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Help a new mama out -- diapers

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So I'm a first time mom and planning on cloth diapering. I got my husband on board by deciding to go with AIOs wink1.gif. We were lucky enough to receive about half our stash at baby showers -- yay! We went with bum Genius AIOs, and some of the organic Elementals too for nighttime absorbency. So, I have a mishmash of regular AIOs and organic AIOs and now I feel really overwhelmed as how to launder them! Ive been digging around on the MDC forums for advice, but I think I now have more questions than answers! Help, please!

1. I have always heard that you have to line dry cloth diapers, especially pockets or AIOs. But I was seeing lots of moms on the forums saying they throw everything in the dryer. Is that a legitimate option or a no-no? If you can put BG in the dryer, what setting do you use and for how long?

2. Seems from my reading that most people's wash routines look something like this: cold rinse with nothing, hot wash with 1/4 to 1/2 detergent amount, and then a final rinse with cold or hot water. Is that more or less what you ladies do?

3. As far as wash cycle options on my washing machine, I've got colors, whites, delicates, quick wash, and load sensing. Which should I use for my diapers? (Its a front loader and not HE)

4. What's all the fuss about PUL? Do the diapers I'm using fall under that category? There seems to be great debate surrounding whether or not you can put them in the dryer (some saying you are supposed to, and others saying never because it's plastic). Thoughts?

5. According to the Cotton Babies website, the care instructions are different for the regular Freetime AIOs and the organic Elementals. Really? What a pain. Do folks who have both wash them separately or together? Dry them separately or together? (It says to line dry the Freetimes and "dry warm" the Elementals). Also, it says the Elementals should be per-washed 5-7 times before initial use. Is this important? I will post their instructions for each below:

Freetime: Care Instructions
Fasten hook tabs to laundry tabs on slot cover.
Pre-wash cold. Wash hot (100F/40C) with bumGenius detergent.
Extra rinse. Line Dry.
No laundry additives. No fabric softeners.
Use 1/4 cup or 60 mL bleach in the hot wash once per month.

Elementals: Care Instructions
Your organic diapers will need to be prewashed 5-7 times in hot water with a bit of detergent in each load. Dry warm.
Regular wash routine: Wash cold with ¼ of the manufacturer’s recommended amount of additive free detergent. Wash hot with the same amount of detergent. Double rinse. Dry warm.

So do I bleach the Elementals monthy too? You see why I am confused? smile.gif

6. What's this about stripping diapers? I don't even know what that means!

Thank you mamas so much!!!! I so excited to read everyone's birth stories!
post #2 of 24

Thanks for posting this - I am doing a newborn cloth diaper rental from Kissed by the Moon and have a variety of different types and am also overwhelmed by the wash routines. I'm pretty sure it's okay to put the diapers in the dryer, just not for very long. I hope so - I don't think line drying them will be a great option in the rainy season!

post #3 of 24

Okay, here is my two cents:

 

Do you care if they look cute and wonderful? If so then sure stress about it, wash 5 different loads per each manufacturer's directions.

 

OR

 

Do you cherish your sanity? Throw them all in the wash, wash them twice, once on a heavy setting and then again on normal (with cleaner of your choice). Warm or hot. If you have the time to line dry a dozen diapers (or more the first few weeks) a day then sure, if you want to. I don't. I throw them all in the dryer on high. No, not all the "pretty" exteriors hold up, but honestly, that's not why I bought (and made) them. They serve their purpose. That's what matters to me.

 

 

Oh, as for the other questions:

 

Washing all of them a bunch of times before first use is what I did with all of mine.

 

Stripping - If I remember right that's for if they become less absorbent because of detergent sticking to it. I've only had one set do that, but they were ridiculously cheap so I tossed them since they were my least fav anyway.

 

Like I said, I'm sure I am far too lax with my washing methods, but I've only ever had one set "go bad" the rest have held up, minus some fuzz balls on the cloth outer ones and just well used looking if the outer layer is water resistant.


Edited by OceansEve - 10/27/12 at 12:02pm
post #4 of 24

Thanks for the reassuring info. Since I'm doing a rental for the newborn size, I don't really care how pretty they look as long as I can get my deposit back. wink1.gif

post #5 of 24
Here's my washing scheme. I use the same cycle/load for prefolds, AIO's, doublers, cloth wipes and covers.

1. (We used disposables during the meconium poops because DS was in the nicu then. By the time we got home, he was onto regular breastmilk poops.) So. For EBF poops, the poop just kind of soaks into the diaper. So I ran everything on the "sanitize" cycle (very hot water, long wash; a whites cycle would be fine too) on my front loader with a pre-wash cycle to get the poops off at the beginning.

2. For more solid poops after he started eating some foods, we have a diaper sprayer. I sprayed off the poops first. Then wash everything on the sanitize cycle with an extra rinse cycle at the end to rinse off any additional soap residue to try to prevent them needing to be stripped so often.

