Any tips for hand washing and drying cloth diapers?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi fellow cloth diaper users,

 

I decided to start using cloth...i have been for the past week and am SO happy with the change, not sure what took me so long! The big explosion in the China diaper factory really motivated me. Anywhoo.....anyone have luck keeping their cloth prefolds sanitary with hand washing in the bathtub? We have limited access to the washer and dryer, it is shared among the building and we have only one day a week of use. I am thinking it would be easier to hand wash and dry the diapers with mild detergent and tea tree oil to dinsinfect, and then hand to dry. Any suggestions??? Thanks


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#2 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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I've handwashed occasionally, so my advice is:

 

-if you need to buy any more diapers, buy flats, they are the easiest to get clean, and the fastest to dry.  If they seem thin, just remember, you can use two or three, or more at once.

-don't try to do the entire wash cycle in one go, there are a couple of steps where leaving them soaking in a bucket (sitting in the bathtub) and just giving it a poke whenever you get a chance is far more efficient than working your butt off agitating them.

-if you can find a way to wring them out, such as a heavy duty mop bucket, or a real clothes wringer, or whatever, your hands will thank you

-if you can fit a washing machine of some sort into your apartment, do it, even if it's something that takes a bit of work, like a twin tub.  And if you go washer shopping, remember that the better the spin cycle, the faster the diapers will dry, and I also think they get cleaner when more of the dirty water gets spun out.
 

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#3 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post

I've handwashed occasionally, so my advice is:

 

-if you need to buy any more diapers, buy flats, they are the easiest to get clean, and the fastest to dry.  If they seem thin, just remember, you can use two or three, or more at once.

-don't try to do the entire wash cycle in one go, there are a couple of steps where leaving them soaking in a bucket (sitting in the bathtub) and just giving it a poke whenever you get a chance is far more efficient than working your butt off agitating them.

-if you can find a way to wring them out, such as a heavy duty mop bucket, or a real clothes wringer, or whatever, your hands will thank you

-if you can fit a washing machine of some sort into your apartment, do it, even if it's something that takes a bit of work, like a twin tub.  And if you go washer shopping, remember that the better the spin cycle, the faster the diapers will dry, and I also think they get cleaner when more of the dirty water gets spun out.
 


Thanks for the advice on the "leaving them in the tub" and not work my butt off. We have the luxury of having two bathrooms both with tubs, wo I can dedicate one bathroom to the diapers and the kids and the rest of us can use the main bathroom to shower and bathe.


Me, slinggirl.gif mama to 1.5 yr old kid.gifDS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut censored.gif. We are unschooling! mdcblog5.gif http://twocoolfourschool.wordpress.com/

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#4 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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I would also suggest using a diaper sprayer to spray out as much of the solids as possible before they go in the bucket, and consider rice paper liners to catch some of the poop to make cleaning easier.

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#5 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 05:11 PM
 
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Hi, we handwashed  & line dried diapers (prefolds & covers) for about six or seven months.  We had a two-bucket system:  one bucket of soapy water for poo, one for pee dipes.  We sometimes put a little bit of disinfecting stuff in with the soap (we used an Indian thing that my DH swears by, but you could go with tea tree oil or bleach or whatever).  They soaked in the buckets till we were ready to wash, then we scrubbed them in the bathtub.  Pee dipes got wrung out and rinsed & wrung twice.  Poo dipes got scrubbed with a hard-bristled brush (it was a clothes-washing brush from India, but think "heavy-duty dog brush" or "curry comb") and a lot of hot soapy water, and rinsed & wrung twice.  That seemed to get everything quite clean.  Once in a while we'd go to the laundromat and wash them in super hot water with bleach, just because I'm a freak (I worked in a microbiology lab...) but it wasn't really necessary.

 

EBF diapers cleaned up pretty well, but I'm glad we moved to a place with a washer during the transition time when DD was starting to eat solids.  She had a few months of really supremely nasty gooey poos then before she achieved relatively firm toddler poo that I could just scrape off into the toilet.  Those really nasty poos I scrubbed out in the toilet immediately to get rid of solids, then plopped in the soap bucket to soap--it worked okay.  But it was really icky.

