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Family cloth without hot water? Is it reasonable?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We currently use family cloth (well, most of the family does most of the time...) and I use cloth menstrual pads and cloth kitchen wipes and cloth handkerchiefs, etc. We are not going to be able to use our hot water heater for an extended period of time, but I'd be so sad to switch to disposable products.

I thought of posting this in the frugality forum, but I thought it better suited here since it seems many here have had experience with rustic or non-mainstream living conditions. We are electing not to refill our oil tank until the winter, and not to use any oil unless it cannot be avoided. Our hot water heater and home heating system are oil-fueled.

We will be able to use our washer (on cold) and dryer (on hot), and I currently dry these things in the dryer on hot. I wonder if it's possible that the dryer would sanitize them. I worry in particular about the theoretical possibility of parasite transmission within the family (pinworms) if we are not washing underwear, sheets, towels, etc. on hot. Not that I currently suspect we have pinworms, but with four kids it happens sometimes and I guess it's just the thing I'm fixating on.

Can anyone speak from experience in this area? Have you found a way to sanitize machine-washed laundry without hot water (or chlorine bleach)?

I suppose another possibility would be to heat water on the stove and add it to my washer as the washer fills. I have a front-loader and I'm not sure how this would work. Until now I have typically washed "yuckies" on hot with a scoop of oxygen bleach, which doesn't work in cold water.

I'd love to hear any perspective other than "you're crazy for even considering it." LOL! I would really hate to have to give up our reusable cloth products.
post #2 of 11
In that situation I would cold soak them first (so you don´t "set" any stains), then boil them for a few minutes before putting them into a normal cold wash. Nothing is gonna survive that!
post #3 of 11
I don't know if you have thought about it, but there are different non-disposable products available. I use the diva cup. You just wash it with soap and water in the sink. It is also easy to use. It is so handy and so convenient. I won't use anything else! try googling. If you have a whole foods market nearby they sell them. But I bought mine on the internet.
All you need is one, they last for years.

I hope this helps.
post #4 of 11
I washed our cloth diapers and everything else on cold water for about a year until we had hot water hooked up and no one got sick from it. Although, we don't have four kids! Sun is a very effective anti-microbial disinfectant. I would dry your stuff in the sun! And call it good.

Oh, and I can vouch for the Diva cup, it rocks!
post #5 of 11
Could you use bac out on a cold wash and then do a quick boil on the stove? I think that would be worth a shot- that is how I do my diapers- bac out on cold and a hot wash.
post #6 of 11
We have access to hot water but I have never washed my dipes with hot. Cold always, for everything. My dipes are fine.

We do not use bleach. We use Charlies Soap right now. I line dry, even in the winter.

(FWIW we have used FuzziBunz, BabyKangas, BumGenius, prefolds, various soakers, Kissaluvs, ImseVimse trainers)
post #7 of 11
i would dry in the sun and just make sure to scrub to pretreat before washing
post #8 of 11
I usaully always wash my cloth diapers, luna pads in cold. I just want to save heat/oil, it works just fine, I use biokleen and dry on med/warm, or line dry. I never do a pre wash or anything, it works out fine! I have very few stains. I think it is very doable.
post #9 of 11
I rarely use hot water to wash and we use family cloth and cloth diaper.
As for oxygen bleach, I run a little cold water in the washer and swish it with a spoon, add more water, then clothes. It works fine. Or if your want, you could heat some water on the stove just to warm and dissolve the O2 bleach and then add to the washer. I've just never found it necessary.
You can also add tea tree oil to some vinegar and use it in a downey ball.
HTH!
post #10 of 11
Actually, sometime ago there was a link posted in the diapering forum w/ an article about how hot water doesn't actually kill the "yuckies", it's the hanging out in the sun OR the heat from the dryer. So, based on that, I would think that you'd be fine washing everything in cold if you're drying in the dryer or in full sun. Lemme see if I can find something about it...
post #11 of 11
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