do you disinfect your diapers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-16-2010, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I was just researching detergents b/c I want to switch to a clean-rinsing one (probably Charlie's). Their website (and another one that I can't remember) mentioned that detergents do not disinfect and one should do so when washing cloth diapers. Does anyone do that? What do you use?

Bleach comes to mind first when I think of disinfecting, but I know that's not great for CDs. Does washing in hot water disinfect?

Any suggestions/advice would be great!

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#2 of 8 Old 07-16-2010, 09:20 AM
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Well, here is what I do, and I think one of the steps is disinfecting, if not more than one: I do a hot/cold cycle with an extra rinse. a tiny amount of detergent (I use Purex all natural) with a scoop of Borax, and a mix of vinegar, water, and tea tree oil in the compartment where I normally would put fabric softener. I believe the tea tree oil disinfects, or at least is antimicrobial. You only need a couple drops.

I have nothing against bleach, per se, but if I can get away with not using it, then I do. If I am having major stain issues that won't sun out, I add a bit of oxyclean free.

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#3 of 8 Old 07-16-2010, 12:21 PM
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I think bleaching and boiling are the only proven ways to disinfect diapers. Bleaching is bad for fabrics (not to mention skin) and boiling only works with diapers that don't have fasteners or elastics. I think the detergent manufacturers say this to cover their a$$ if customers complain the diapers aren't getting clean enough.

I have bleached and boiled diapers in the past, but it's not something I do on a regular basis. Prerinsing, using hot water and detergent, and extra rinsing seems to get them clean enough. Sunning helps a LOT, too!

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#4 of 8 Old 07-16-2010, 04:08 PM
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I use a homemade detergent with borax, washing soda and vinegar and I also just do hot/cold cycle with extra rinse. I figure nothing disinfects as well as good old fashioned hot water. My cotton diapers are working well and none of us are sick, so I guess everything must be OK.

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#5 of 8 Old 07-18-2010, 07:52 AM
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Once a week I do a small capfull of beach into the water on the cold prewash, then I use deterg (tide) and do a hot wash/cold rinse/cold rinse. Sometimes I throw some vinegar into the rinse.

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#6 of 8 Old 07-18-2010, 09:22 AM
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I remember this being discussed years ago on DiaperSwappers. As I recall, the conclusion was that Charlie's says that because they know many people are likely to want to use their detergent for diapers, and they don't want to be caught up in any liability were there to ever be a problem.

No, I do not disinfect diapers. Never have, unless you count the monthly bleaching of microfiber inserts that I do to freshen things up.

But, I also don't use Charlie's. I actually very recently stopped using Charlie's on our regular laundry because, frankly, it wasn't getting them clean. I wouldn't use it on diapers. I wash diapers in original Tide and have been very happy with that.
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#7 of 8 Old 07-18-2010, 04:12 PM
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I don't purposefully disinfect my diapers. I may have used bleach twice (?) if something was particularly foul or to freshen up.

The thing is, the hot water in the hot water wash is not hot enough to kill anything. Most "bugs" (germs, etc) thrive at 98.6 degrees, which is why they like us. Most people have their thermostat on the hot water heater set @ 120 degrees, which is good, because it helps prevent burns. But, it's def not hot enough to really kill anything in the wash. Only boiling water does that. I still wash my diapers in hot water. Either because of habit or I feel like the diapers get cleaner.

The dryer, however, will get hot enough to kill things. That's where my "incidental" disinfection comes in. Also, hanging dipes out in the sun will disinfect.

Bleach will certainly disinfect, but it's very wearing on fabrics, and I would not do it often (like I said, I've done it maybe 2 times in 6 months).

Many people may be sensitive to bleach, but diluted in the wash with 2 rinses should remove any residue. (Did you know that there is a wound rinse called Dakins solution made from bleach? I've used it on patients before. You pour it all over the wound, or make a packing soaked with Dakins. I was really surprised the first time I used it, but it really does help with certain types of wounds, like certain burns.)

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#8 of 8 Old 07-19-2010, 03:44 AM
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I wash in very hot water (95 C / 205 F which is hot enough to kill a significant amount bacteria). I also use borax, which is an anti-fungal. To do significantly better at disinfecting our diapers I'd need an autoclave.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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