Beginner: Tell me how to wash my cloth diapers please. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 06-17-2011, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I am brand new at cloth diapering and want to know the basics on washing them. You all are pros and I want to know what works for you. I am just starting with the sunbaby pocket diapers so they are micro fleece inner, PUL outer and micro fiber inserts. So how/what do you use to wash them? How do you dry them? And how do you strip them and how do you know when that is necessary? TIA!


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#2 of 12 Old 06-18-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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Okay. I may get shouted down for this-- I cloth diapered awhile ago, before it seems like everybody's wash routines got really complicated. But I did cloth diaper three kids, and for six months I cloth diapered all three of them at once, so I feel like I have some qualifications.

I never did anything special. I bought whatever detergent was on sale at the supermarket that week. The only one that ever gave us trouble was Tide-- DD1's skin turned red (or it might have been DD2- I can't remember now) so we avoided Tide, but we used just about everything else. I would put everything straight into the pail, off of baby's bum. If there was something solid enough to push off into the toilet I would, but otherwise the poop just went straight into a pail, which was a big rubbermaid kitchen trash can, with a bag in it.

When it was wash time, I threw everything in the washer, including the nylon bag. Ran a prewash cycle on cold, then added detergent and washed on hot. Then I took a diaper out and sniffed-- if it smelled clean, it was. If not, we washed again. Then I threw it all in the dryer on hot until it was dry. No fabric softener, since it has a waterproofing effect. I used prefolds, flats, fitteds, pocket diapers, all kinds of covers, all-in-ones, and I washed them all the same. They all did fine.

I never stripped. I did use Dawn and a toothbrush on one of my pocket diapers once, when MIL put Destitin on DD1-- diaper rash creams can make diapers waterproof, which is the LAST thing you want. I also once boiled all my diapers, when DD2 had a yeast rash, to kill the yeast. Those were our only issues.

It really doesn't have to be complicated.

FWIW, I had a big top loading machine, and city water. People with high-efficiency washers, or very hard or soft well water, seem to have more trouble than I did.

I never found that the "natural" detergents worked very well. My diapers didn't get as clean, and the mainstream detergents never hurt my diapers any.

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#3 of 12 Old 06-20-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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We used prefolds and covers with few pockets thrown in.  We shook off any solids we could and then put the diapers in a nylon bag in a pail.  On wash day we would put everything in the washer, use 1/2 the amount of detergent suggested on the bottle (we used All free and clear liquid for the most part) and ran a cold prewash, hot wash and an extra rinse with the water plus setting on our LG front loader.  Once a month or so I would do a sanitary cycle in place of the hot wash just to make sure the diapers were buildup free.  

 

We never had any problems with buildup, stink or repelling, despite our non orthodox routine.


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#4 of 12 Old 06-20-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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I have a similar wasing routine as this, top loader too, never have really stripped in over two years. I do add vinegar to the fabric softener spot and do an extra rinse at the end every time (maybe why I've never had to strip?). Also dump solid poop but leave breastmilk poop.  Did NOT like my recent use of Target's Free & Clear so I went back to Purex Free & Clear which I've used otherwise for the last two years. I have two in diapers now. I would line dry your pockets to preserve the elastic longer, esp if you want to use them for more than one child.  I line dry all covers and pockets.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post

Okay. I may get shouted down for this-- I cloth diapered awhile ago, before it seems like everybody's wash routines got really complicated. But I did cloth diaper three kids, and for six months I cloth diapered all three of them at once, so I feel like I have some qualifications.

I never did anything special. I bought whatever detergent was on sale at the supermarket that week. The only one that ever gave us trouble was Tide-- DD1's skin turned red (or it might have been DD2- I can't remember now) so we avoided Tide, but we used just about everything else. I would put everything straight into the pail, off of baby's bum. If there was something solid enough to push off into the toilet I would, but otherwise the poop just went straight into a pail, which was a big rubbermaid kitchen trash can, with a bag in it.

When it was wash time, I threw everything in the washer, including the nylon bag. Ran a prewash cycle on cold, then added detergent and washed on hot. Then I took a diaper out and sniffed-- if it smelled clean, it was. If not, we washed again. Then I threw it all in the dryer on hot until it was dry. No fabric softener, since it has a waterproofing effect. I used prefolds, flats, fitteds, pocket diapers, all kinds of covers, all-in-ones, and I washed them all the same. They all did fine.

I never stripped. I did use Dawn and a toothbrush on one of my pocket diapers once, when MIL put Destitin on DD1-- diaper rash creams can make diapers waterproof, which is the LAST thing you want. I also once boiled all my diapers, when DD2 had a yeast rash, to kill the yeast. Those were our only issues.

It really doesn't have to be complicated.

FWIW, I had a big top loading machine, and city water. People with high-efficiency washers, or very hard or soft well water, seem to have more trouble than I did.

I never found that the "natural" detergents worked very well. My diapers didn't get as clean, and the mainstream detergents never hurt my diapers any.


 


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#5 of 12 Old 06-21-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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. I would line dry your pockets to preserve the elastic longer, esp if you want to use them for more than one child.  I line dry all covers and pockets.
 

 

I didn't do this. But I'll agree that it will help the covers and pockets last longer-- my Fuzzi Bunz (old style) and my covers survived my wash routine just fine, through three kids, and got passed down to another family. But my Bum Genius (they were 2.0s) and my Sposo-Easy AIOs didn't make it-- the elastic gave out a few months before my last child toilet-trained. Now, they'd been washed nearly every single day for some five years, but I suspect they might have survived to be resold, if I hadn't dried them so frequently.