 

I think the moral of the story is to soak all your diapers in soapy (laundry detergent-y) water immediately to do as much pre-cleaning as possible.  Also, separating the poos and the pees will make it go sooooooo much faster.  Good luck!
 


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#6 of 10 Old 10-24-2012, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Chose2Reuse,

 

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. So far my system is this. Leave water in bathtub with castile soap and a bit of tea tree oil. We are trying to do some EC as well, and are able to catch most poops....and he actually has pretty "solid" poops, so those I don't catch will get flushed in the toilet and then thrown into the tub too......I do have acess to a real washer and dryer once, maybe twice a week, so once a week all the diapers should get a really good hot water wash and dry. I hate the thought of bleach....do you think vinegar would work well in the wash cycle?

 

Thanks again!
 


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#7 of 10 Old 11-02-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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Sorry I didn't see this earlier...  I'd go ahead and try vinegar if you like, I wouldn't imagine there would be any problem as long as it all washes out, though I'm not sure it'll do you a lot of good.  I don't think it's strong enough to kill much (if you're worried about lingering bacteria & viruses), but if you have problems with smells it might help strip the diapers.  You could also just use detergent and leave out any additives unless you need them--really, it should be fine.  It's not like dipes need to be sterile!  Our DD got diaper rash so we worried about leftover bacteria--hence the very occasional bleach.   Your system sounds pretty good to me--good luck and I hope it works out for you!  I love our cloth diapers and I'm always happy to see somebody else using them too. :)


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#8 of 10 Old 11-03-2012, 04:30 PM
 
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Speaking of China(!) when we were in China years ago, we hand-washed for a couple of weeks each time, and all I did was to hand-wash the diapers in the sink right after taking them off of her, and hung them up in the bathroom using those octopus looking things w/ the little clips to hold them up.  I was using flats instead of prefolds, so not sure how long prefolds would take to dry, but with the flats they were dry within a couple hours and ready to use again.  I did use liners to minimize the amount of poop that got on the diapers.  I just took 2 liners and put them sideways across the diaper, in an overlapping way, so I don't remember ever getting any poop on anything, even though it looked a little funny having the liners hanging out the sides doing it that way.  I used wool covers so I just air-dried those each time also and didn't wash them.
 

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#9 of 10 Old 11-03-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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Oh, and I forgot to mention, I did notice since we washed the diapers right after use, I just used a tiny dab of dish-soap or something in the sink with them and then rinsed really well.  I loved doing it that way so much that I wanted to continue with it when we got home, but then got super busy at home and would just put diapers in a wet bag for machine-washing.  It seemed so easy while we were in China, but when I got home I was easily spoiled again by having a machine to throw things into.

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#10 of 10 Old 11-03-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Choose2Reuse View Post

Sorry I didn't see this earlier...  I'd go ahead and try vinegar if you like, I wouldn't imagine there would be any problem as long as it all washes out, though I'm not sure it'll do you a lot of good.  I don't think it's strong enough to kill much (if you're worried about lingering bacteria & viruses), but if you have problems with smells it might help strip the diapers.  You could also just use detergent and leave out any additives unless you need them--really, it should be fine.  It's not like dipes need to be sterile!  Our DD got diaper rash so we worried about leftover bacteria--hence the very occasional bleach.   Your system sounds pretty good to me--good luck and I hope it works out for you!  I love our cloth diapers and I'm always happy to see somebody else using them too. :)


Thanks for your post! I almost gave up and went back to our 7th gen, but then I go the hang of it and doing better more absorbant folds and I am totally soled on it! Lucikly DS doesn't get diaper rash, so I am not super worried about the bacteria.....I think I will stick with the tea tree oil in the soaking water, and then hand wash as needed. We are also lucky and CAN wash them weekly in hot water and detergent! Thanks again!


Me, slinggirl.gif mama to 1.5 yr old kid.gifDS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut censored.gif. We are unschooling! mdcblog5.gif http://twocoolfourschool.wordpress.com/

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