Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cloth Diapering 102: Washing Cloth Diapers

 I think the most overwhelming part of cloth diapering for me, was figuring out to wash them. You can read a million different ways to do it. I have learned over time that the most important thing is to maintain the integrity of the diapers absorbing powers and to make sure you rinse out all the suds.  So however you get to that point, is fine.. IMO. You can read a really interesting post on Bower Power where she discusses how she launders her diapers.
and here I will tell you how I launder mine. We do things very differently!  CD is like parenting, there is no right or wrong way, just the way that works for you.

I wash my dirty diapers every day, at the end of the day. I think letting them sit while dirty is gross and makes them harder to clean. I have enough diapers to make it 2 days though in case I don't get around to washing.
I separate the diaper and the insert when I put them into the wet bag at each diaper change. You can then just throw the whole wet bag into the washer and they diapers will all come out on their own in the washer. Just to clarify : I flush the diaper contents in the toilet, I do not put that into the wet bag or our washing machine! ha
I have a front loading washer, which uses less water to be more energy friendly, but that is not always diaper friendly. I have a soak option that will soak the diapers before washing, to ensure that they get enough water in the basin to get them adequately clean. If you have a top loader, this is not necessary.
The next thing of importance is to use the hottest water available. I have a "sanitary" mode on the washer that I use for that. If you think you still have suds in there, you can also run a extra rinse mode. I do not do that because I use Charlie's soap and they are completely clean after the sanitary mode.
( If you use regular detergent, and you can, then you must do plenty of rinsing to make sure there is no residue or build up on the diapers afterward. Build up will lead to leaking/lack of absorbing, and also can make a gross smell once the diapers are wet.)
Once they are dry, I will bring them into the living room and stuff them while watching TV.  That way we can start the next day with plenty of clean diapers.
If you do encounter that ammonia smell or a musty smell (that reminds me of clothes that mildew in the washer if they don't get put in the dryer in time)... then that means your diapers have some build up and are in need of stripping.
I have great success stripping my diapers with white vinegar. We have hard water here in Nashville so this is a good idea with diapers as well as towels. It is also a good idea to set a goal of stripping them say, every 2 weeks or so.
To strip  them you basically wash them like  normal first then re-wash them with about 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Extra rinse. then they will be all fresh and wonderful again.

So : Use very hot water, use diaper soap to prevent build up and strip with white vinegar every 2 weeks!


Brittany said...

I love when you do CD posts and baby food posts! We are a lot alike and I love that you have time to figure everything out and I can come to your blog for advice and info on everything. I'm stocking up on some cloth diapers and waiting for TM to chunk up a little in the thigh area before we start.

Your blog is like kelly mom for me. Thank you for sharing all your advice!

grizaham said...


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