I have some cloth diapering confessions to make:
1)You should always prewash your new diapers before using them in order to get maximum absorbency. I confess that I usually don’t before putting them on my daughter. I know, I know this can lead to leakage, but they’re just so amazingly soft before their first trip to the washer that I can’t help myself. It’s like when you buy a brand new sweater or fleece pajamas—they’re never quite as luxuriously soft as they are the first time you use them. I recently bought a One Size Babykicks 3G diaper for the first time and both the amazing softness of the inner layer of fleece and the bamboo insert were so delectably soft I just had to put the diaper on my baby right away. Besides, I’m impatient and I just couldn’t wait to try it out!
2) New diapers made of natural fibers not only need to be washed a couple of times before being used, but they’re supposed to be washed alone. In addition to using these diapers right away without prepping them at all I don’t wash my un-prepped hemp, cotton, and bamboo diapers separately from my other diapers when washing them for the first time. I know that this can lead to build up on my other diapers but I’m busy and as of yet, it hasn’t seemed to cause a problem. I don’t have time for a bunch of special washes in my hectic schedule as a part time teacher, part time stay at home mom. My other diapers never seem to be affected long term.
3) Many cloth diapering parents refuse to allow their beloved diapers into the dryer. I admit that sometimes, if I’m in a rush, I machine dry my PUL covers and pocket diapers—and I always machine dry my fitteds, prefolds, and inserts, and the occasional AIO diaper that comes my way. Granted, if I had a clothesline, this wouldn’t happen in warmer months, but since I don’t, and since I don’t have space on my drying rack or the time to wait for the absorbent layers of my diapers to air dry, I use the machine.
4) You should always use a liner when using rash creams with cloth diapers. I acknowledge that usually, I use cloth diaper “safe” rash cream without a liner. They say even rash cream created for use with cloth diapers shouldn’t come in contact with the inner layers of your diapers, just to be safe, because they may cause buildup, but as long as I keep rinsing my diapers before and after a regular wash, they seem to do fine.
5) You should use small amounts of additive free detergent when washing cloth diapers as well as putting them through extra rinses. When I first started cloth diapering, I didn’t know about the extra rinses and the minimal amounts of detergent you’re supposed to use. I didn’t know that you should use all natural detergent with your diapers so I washed them as I would wash any other load of dirty laundry, and they survived.
Sometimes, the list of dos and don’ts that you’re given when you begin your cloth journey can seem daunting, but don’t fret. If you forget something from that list, or don’t follow the rules all the time, your cloth diapers and your baby will still be fine. I don’t always treat my cloth diapers the way you’re supposed to treat them. I don’t follow all the rules 100% of the time. But you know, I’m still using cloth diapers full time successfully despite my shortcomings laziness. Of course, knowing what you should and shouldn’t do with your diapers is important and if you can follow those rules, then do so. But if you forget, or get lazy, it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t.