I am so glad that you have come to my blog. Here my goal is to help you sort through the jungle of cloth diaper information. I have been doing research on cloth diapering since I began 4 years ago. I have used many types and brands, and I hope to take the information and experience that I have gathered to put it in to a blog that helps you with choosing something that works for your family. My main goal is to save you money, and I hope to do this by sharing with you what works, what doesnt, and what is just as effective but at a better price.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Washing your Cloth diapers (Updated 8/10/10)

Video of using a diaper sprayer
Making a diaper sprayer: here is the link to making your own diaper sprayer. I did find that this sprayer fit only on ONE of my toilets. The other toilet was older and would have needed a larger T fitting to fit properly. Which you won't really know until you get home to set it up unless you are a master plumber and you know the size of the connection to your toilet supply line. Most likely it is 3/8" but it could be larger. Now if the idea of finding the parts for this sprayer makes your head spin there is another option but it is more expensive. The do it your self option cost me roughly $12-15 to make, or you can purchase one for $40-50.
Another sprayer from Rockin Green detergent
Bum Genius diaper sprayer (this is the one I am currently using)

Next I will talk about washing those dirty diapers. Now this was the scariest part for my husband and I. When we began this cloth diapering journey we did not start out  using a diaper sprayer and just used one those eppi bottles you get from the hospital after having a baby. Which works ok if you are on the go or on a short vacation, but not full time. Anyways I never felt like I was getting those diapers completely clean in the washer either, until I did months of trial and error.  Here I have instructions for washing your diapers in a regular top loader, and also in an HE machine. 
Regular washer

  • Step one is to put your dirty diapers in a diaper pail. Make sure that you spray out any poo into the toilet using a diaper sprayer before puting the diaper in the pail.  I use a bag made out of PUL by Bummis in size large as a liner in my pail. This size holds 2-3 days of diapers no problem. I put this bag into some kind of pail with a lid, like this one from Sterilite that I got from the grocery store for $7. When your pail is full take out the drawstring bag full of dirty diapers and take to the washing machine.
  • I then dump the dirty diapers into the washer and turn the wet bag inside out so that it can be cleaned too.
  • The first rinse cycle is short using just warm water  This will give the diapers a good rinse and will rinse out any particles left behind. 
  • When the first cycle is completed, lift the lid of the washer and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent made for cleaning cloth diapers. You will want a detergent made for cloth diapers so that your diapers will get as clean as possible.  My recommendation is Rockin Green.  They have 3 formulas to fit your water type.  In Houston and San Antonio we have hard water so I use the Hard Rock Formula.  Also here is a blog that has a great chart of many types of detergents. They are rated as to how well they work for cloth diapers. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NEVER USE A FABRIC SOFTENER ON YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS!
  • After you have added your detergent you will do a hot wash. I set this wash to be long and include a second rinse.
  • And if you seem to be having ammonia issues try adding one more rinse cycle. 
HE Washer instructions:
This is a direct quote from Kim, the creator or Rockin Green detergent.  I agree with every word.  I had an HE washer and I learned pretty fast that you have to use a lot of water to truly get your diapers clean.  I would even add to her directions, to use your diaper sprayer for every diaper, wet or poopy.  This will get out a lot of the pee that sits on the diapers until wash day.  Also this helps with smell. 

"Don’t skimp on the water!!!!! If you have a front loader, replace the word “Rinse” with “Wash”. For example, if you have a top loader, you normally do a rinse, a wash, and a rinse. For a front loader, I would suggest a wash, a wash, and a wash. You are still not going to be using the same amount of water as the top loader folks, but you really need to have the water because that is where the ammonia buildup comes up for the most part. For example, if you are washing 15 pocket diapers in a front loader, each insert will hold about 8 oz sometimes 15 oz, and if you think about it that is a lot of urine in each insert. Let’s say each of the 15 inserts holds about a cup of pee, you put the diapers in and your inserts in the front loader a lot of times the front loader does not put that much water in, so you are washing with a 50/50 mix of water and urine. That will not be rinsed out all the way, so if you do the 3 washes you will be more likely to get the urine flushed out. So, Wash Cold (no detergent), Wash hot (w/ detergent) and Wash Cold (no detergent). The first wash will get most of the urine, so your next wash you will be washing in clean water. This is what I suggest when someone is having stink issues with a front loader, I believe to attack it at the front and not the end."

  • When this cycle is completed put your inserts and prefolds and all in ones in the dryer and set to medium-high heat. And depending on the amount of diapers you have in the dryer will depend on how long you will dry them. I usually have to do a 45-50 minute cycle on a 3 day load. NEVER USE A FABRIC SOFTENER SHEET IN THE DRYER WITH DIAPERS!  But you can use  a dryer ball.  Hang dry your covers, pocket diapers and your wet bag to drip dry either in your laundry room or out in the sun, and they should by dry in the sun in the amount of time your inserts are in the dryer. All three of these have PUL that are exposed to direct heat and will warp and not last as long if they are put into the dryer.
  • Some people choose the hang dry all their diapers, including inserts, in the sun. Which will do 2 things. 1. If there are stains on the diapers the sun will bleach them. 2. This will save you the electricity. Your prefolds will not be quilted looking if hung dry but will still be just as effective.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thank you so much for this information. I am a first time mommy-to-be who just recently quit my job so I can stay at home and this is the most useful information I've found. I love the idea of making our own diaper sprayer. I didn't even think about how I was going to clean the diapers but it sounds like you know what you're doing! I'll be using all of your tips for sure. Thank you for sharing!