Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Washing your Cloth Diapers

I remember being SO excited when my first cloth diapers came. I was also SO mortified that I was about to destroy them by choosing the wrong wash routine.

Like many new cloth diaper moms, I spent hours upon hours researching cloth diapers and talking about them on Diaper Swappers. I had bookmarked at least 15 different wash routines but they were all just that--different. I was afraid to put a cloth diaper on Monkey because I didn't know what to do once it was soiled.

I think it took me a week to finally buck up, let her pee and poop in them, and then put them through their first true wash cycle.

I learned a few things and have tweaked my cloth diaper washing routine two or three times since starting.

Many of you who read this blog are cloth diaper moms--if so, I'd LOVE to hear your wash routine

Many of you are not cloth diaper moms because you are afraid of the wash routine--if so, list your questions or concerns and we'll try to answer them!

and, many of you are just not in a diapering stage right now (lucky you!) so you can ignore this post :-o

I thought about taking pictures for this tutorial but basically you'd just see a pile of diapers in a washing machine for every stage...which isn't too exciting. So, here goes my Tutorial Tuesday, sans pics!
  1. I like to SOAK my diapers for a good long while.
  2. I typically wash my diapers every three days.
  3. I keep them in a wet bag for two days and then, on the third day, dump them in the washing machine with COLD water and 1 tsp of Jenny's Simply Clean (JSC) Detergent. I've tried LOTS of detergent but Jenny's Simply Clean is my fave. I don't mind Tiny Bubbles-- it does about the same job as JSC--but I love the scents that JSC comes in!
  4. I start the Pre-Wash cycle which allows my diapers + detergent to agitate in the water and then just sit and soak
  5. As Monkey goes through her diapers on the third day, I'll add them to the wash and swish them into the water so that they can soak, too.
  6. I like to wait until she is down for bed before I start washing them. That way, I can wash nearly all of her diapers at once and just have one dirty one in the morning (her nighttime dipe!)
  7. When all the diapers are soaking in the pre-wash, I start boiling a BIG POT of water (4-6 gallons) on the stove and also get my hot water kettle ready to boil (1.7 L). I think my washing machine gets hot but I like it to get REALLY HOT to sanitize the diapers
  8. While the water is boiling, I finish the Pre-Soak which basically just agitates the diapers + detergent for a bit longer. (Soaking and spinning your diapers in cold water before washing ensures that most of the yucky bits stuck on the diapers are gone by the time you start really washing them)
  9. Once the water is boiling and the diapers are finished with their pre-wash, start a HOT/COLD cycle (I like to put it on the longest agitation setting just to get it good and clean!) and add 1 tsp of Jenny's Simply Clean in the washing machine.
  10. While the hot water is filling the washer, USE EXTREME CAUTION and add the boiling water into the washing basin.
  11. Sit back and let the washing machine do its thing.
  12. Once the basic wash is finished, run one or two more extra rinses, using COLD water. Even though we used just a small amount of detergent, you want to ensure that there is no detergent residue left on the diapers!
  13. Since we live in an apartment and never have the option of sun-drying our dipes, I just hang the covers (we use mainly pockets--I don't like drying anything with PUL) over our kitchen chairs and throw the inserts into the dryer on High Heat (another sanitizing step!). If you do have the option of sun-drying your diapers, perhaps doing a wash during the day is better for you!
That's it! By the time I wake up in the morning, the diapers and inserts are dry and ready to be stuffed and worn for the next three days!

PS, Kelly, from Our Lincoln Log, and my co-Tutorial Tuesday wonder-mom, recently started her own online cloth-diaper store business! You can visit her store, "Baby, Naturally LLC" and order lots of great diapers and even the Jenny's Simply Clean detergent I talked about!

Additionally, Kelly is vying for recognition through the program "Shine a Light" which shines a light on small-business, community-run companies. Check her store out here and consider endorsing her! She needs 50 endorsements just to be considered...

7 people think...:

Kelly said...

