I hate to be that mom who starts new threads instead of reading back, but between the cloth diapers forum on reddit, reading old threads here and all the resources google has given me I AM SO CONFUSED. As a preface, we are pretty poor, live in a small apartment with no patio or outside area that is ours in a slum downtown (so no hanging to dry outside) and as a result of having no washer or dryer in the unit (and the high prices of using a laundromat), I handwash all of our cloth diapers and then hang them to dry in the house on hangers. The dry air in our apartment thanks to using the oven and space heaters for heat (no central air or heat) helps the covers dry in a couple of hours and the prefolds usually dry overnight. I haven't had any problems with mildew as of yet.
Also, keep in mind DH works full-time about 45 minutes away and I've recently switched jobs and have been off for a few weeks but start at my new job later this month. Also, I'm starting school again in mid-January, so we're going to be, er, a little busy.
1) If they were my prefolds/covers, I would be less worried about stains, but these are all on loan from Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and they came to us in nearly pristine condition, most of them clearly never before used. Right now when she poops, I change DD, then have to set her down so I can immediately spend 10 minutes or so cold-rinsing out the actual poop from the prefold fabric. (She's ebf and 3 months old, so I can't exactly call it solids.) Then I throw it in a big bucket that DH brought home from work, shake some baking soda and lemon over it. I have around 6 covers and 12 diapers and I do laundry almost every day because every time she poops, it's a horrible cloth diaper poopsplosion that gets all over the cover. I use ECOS Free and Clear because I've read that you shouldn't use anything with optical whiteners, enzymes, fragrances or fabric softeners on cloth diapers. When I can afford it, I do a bathtub wash-cycle with tea tree oil before the cycle with the ECOS. I like Rockin' Green better but the only local retailers are only open twice a week and I can't drive, so I have to wait for DH to have a day off work. I've been able to get rid of a lot of the staining, but I still feel bad because some of the really nice covers and several of the prefolds are very stained. I read that you can't use bleach on prefolds, either... WWYD? Anyone BTDT?
2) DD is on the thinner side of average except for her really chubby thighs and chubby butt (like me :P) - I read on this forum that newspaper fold is better for big-thighed babies, but I feel like we have even more leaking with that one. When we can, I'm going to build on a stash - is there a better setup than prefolds and covers as far as the fit for her? What about leaking?
3) When the disposable wipes we were given by relatives before she was born run out, I'm planning to switch to cloth wipes, but will I have to do the same run-to-sink routine with them as I do with the prefolds? What is your cloth diaper routine like/do you think it's worth it?
4) I usually soak my diapers for about 45 minutes on each cycle of the handwash (first cycle: hot water/baking soda on stained areas/TTO when I can afford it, second cycle: ECOS, third cycle: quick water rinse and ringing them out by hand) because it was recommended on one forum but while searching this forum I read that's bad. Why is it bad and what can I do instead?
Thanks in advance, I love all of you mamas and your infinite wisdom!