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#6 of 12 Old 06-21-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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i use special soap (Planet) b/c that's what was recommended.  dd is 19 mos and i've never stripped them.  or line dried them (i'm super busy and work ft).. and i wash and dry with high heat.  occasionally i use vinegar or use oxyclean or pull out the inserts (never the PUL) and use a sanitize cycle. 

don't use fabric softner and if you use any kind of ointment or cream, use a diaper liner. 

when dd was newborn/ebf i didn't rinse the poo off.  now that she's older, it usually falls off in the toilet but i do have a sprayer. 

i don't soak.  i wash every couple of days/when i'm low/if it smells. 

it's been super easy, we'll use the same diapers again with the next babe. 

 

you might think about stripping them if they stop working correctly.  it will either be that they need stripping or that you need to add another little something into your pocket.  you will also want to stuff them more at night or for naps.  i bought some doubler/soakers for that purpose.  there are lots of good ones.


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#7 of 12 Old 06-21-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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It's been a few years since I needed cloth diapers, but when I was using them. I used mostly prefolds and flats.  I would rinse them in cold, wash on hot with 1/2 the detergent recommended.  Double rinse and throw them in the dryer on high or hang them outside.  If I was having problems with smell, I'd bleach them.  I know that's generally considered a no  no, but a bit of judicious bleach never hurt them.


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#8 of 12 Old 06-21-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pynki View Post

It's been a few years since I needed cloth diapers, but when I was using them. I used mostly prefolds and flats.  I would rinse them in cold, wash on hot with 1/2 the detergent recommended.  Double rinse and throw them in the dryer on high or hang them outside.  If I was having problems with smell, I'd bleach them.  I know that's generally considered a no  no, but a bit of judicious bleach never hurt them.


I forgot about bleach. I, also have used bleach on a few occasions-- maybe twice, or three times? Bleach, used on a regular basis, is not good for the diapers. It can increase wear. Bleach is also not the wisest environmental choice. But bleach is certainly preferable, in my opinion, to enduring stink and rash and repelling.

I know for sure I used it when DD had c.diff. And I used it with the yeast, not the first time, when I boiled, but later. And I occasionally bleach my kiddos' bedwetting protection pants, when they start to get a little stinky.

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#9 of 12 Old 06-21-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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We keep it fairly simple. If we ever get issues, I figure I can adjust the routine then.

 

We have a fairly new HE front loader and our stash is a mix of PUL covers, pockets with microfiber inserts, cotton and bamboo prefolds, and hemp fitteds. I use a detergent called Lulu's in the Fluff, which is specifically for cloth diapers. At six months, the bag is still more than halfway full.

 

The wash routine: Dump everything in the washer, making sure pockets are unstuffed, velcro is folded over, etc. I'll pre-rinse any horrid poops in the utility sink, but 95% of the stuff (including the bag) goes right into the wash.

 

Pre-soak and rinse on cold. Add detergent. Wash on hot. Sometimes I'll add an extra rinse if I feel like that load was particularly nasty.

 

We don't own a dryer, so everything gets hung inside on an IKEA rack if it's wet out or below freezing, or out on the line if it's dry and warm enough. The sun does wonders for keeping stuff clean, and the UV has the bonus of being a pretty effective disinfectant. 

 

 



 
 
 
 

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#10 of 12 Old 07-10-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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Do you all dry pail?  I used cloth nappies with DD1 and used a wet pail system - I put the nappies (Easy Peasy Nappies, a one-size) but not the wraps into a mesh bag in a bucket filled with water and a little bit of white vinegar to soak them.  Every two days I would empty out the bucket, put the bag in the washing machine with the wraps and do a normal wash cycle.  I can't remember how I got the bf poo off, I think I used liners.

 

Now with DD2 (6 weeks old) I've just started again with the cloth nappies, but the wet pailing system seems like such a hassle now I've got two kids, all that emptying out of the bucket into the toilet and then cleaning up the inevitable drips.  I'm sure I'd read though that doing a vinegar soak helped to sanitize the nappies, which is why I did it the first time.  Also I think it stops the stains setting on the nappies?  And I imagine that doing a pre-wash in the machine uses a lot more water than soaking the nappies in a bucket, which cuts down some of the environmental credentials of cloth nappying.  Do you find that dry pailing works just as well?

 

Also if you don't rinse of bf-poo nappies before putting them in the machine, don't you worry about the poo floating around in the machine?

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#11 of 12 Old 07-12-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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I pretty much do the same as PP mentioned. 

 

1- store them in a bag (an old tote bag w a zipper) 

 

2- throw the whole thing in the wash on a cold/cold run

 

3- let it soak... sometimes overnight sometimes not, depending on how desperate I am for clean dipes

 

4- add detergent (homemade: ivory soap, washing soda, borax), extra borax powder, baking soda, vinegar in a Downy ball and run hot/cold

 

5- air dry (to save $ on electricity) **

 

6- run for about 10 minutes in the dryer to soften a bit

 

 

** And if you have stains the sun WILL bleach them out! I didn't believe it before I did it myself and it really does work!!


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#12 of 12 Old 08-19-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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I read this thread, afraid I was going to hear that I have been doing it all wrong!

Luckily, I seem to wash much the same way you all do. Dry pail, shake off loose poo, but dont worry about it. Double rinse, wash hot, bleach when needed, vinegar. Line dry when possible. 


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