Awww. You are too sweet : ) Really, thank you for the great plug! I actually have a tutorial in the works for today, too (shocking, I know!). It will have to wait until Lucas gets home so I can get it finished, but as long as it's up by midnight, I'll be happy!

Talia's Travel Blog said...

I love that you waited to use your cloth diapers until you'd found the perfect wash cycle! We started in cloth diapers, but I waited to break out my beloved BumGenius until I'd bought better detergent.

Sadly, there is no cloth-diaper-safe detergent over here (all 3 moms I know who cloth diaper import their detergent), only front-loading machines which can't be opened mid-cycle and no dryers at all. I wouldn't say my diapers (bumgenius and also wonderoos now) are quite as delicious-smelling as in the U.S., but they seem to be holding up well. I have started using the delicate cycle to wash them because the "normal" cycle is so rough on clothing, and that easily adds 1-2 days to our drying time. Thank goodness our stash is up to 40+ diapers (most acquired used).

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

great post! I was just like you, SO nervous to wash my diapers for the first time. i totally thought I would ruin them! Is that even possible? :)

Julia said...

Wow, you make me feel like a SLACKER!!! Here's what I do for our Gro Baby CD's:

1.) Wash every 2-3 days, depending on how many A. went through (some days he doesn't poo or pee as much). Store them in a wet bag until wash time. Sometimes on wash day I'll just throw a disposable on him so that I can get them all clean at once. We still have soooo many bags and boxes of disposables around here and I can't think to give them away just yet.

2.) Put the inserts and boosters in the washing machine (with the shells) on the HOT cycle.

3.) Wash once with 1/2 scoop of Jenny's or Tiny Bubbles (whatever I'm in the mood for).

4.) Hang the shells to dry. Occasionally I will sun bleach the inserts and boosters, depending on if it's sunny when I wash. If it's not, then I just dry them (sometimes it takes 2 drying cycles).

That's it. Totally a SLACKER!!!

Tally said...

I LOVE YOUR blog!! I still have lots to learn!!!

Amy said...

We love our cloth diapers! Charlie used Kissas when he was a newborn, and now we're on to BumGenius. I have a front-loading washer and find it pretty easy.

I was diapers every 2-3 days. When I have a dirty diaper, I pull out the liners, fasten my velcro tabs, and toss them straight into a lined trash can.

I have a front loading LG washer, so there is no starting and stopping for me. I run a pre-wash, a higher soil setting, hot/cold wash, and a rinse. It takes about an hour and a half. Then I toss them in the dryer and I'm done!

I use Crunch Clean detergent (ordered off their Etsy site) and LOVE both the regular and diaper formulas. It is excellent and there are so many awesome scents!

I have never had a problem with diaper rash, stains, smells, or anything else from washing. My water is nice and hot in the rest of my house, so I don't worry too much about it, especially since we haven't had any problems!

I love cloth...we rarely have leaks and they are so cute!


Anonymous said...

I use Bum Genius dipes. I live in a condo with shared laundry facilities. I try to use the machine I know doesn't get much softeners in it. I can tell by looking in the machine or by smelling the machine. My building has high efficiency machines, so I can't open mid. cycle...this is how I do it on shared machines. I run one cycle of whites on hot before my dipes to clean out the machine a little of any residues.
Then I put my dipes in and do a cycle on cold, using the recommended amount of detergent. I use Restore. I would be more picky about my detergent, but using shared machines...it really doesn't matter and the detergent would just be cleaning the machine and not my dipes. Though I think Restore does a really good job. I also like to spray my dipes with bac-out (esp. the poopies after I spray them out and throw them in my wet bag) this helps cut down on the diaper smell a lot!!! Then I take all the dipes out straighten them and make sure there aren't any "chains". Put them back in, and run a hot cycle with about 1/2 the recommended detergent. I have in the past even put a little vinegar the bleach section of the machine...but I don't do this often. I usually hang them up...but I have been in a time crunch and have found the delicate cycle works great for drying the BG's.