Monday, April 20, 2009

{Cloth Diaper Laundering}

MANDY B.’S
CLOTH DIAPER LAUNDERING
CHEAT SHEET 2.0

I wrote the first version of these instructions for my friend Genevieve and have since revised it, thinking I might post it online to the masses. Just to warn you, it’s a bit wordy b/c that’s just a habit of mine. But, trust me, when you break it down, it’s really simple. If you’re reading this, the hard part about cloth diapering is over. I found that the research, purchasing, and stripping of my new diapers was the most difficult part. Washing (and using) your diapers is the easy stuff. So here we go…



1. After changing baby, remove any inserts/doublers from the diaper. Then shake off or use the mini sprayer to remove solids, if any, from the diaper. It’s not necessary to get them 100% clean with the sprayer. Let your machine do most of the work. This is just to get the chunky stuff off. You want to remove the inserts/doublers before using the sprayer b/c you don’t want a really sopping wet diaper to have to transfer from the toilet area to the diaper pail. I happen to keep my diaper pail in the bathroom so whenever I’m doing the spraying, I have the diaper pail right next to the toilet to help avoid dripping.


2. Place diaper and insert/doubler into your diaper pail lined with a wet bag. Be sure to fasten any Velcro strips together before doing so because during washing and drying, they’ll all stick together and make for a very long chain of diapers…not fun! Some diapers have special Velcro tabs just for this purpose. Diaper makers call these “laundry tabs”.


3. When all your diapers are dirty, place the mouth of wet bag into the washer, and then push all the dirty diapers into the washer while at the same time turning your wet bag inside out. This way, you don’t have to actually touch any of the dirty diapers and your wet bag will get nice and clean since the dirty side will now be facing out!


4. Pre-wash the diapers on cold/cold (to avoid setting any stains) with NO detergent. If your washer doesn’t have a pre-wash cycle, a short cycle would be fine. This step removes any solids you missed when using the sprayer and loosens everything up for the next steps.

5. Run a normal cycle or heavy cycle set to warm wash/cold rinse, using 1 scoop of Charlie’s Soap and one scoop of Oxy Clean (optional). I also select extra rinse on my machine because it’s important to rinse away any and all detergent residues*.


*Residue is your enemy when it comes to cloth diapers…it makes them less absorbent. This is why I use only Charlie’s Soap. It’s a white powder and you only need one (1) tablespoon to wash an entire load. No perfumes, no harsh chemicals, no harm to the environment. I even use it to wash all of my family’s clothes. I highly recommend this soap for newborn’s clothes instead of the Dreft that is commonly used.

6. Dry the diapers on medium or high only for as long as they need…test it out by setting dryer for 20 minutes, checking, then 30, checking, then 40 to get just the right amount of time. This will lengthen the life of your diapers in the long run. The diapers I use are designed to last from birth to potty training for multiple children. So you can imagine just how many times you run them through this routine!

TIPS & TRICKS

If diapers/liners seem to smell of ammonia even after washing/drying, a cup or so of white vinegar during the rinse cycle will do the trick. Sometimes I even put it in right with the Charlie’s Soap at the beginning of the wash cycle and it seems to work great.

Sunning cloth diapers and their liners on a clothes line or sunny deck is great for removing tough stains and also whitens them unbelievably! There’s nothing cuter than a row of colorful cloth diapers on my clothes line on a breezy day. That’s why I do it every chance I get on the weekends. This saves energy too b/c you’re not running your dryer.


Every now and then, you might want to “strip” your diapers if you find that they are holding onto smells/stains or if they seem to be leaking. Just wash AND dry them completely about 3 times in a row to strip away any residues that may have built up over time.

My experience shows that the use of some diaper creams such as Desitin causes the diapers to smell and hold onto stains. I use Bordeaux’s Butt Paste as well as A&D Ointment and haven’t had that problem. If you have this problem, wash the diapers as you normally would, then use a scrub brush and Charlie’s Soap to scrub out the stain, then wash them again normally. A drop or two of dish detergent might also help break up the oils in the diaper cream and help lift it out of the fibers.


When on the go, keep a zippered wet bag in your diaper bag. I just ball up the dirty diaper (including the dirty wipes), and then just deal with the mess when I get home. When you’ve got a baby on the changing table, you don’t want to be leaving it unattended to dump the poop. The zippered wet bag keeps the smells at bay, so don’t worry about it too much. My daycare provider does this for us and it is really no problem at all to just do all the spraying at one time at the end of the evening. It only takes me about 2 minutes.

1 comment:

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