Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gettin' the Stink Out (Our Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine)

How to wash cloth diapers is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. People are fascinated withh why you would want to put poo diapers in your washingmachine. But really, its not that bad.
When a baby is exclusively breast or bottle fed, the poo is water soluable and you can just put the diaper right in the washhing machine. When you start to introduce solids (Cereals, baby food, etc), you need to get the mess off before you wash it.

There are 3 ways to do this.:
1.) You can get biodegradeable inserts which come in a roll of 100 for like 5bucks
2.) You can "swish" the diaper around in the toilet until the solid mess comes off OR
3.) you can get a diaper sprayer (right)) which attaches to your toilet that sprays the mess off. (This is what we do)

So every time my little guy goes #2, I just go to the bathroom and spray the mess off before I put it in the diaper pail. Not too bad. The pee diapers can go right in the pail. You dont need an expensive diaper genie or pail, we use just a plain ol’ trash can with a pail liner in it (left). We use Wahmies brand. I have about 24 diapers and I do laundry every 2-3 days. You dont have to use an expensive detergent, but you do have to use one free of enzymes, brighteners, fabric softeners dyes and most fragrance. The Diaper Jungle has a great chart that tells you which ones are the best to use. View it at http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html. We use Rockin Green soap. We only need about a tablespoon because we have a high effieciency machine, so 1 bag lasts us a while. The first thing I do is put on a pair of rubber gloves and take all the diapers out of the pail. We use pocket diapers (which means they have little inserts that come out) so i take them apart while I am putting them in the washer. (although most of them would come apart in the wash, anyway). I run a cold wash/cold rinse cycle eithout detergent to rinse all the mess off. You can add a little vinegar in this pre wash cycle if you want to help prevent ammonia buildup. Then I run a hot cycle with 1-2 tbs of my Rockin green soap and an extra rinse. …and thats it. I throw them in the dryer (You dont have to line dry modern diapers) with a few dryer balls and I am done. NEVER use fabric softeners with your cloth dipes as it causes them to repel water and leak. Sometimes I have a few that stain a little bit and I put them on a drying rack outside, and the sun bleaches the stains out. I did this today. It really works.

The biggest problem I have ran across cloth diapering is ammonia issues. Urine has ammonia in it and if you dont “Strip” your diapers once in a while it can build up and cause them to be really stinky. To prevent this, I bleach my inserts once a month. We use 7th generation free and clear (without chlorine), but you can use any bleach. And then I rinse them usually twice to make sure to get the bleach out. If i still get stink issues, I just soak the diapers overnight in my Rockin green and run several hot washes. You can also use plain ol blue Dawn dishsoap and rinse rinse rinse until there are no more bubbles in the wash.
It all sounds really complicated, but once you get the hang of it, its not too bad. And with the money you save, the extra effort is WAY worth it.

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