3. Stripping. You will know when they need this because your eyes will water when you go to change a pee diaper or the diapers will have a bit of a residual smell when they come out of the dryer. To strip, I just wash them on a hot water cycle with no soap. Sometimes I do an extra rinse cycle with vinegar. If you have the patience, you can try to watch the wash cycle and see if there are suds during the wash cycle even when you put no soap in. They are officially stripped when there are no suds left. The suds are the residue working its way out. I have never done this. Just if they smelled better, I figured we were good to go.

4. PUL= polyurethane laminate. It's fabric coated with plastic which is what makes it waterproof. I have dried all my stuff on high. In 2.5 years of washing cloth diapers, I messed up precisely 1 diaper cover. It was a thirsties duo wrap diaper cover. It has the laminate exposed because its just a cover. The plastic got stuck to the hot air coming out of the back of the dryer. It got all stuck together and mangled. If the laminate is not exposed (as in AIOs), they should be fine on high heat. My thickest prefolds would never dry on anything other than high heat. The covers air dry very quickly, but usually I was too lazy to sort anything out.

5. Another note about drying. Don't use dryer sheets. They leave a residue on the diapers that reduces absorbency and also makes it so you have to strip them more often.

For every cloth diaper user, there is a washing method that they swear by. There are many right ways of doing it. It's is just what works for me.

We have a wet bag that all the pee diapers went into. It was just a big laundry bag made of PUL. I washed it every cycle along with the diapers, inside out so the stinky part would be sure to get clean. The poop diapers (when we were spraying them) went into a mop bucket next to the toilet. We didn't soak them. Just left them in the bucket til wash day because there was no way I was going to carry a slop bucket full of poopy diaper water down 2 flights of stairs along with a baby. I just dumped the bucket into the wet bag and dragged the whole shebang downstairs.

Good luck!!! It seems complicated, but once you get into a routine it's easy and actually kind of therapeutic to have a lovely load of clean cloth diapers at the end of it all. smile.gif
post #6 of 24

I have a front loader.  I wash all dipes--flats, prefolds, fitteds, AIOs and covers (when needed)--on 60 Celcius, full cycle.  I don't do pre-rinses or any extra rinses.  Once in a while, I'll do a "boil wash", 95 Celcius (don't know if U.S. machines have this or not).  If I do a boil wash, I don't put my AIOs or covers in.  Everything gets line dried. This is because it saves so much electricity.  I line dry all our clothes. If I want the dipes to be softer, I will throw them in to the dryer once they are nearly, but not quite, dry.  I never put my AIOs or covers in they dryer, though.  Sometimes I'll lay them in the sun to sun bleach them.  I never use chlorine bleach.  Dry pail, not wet. I find a wet pail to be too much hassle.  That's been my diaper washing routine for the last 15 years.  Super easy but it works for us!  I've still got some diapers in my collection that have diapered 4 kids over 15 years, so I guess it isn't hurting the dipes.

BTW, we use a sort of liner that can be flushed if poo sticks to it, but otherwise, can go in the washing machine if it's just peed or the poo falls off easily.  This eliminates the need for rinsing or scraping diapers or any seperate steps for heavily soiled diapers. It's a very thin material, called "Windelvlies" in German, but I have no idea what it would be called in the U.S., though I'm sure if we have it, it must be available over there, too.  It also has the added benefit of acting as a "stay-dry" liner.  They sure make the diaper washing routine a lot easier for me!


Edited by guen - 10/27/12 at 1:18pm
post #7 of 24

I've been using BG diapers since my first in 2006.

I do a cold rinse, then a LONG hot wash with an extra rinse.

I use the full detergent amount, maybe even a little more (usually all free and clear).

I found using the natural, organic powders made my diapers smell like a sewer.

We have a clothesline but it hurts me now to reach up and hang them all (I have a 20 month old in diapers) so they all go into the dryer on medium for a long cycle then low if they feel damp.

 

I have BG freetime, fuzzi bunz pockets, BG organics, flip organic prefolds, grovia, etc etc and I wash them all the same way.

 

I rely on my diaper sprayer for spraying off poop once the baby is eating solids.  no need when they are breastfed only.

 

I will say that bleach or oxy every once in a while is OK - sometimes something doesn't smell super awesome.

I do not use borax, I remember when I started people were saying it was great and it ate all the elastic in my diapers (within a year).

I still have some diapers from 2008 that are in rotation.  I think drying is the worst thing so if you can dry until just a tad damp then hang, you might make them last longer.

 

Good luck and have fun!

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by guen View Post

BTW, we use a sort of liner that can be flushed if poo sticks to it, but otherwise, can go in the washing machine if it's just peed or the poo falls off easily.  This eliminates the need for rinsing or scraping diapers or any seperate steps for heavily soiled diapers. It's a very thin material, called "Windelvlies" in German, but I have no idea what it would be called in the U.S., though I'm sure if we have it, it must be available over there, too.  It also has the added benefit of acting as a "stay-dry" liner.  They sure make the diaper washing routine a lot easier for me!

