Some people shy away from using cloth diapers because they think it is too difficult, especially the washing and care of the diapers. This is not the case! caring for your cloth diapers is really very simple.
Diaper Pail/Wet Bag
While you have the choice in how to store your soiled diapers, a dry pail is recommended. You don’t have to soak your diapers before washing. You can use a diaper pail (choose one with a lid to contain odors) or a wet bag.
What is a wet bag? A wet bag has a waterproof lining that contains any wet and messes inside the bag until wash day. A zipper closes the bag to eliminate odors. Wet bag come in a variety of sizes. You can keep a small one in your diaper bag for day trips and soiled diapers on-the-go. You can use a large hanging wet bag in place of a diaper pail. One benefit to choosing a wet bag is the fact that you can just throw the bag into the diaper wash, and you don’t have to rinse out your pail.
(Right: Hanging Wet/Dry Bag from Planet Wise)
How often do I have to wash diapers?
You will probably want to wash your diapers every 2-3 days. There are several reasons for this. First, if you want to wash less often then you will need to buy more diapers. This adds expense to building your diaper stash. Second, your diapers will start to stink worse the longer you wait to wash them.
Washing every 2-3 days keeps your stash manageable as well as odors. This only adds 2-3 loads of laundry to your routine per week. You can do that, right?
How do I wash my diapers?
Next, you do a full wash cycle on hot. Add detergent to this cycle. You don’t want the detergent to cause soap buildup on your diapers, because this will lead to leaks. For top loading machines, use half of the recommended amount of detergent, and for front loading machines use one quarter of the recommended amount of detergent. Wash your diapers on heavy, or a fast-fast cycle. Do not use fabric softener.
Normal detergent is full of dyes, fragrances, and brighteners that can cause buildup on your diapers and lead to leaking & repelling. To avoid this problem and the resulting extra work of stripping the buildup, use a cloth-diaper friendly detergent. Avoid “Free & Clear” detergents. Country Save or Rockin’ Green Detergent are both great for cloth diapers. Some diaper manufacturers such as bumGenius! also have their own detergent. Other factors, such as hard or soft water, HE or toploading washing machine, etc. may affect whether or not you get buildup on your diapers. Some manufacturers, such as Rumparooz, even recommend just using Tide.
Please note: if you are using Rockin’ Green Detergent or another cloth diaper detergent then please use the full recommended amount.
Finish washing your diapers with another cold rinse.
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How do I dry my diapers?
Drying your diapers is simple. You can line dry them or put them in the dryer. You should hang dry your diaper covers and the pocket portion of pocket diapers, especially those that contain PUL. This will extend the life of the PUL as well as the Aplix/Velcro tabs. PUL is waterproof so it dries very quickly, and most pocket diapers are lined with fleece which is also quick-drying. Do not use dryer sheets.
I live in a 3rd floor apartment in Brooklyn, NY. I am blessed to have a washing machine, but I do not have a dryer. I have discovered, however, that I really like drying my diapers on the clothesline! I get the added benefit of sunning out any stains!
What about stains?
If you have stains in your diapers there are a couple of options. It is not good to use bleach on your diapers or inserts. You could try “rockin’ a soak” with Rockin’ Green detergent. It helps to remove buildup and de-funk your diapers. You can also sun your diapers. Sunshine is natural bleach and very powerful! I have had horribly stained, brown inserts that were brilliant white after a few hours in the sun!
See…cloth diapers are doable! Washing is simple!