Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are Cloth Diapers Hard to Wash? How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Are cloth diapers hard to wash?

Umm...... they don't have to be. Cloth diaper laundry can be quite easy to do. Diapers don't require extensive folding so for the most part cloth diaper laundry consists of tossing your baby's diapers in the machine and programming the wash you want.

To start with, and to keep it simple, here are some basic diaper washing steps.

1.)When your baby is ready for a diaper change, shake any loose solids off the diaper or use a diaper sprayer to rinse the diaper, and then toss the diaper into either a diaper pail with a lid or a wet bag. Note that if your baby is breastfed and hasn't started solid food, the baby poop will be water soluble and will rinse away in the wash does not need to be rinsed first.

2.) When it's laundry time, toss your diapers into the wash. Make that if you use pocket diapers, you take the insert out of the pocket before washing. If using pockets or covers with Aplix tabs, fold the tabs back so that your diapers with Velcro will not stick to each other during wash or gather laundry fluff in the wash.

3.) Do a cold wash with the recommend detergent amount to clean the diapers and prevent stains.

4.) Do a hot wash to cleanse the diapers.

5.) Do an extra rinse if required. Diapers should come out of the wash without any odour, including detergent odour.

6.) Line dry or machine dry.

See this link to the Real Diaper Industry Association's Cloth Diaper Washing Instructions for detergent recommendations.

Cloth diaper laundering begins when your new diapers first arrive in your home. As a general rule, it is recommended that most diapers be washed prior to use. Most diapers can just be washed and dried once and are ready to use. Exceptions to this rule include some diapers with a PUL outside and also prefolds. Diapers with PUL will sometimes work better after being dried on HOT once to 'seal' the PUL fabric on your diaper and keep that layer waterproof. Prefold diapers actually start off looking quite flat and thin and after a few washes will poof up and become more thick and absorbent. Prefolds often require 4 - 6 wash and dry cycles before they reach their full absorbency. You can start using the prefolds after just a few washes and then add more initial washes if required.

Should you wash all of your cloth diapers together or separate certain types of diapers? For the most part, different styles and brands of diapers can be washed together AFTER any special first washes have been done. Some types of prefold diapers and hemp products can release oil during the first few washes and should only be washed and dried with the same type of diaper for the first few washes. After that, it is generally safe to wash the diapers together. If you have a large quantity of diapers and are doing multiple loads of diaper laundry, go ahead and sort by diaper type at wash time. Wash all of the inserts in one load and the covers or pockets in another load.

The following info is direct from the washing instruction link that I posted above.

How Much Detergent?

When washing diapers,start by using 1/2 the detergent manufacturer's suggested amount. To determine the right amount, read the label and then carefully measure.

High Efficiency Considerations

Use an HE detergent. Set water levels to high to be sure that diapers are cleaned and rinsed properly. If the weight of the load determines the water level, put a wet towel in with diapers to increase the weight of the load.

Ingredients to Avoid

Natural soaps
Fabric Enhancers
Optical Brighteners

Will cloth diapers create extra work for you? Using cloth diapers will create a few extra loads of laundry per week but that doesn't mean it has to make your life harder. There are a few tricks and tips you can use to make cloth diaper laundry easier.

1.) Our first tips is to use a pail liner inside your diaper pail or a wet bag. It's not necessary, but diaper pails that do not have a cloth pail liner require frequent washing. We recommend having 2 pail liners or 2 wet bags so you always have a clean on on the go.

2.) Our second diapering tip for laundry is to take inserts of the diaper when putting them into your pail or wet bag versus taking the inserts out when you are washing the diapers. This means you can simple empty your pail liner or wet bag into the wash and then toss in the pail liner or wet bag into the wash too and program the load. The same thing goes for covers and pockets with Aplix. Fold the tabs back when you put the diaper into the pail or wet bag so you can skip this step at laundry time.

3.) Consider getting a diaper sprayer or using reusable cloth liners to make clean up easier.

Happy washing!

Further recommended reading:
Bummis - Residues


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