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Washing Cloth Diapers

Posted by Bryana on 2/17/2007 to Washing Cloth Diapers
When washing cloth diapers, much like when buying any new article of clothing, it is wise to first check the individual manufacturer's washing instructions. Each of the individual manufacturer's recommendations will vary. Click through the links we have provided below for the Fuzzi Bunz and Kissaluvs manufacturer recommended washing directions.

Manufacturer Washing Recommendations

Our Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

The following is our cloth diaper washing routine. Please keep in mind that water (hard/soft) and detergents do vary and you may need to experiment a little before you find your routine.Depending on the consistency of baby's BM, you may want to consider rinsing or dunking the cloth diaper in the toilet prior to pailing. Breast-fed BM (prior to solid foods) is very runny and slimy in consistency. It washes out very easily so there is no need for dunking or rinsing. Older infants have thicker, stickier BMs. At this stage, you may want to consider dunking to rinse as much BM off of the cloth diaper prior to pailing. We do this with the aid of our trusty rubber gloves. Another alternative is our Mini-Shower which helps rinse the cloth diapers without dunking.Biodegradeable flushable diaper liners are great to use at this time since most of the mess will end up on the liner, which can then be flushed responsibly. Toddler's BMs are usually formed and can be shaken off the cloth diaper right in to the toilet. Wet diapers can go straight to the pail.We use what is called a "dry pail" method of storing our cloth diapers. This means that we do not soak our diapers in a pail prior to washing. We rinse the cloth diaper off and throw it in the pail until wash day. You can use a "wet pail" if you desire but it is not necessary. If you do choose this method, please take precaution and store your cloth diapers in a pail that has a tight lid and is out of the way of curious toddlers.Be sure to wash frequently. Smaller loads clean better than larger loads. Diapers need room to move around (agitate) in the wash.Start with a cold presoak adding 1/3-1/2 cup of baking soda. The baking soda will help deodorize the diapers. Then run an extended hot wash/cold rinse with 1/4-1/2 of the recommended amount of your favorite detergent. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. If your washer is not equipped with fabric softener dispenser, get a Downey Ball. Pour your vinegar in, pull the plug, and it will automatically open in the rinse cycle. When your wash cycle is over, smell your diapers. Do they smell clean? They should smell fresh and pleasant. Sometimes the "stink" will hold onto the diapers. When this happens, run another quick hot wash with nothing added to rinse them out again. During this rewash, it is a good time to peek in at your diapers. If you see suds it means that you have a detergent build up on your diapers. If this happens, continue to rewash in hot water until the suds are gone. *If you see suds it means that you have a detergent build up on your diapers. "Cheap" detergents are usually low sudsing and are often a good choice. Avoid fabric softeners and detergents that contain fabric softeners. Over time, they will leave a film on the cloth diapers which will cause them to be less absorbent and may possibly irritate baby's skin. Bleach is never recommended since it can decrease the life of the diaper as well as irritate bay's skin. Vinegar has it's up and down sides. Vinegar can help strip away detergent residue, balance Ph level in diapers (discouraging the growth of bacteria), and soften your cloth diapers. On the flip side, vinegar can to react poorly with hard water causing odor when diaper is urinated on. Vinegar can also cause polyester diaper covers to stink. If you dry your cloth diapers in a dryer, pull the covers out and hang dry. This will prolong the life of your covers.

What About Stains?

The use of a disposable diaper liner can help reduce diaper stains. What may look like a difficult stain can be pretreated with a stain remover prior to pailing. Baking soda will help brighten your cloth diapers as well as freshen. Add 1/4-1/2 cup to the cold presoak cycle to help lift stains. If stains are found or left over even after washing....Hang or lay that diaper in the sun! The sun will naturally "bleach" away stains, sanitize, and leave your cloth diapers smelling fresh.. Something to think about....If the diapers are clean, smell fresh, and sanitized, does it really matter if they have some stains? We say no! Attention! Avoid the use of Desitin or any other diaper cream that contains cod liver oil with your cloth diapers. These product will leave stains and odors on your diapers that will not wash out.