This is a good basic wash routine:
Hot wash with 1-2 TBS of safe detergent
Extra cold/rinse spin if necessary
I wash everything together and I dry everything together during the winter. During the rest of the year I hang dry outside. My PUL is just now delaminating- part way through my third kid. It only matters when he heavily wets (like at night), otherwise he's going in the potty most of the time and misses are generally small amounts.
Here are the instructions I give people when they are dealing with repelling or diaper funk....
How to fix Diaper Funk, Random Leaking, and Persistent Diaper Rash
1. Strip you diapers (see below)
2. Sun your diapers (see below)
3. Experiment with detergents until you find one that consistently works
Check out http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com for detergent reviews
4. If you have an HE washer, experiment with your wash routine to ensure all suds rinse out after each wash. This may require many more rinses than you have been doing previously, washing fewer diapers at one time, and washing on the heavy cycle.
5. Don't use diaper rash creams that contain petroleum, petrolatum or fish oil.
There are many brands available that do not contain these products. Even when using "safe" cream, line your diapers well.
6. Periodically wash your diapers with Dawn (about 2 tsp), thoroughly rinse
7. Experiment with vinegar in your post-wash rinse cycle (this will help the detergent rinse out, but in my experience has made ammonia smell worse)
8. If you suspect you have hard water, which is leading to build up, experiment with Calgon.
To strip your diapers you can do any or all of the following until they smell clean and rinse clear:
- Turn up your hot water heater and rinse, rinse, rinse until all the suds are gone (run hot washes without detergent)- you may need to do this many more times than you expect. I had one customer that needed 9 wash cycles to get all her suds out.
- Wash in Dawn dish soap (about 2 tsp) and rinse, rinse, rinse until you no longer see suds in the agitation cycle
- Wash with an oxygen bleach (like BioKleen) and rinse, rinse, rinse
- If you are not able to get all the suds out, put your clean diapers in the top rack of your dishwasher (cover the jet dry with saran wrap) and run the cycle. Open to check for suds.
- If you've already used questionable cream products (especially if you're experiencing diaper rash and/or leaking), scrub your diapers with Dawn and a grout brush then rinse, rinse, rinse
- If you've done everything and your diapers still have an odor follow these instructions: hot wash with 1 Tbs Dawn dish soap, hot wash with 1 Tbs Dawn dish soap and ¼ C bleach, and finally a hot wash with nothing. If you call Cottonbabies, this is what they will recommend.
Sun your diapers do all of the following to rid them of stains, bacteria, and fungus:
- Place your clean diapers out to dry in the sun for about 2 hours
- Sprinkle lemon juice on the particularly tough stains
- Turn any prefolds, wipes, doublers, and inserts after about an hour
I know this looks like an all day affair, and truthfully, it is. However, it's really worth it to get those diapers clean and to keep the problem from returning. Please let me know if you have questions about this process.