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Thursday, May 20, 2010

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Fear Not The Front Loader!

My family recently moved to a new house, and along the way inherited a beautiful front loading HE washing machine and dryer. I was very nervous, because although I was sure it was going to save me loads of laundry (it has), I was also sure that it would do my cloth diapers no justice. I heard that from people, but boy was I wrong!

Do not fear the front loading washing machine! It is your friend! Here is how I do my diaper laundry.

Step One: I put my diapers in and select the “Rinse/Spin” cycle. My machine automatically does this on a cold setting, but you could choose it if it didn’t. These machines give you LOTS of choices.

Step Two: I then add ¼ tablespoon of Charlie’s Soap (powder) to the tray. Charlie’s Soap is HE compatible, and because I was using ½ tablespoon with my “regular” washer, I went ahead and put less in. I have also been using less on our regular laundry, as instructed by my washer’s manual. PLEASE read your washer’s manual, it will give instructions on how much detergent to use…and remember cloth diapers always need less.**

Step Three: Select the “Heavy Duty” setting. This cycle washes my diapers hot and rinses them cold. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes. The first couple of times I used my machine I was using the “Sanitary” cycle thinking I was really getting my diapers clean. Then I read on the Kelly’s Closet website that setting could damage the PUL in my diapers. Did you know they have helpful hints at the bottom of their page? Check it out!

Step Four: I use Imse Vimse disposable liners in my diapers and if only urinated on, I go ahead and throw them into my wash and re-use them. Before I send my diapers into the dryer I pull these out and set them on top of the washer to dry out. If they don’t go through the dryer they work better the next time.

Step Five: After checking to make sure that any of my diapers that use Velcro/Aplix (such as my Thirsties covers/fitteds and my Kushies All-in-Ones) still have the tabs secured, I put them into the dryer. I have found that the front loading washer makes them come undone more than my other one did. I put my dryer on “Heavy Duty” setting which isn’t any hotter, just runs longer than “Normal/Casual” and gets my fitted diapers and All-in-One’s dry. In the summer I plan on line drying my diapers as it gives them a chance to sun (which gets out stains) and gives them a longer life.

That’s it! Not the nightmare I had heard about. When my son has had particularly “bad” diapers I will sometimes do a double rinse cycle before I wash them, but the HE washer uses less water so I don’t feel too bad about it. Remember to check with both your owner’s manual and your diaper’s manufacturer to make sure you are following the best recommendations for washing success.

By Jenney D.

**Important note: The general rule of thumb when it comes to detergents is to use ½ the recommended amount for your washing machine. Therefore, if the recommended amount is 1 ounce you would use ½ ounce. However, with Charlie’s Soap and a few other detergents which have been specifically formulated for use with cloth diapers (such as Rockin’Green, Tiny Bubbles, and bumGenius Detergent) you should use the detergent’s manufacturer recommendations for use with your cloth diapers and do not decrease the recommended amount!


Kayla said...

So what would you recommend for using Charlie's with a top loader? I had been washing every other day, doing a cold wash with 1/2 tablespoon/scoop of Charlie's, hot wash with 1/2 scoop, then cold rinse. Now I'm trying to only wash every 3 days since my daughter uses less diapers and it doesn't seem to be working as well anymore. I don't feel like they're getting as clean anymore, even on days when I do happen to wash after 2 days. I bought Bac-Out to try, but I'm not really sure how to work it into my routine. Please help!!

Anonymous said...

Charlie's says to use 1 Tbsp per large load... I can't imagine only a 1/4 Tbsp doing much. I know that you have to be careful not to use too much, but 1/4 TBSP?

Crystal said...

I recently got a front loading washer and dryer also and am tweaking my new wash routine to get it just right. I use the "speed wash" first instead of the "rinse/spin" cycle because they take the same amount of time but the speed wash adds water twice during that time. Then, when I do my "heavy duty" cycle, I add a mason jar full of hot water to make the diapers heavy again so that the washer will add more water (this is based on weight) and I also select the "water plus" setting to get as much water as possible! At the end, I do an extra rinse to make sure all the soap is out. Now that I've learned a few tricks, my diapers are coming out great!

AllRusty said...

thank you so much. We got our front-loader from the "returns shelf" at Lowe's and it didn't come with a manual. I'd never used a front loader before, and since starting cloth diapering, I wasn't sure if I really like my front loader anymore. Switching to Rockin' Green helped some, but doing the extra cycles has made great improvement. Thanks for the encouragement!

Jill said...

We just started using our old top loader again, and switching machines is ALWAYS scary. I was hoping against hope that it would work, because I did not want to have to get a front loader, but this relieves my mind a little bit for when it does stop! Thanks!