!

Christal said...

This is so helpful. Now what about a prepping 101, including use of hemp and bamboo? I have been putting that off because I am nervous about it (then my washer broke and would only wash on cold). Hope to get it fixed soon.

Carolyn said...

This is helpful! I too have a front loader and have trouble getting the stink out of our microfiber inserts. I'll have to try adding water through the detergent dispenser.

ever abstract said...

Here's what I've noticed about washing cloth: every woman is told by every other woman that there's a way it MUST get done or else it won't work. Now, my grandmother (who I considered THE AUTHORITY on all things cloth, told me to boil my diapers in Ivory soap. Somehow, that worked for her and made me balk. Everyone will eventually get into their own groove.

You know what works for me? Never, ever, overstuffing the washing machine. I've washed my diapers everywhere. Laundromats, relatives homes, in three machines in my own home (I always got clunkers off of Craigslist), and even in a homeless shelter once. They will get clean anywhere.

I pre-treat well. Always making sure that the diaper is completely free of solids before I put it in the pail. A sprinkle of baking soda on top too. A drop of tea tree on top for odor control in the pail. I always let the machine completely fill with water and I don't wash more than 12 at a time. I know it sounds like a pain, but they get cleaner that way.

Allen's with Oxyclean on a cold soak. Then run a cold/cold wash. Then a hot/hot wash with Vinegar. Then a hot/cold with nothing to check for bubbles. As long as I'm bubble free- I'm good to go.

My son has been in the exact same diapers since he was born. He is now three years old. Sure, I have some elastic/aplex/snap wear and tear, which is normal- but my diapers have no smells, no stains, and I'm still comfortable breaking them out in front of mixed company without anyone getting squicked out.

Try not to overthink this stuff. Just do what works for you. If you try something that doesn't work- you've just learned something, and you can fix it.

Jessi said...

I love all the helpful tips on here. My husband and I are planning to do Foster Care and have decided to cloth diaper our foster children to help with diaper rashes they will most likely come to our home with. I have already bought prefolds from Nicki's Diapers and was impressed with the customer service and quality products! :) Thank you for having the store and this blog :)

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