 

Oh!! That's what those things were! I had a European friend give me her cloth wipes and a couple of packages of these really thin liner looking things a couple of years ago and I had NO idea what they were! I'm sure I still have them among my baby boxes somewhere :p

 

OP - I am a big fan on using vinegar with CD. Maybe that's why I've not had much of a detergant problem..... hmmm... worth experimenting :)

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceansEve View Post

 

Oh!! That's what those things were! I had a European friend give me her cloth wipes and a couple of packages of these really thin liner looking things a couple of years ago and I had NO idea what they were! I'm sure I still have them among my baby boxes somewhere :p

 

OP - I am a big fan on using vinegar with CD. Maybe that's why I've not had much of a detergant problem..... hmmm... worth experimenting :)

 

Oh yes, pull them out!  They're fantastic! thumb.gif  One box of 100 liners will last you a very long time, if you put the ones that aren't heavily soiled (ie., just peed or most all of the poo falls off) in the washing machine. They wash up great.  They look kind of like those fabric softener dryer sheets, but I think they're thinner (I don't use dryer sheets, so not entirely sure how thick they are). There are also diaper liners on a roll, like a kitchen roll, and they have more of a soft, paper consistency.  These don't really act as stay-dry liners, nor do they survive very many washings and they shrink when they are washed. They're also smaller to start out with.  That's why Iike these "Windelvlies" ones best.

post #10 of 24

Another newbie here--thanks for all the info, everyone!

post #11 of 24

Our diapers arrived yesterday - in the washer as we speak! Crossing my fingers I'm doing this right. :) Am I correct that non-organic diapers only need to be washed once before use? They are brand new even though they're a rental.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by babychak View Post

Our diapers arrived yesterday - in the washer as we speak! Crossing my fingers I'm doing this right. :) Am I correct that non-organic diapers only need to be washed once before use? They are brand new even though they're a rental.

 

As long as they're cotton, they will still need to be washed a bazillion times! lol.gif The cotton still has residual oils that will make them non-absorbent, organic or not. 

 

Okay, maybe not a bazillion, but at least 3-4 times. And they will continue to become more absorbent the more you wash them.

post #13 of 24

Okay, I did a little research and it looks like the Grovia diapers are the only ones I got that need to be washed more than once (it says 5-6 times). Do I need to do the entire wash routine 5-6 times or just the hot wash? (I'm doing cold rinse cycle, hot wash cycle, cold rinse cycle.)

 

Thanks in advance!

post #14 of 24

I bought the GroVia newborn dipes and though I haven't prepped them yet (eek!), I was planning on just washing them on hot 5-6 times and drying them when I'm done. There is no way I'm going to wash AND dry 5-6 times!

 

I have the BG Elemantals too, and they said to wash/dry 5-6 times, but I just washed them a bunch and then dried them once at the end. It worked just fine! shrug.gif
 

post #15 of 24

Yikes, no, I definitely wouldn't wash AND dry them 5-6 times unless there is some reason I can't think of. They took long enough to dry once!!! I just did 5 hot washes and a couple extra rinse cycles, so hopefully I'm good to go.

post #16 of 24

Remember though, that newborns only pee small amounts at a time, so you needn't worry about getting maximum absorption straight away. Wash the dipes a few times before their first use, but as you wash them each time after you start using them, you'll increase their absorption as the baby starts peeing in larger amounts.  So you needn't wash them an excessive number of times before their initial use!
 

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by guen View Post

Remember though, that newborns only pee small amounts at a time, so you needn't worry about getting maximum absorption straight away. Wash the dipes a few times before their first use, but as you wash them each time after you start using them, you'll increase their absorption as the baby starts peeing in larger amounts.  So you needn't wash them an excessive number of times before their initial use!
 

 

I never even thought about that. huh. makes total sense.

post #18 of 24

Great tips here!

 

I have a mix of diapers, AIO, covers, prefolds, etc, mostly BG, all bought used but I wouldn't prewash 'em five times, I'd just wash 'em once and call it good, especially since newborns pee like a drop a diapers for weeks. I line dry everything that has velcro because it seems to last better, but, I have enough diapers don't need to reuse the same day.  I have totally dried them in the drier too.  Also, those laundry tabs don't last long on the BGs, just stick the ends together and toss it in, the fabric gets pilly looking from the velcro being used that way, but like others here, I put convienince above looks in the diaper department.  

 

Did have to strip them after using too much bleach b/c my washer was left closed too long and everything got mucky, but its not hard, just wash with vinegar. I recently decided mostly wash with vinegar and oxyclean, no bleach needed for the last couple months.  :) Cloth diapers are suprisingly simple once you get into a routine.  You'll do great.

post #19 of 24

Thanks, Guen, that is a great point- I hadn't thought of that! Makes me feel better having only washed most of them once. :)

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by fayebond View Post
 Cloth diapers are suprisingly simple once you get into a routine.  You'll do great.

 

yeahthat.gif This! It's finding the routine that works for your diapers/water/washer that is the most challenging part. Once you figure that out, it truly is gravy. orngbiggrin.gif Cloth diapers rock!

 

Maybe I have some freak babies, but my newborns seem to pee a *ton*. Soaking through clothes and blankets and everything. shrug.gif That's a big reason I love cloth, because it's more absorbent than paper sposies, IME.

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