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Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Twice Desperation Drove Me To Line Dry My Diapers

Twice desperation drove me to line dry my diapers. After giving it a few tries, the benefits have kept me coming back.

The first time I tried line drying my diapers was for economic reasons. No, not the savings that I might accrue on my electricity bill- I was simply out of quarters. We live in an apartment and I wash my diapers in a coin-operated machine. One week I forgot to plan well, and I found myself at the end of the day with a load of diapers to do and only enough quarters for the wash. I washed as usual and hung the diapers inside on a drying rack. There was snow on the ground outside, so waiting for a nice day was out of the question. This method worked well enough. The next morning my prefolds and all of my covers were dry, if a bit stiff and oddly shaped, but my pocket diaper inserts remained damp. While I liked saving the money on the dryer, the stiffness bothered me, so I returned to my coin and energy wasting ways and continued to use the dryer.

Fast-forward to spring: my diapers had developed a serious funk. Remember that whole shared-washer thing? I can’t control the types of detergent my neighbors use in the washer, or the fabric softener sheets they put in the dryer. Something nasty was building up in the diapers I worked so hard to keep clean. I tried numerous stripping methods: detergent, baking soda and vinegar, baking soda and lime juice, multiple washes with hot water, and switching to a pricier highly recommended detergent. While these things helped, the diapers still had a lingering scent. Not terrible, but not fresh either. I wanted fresh.

While browsing some cloth diaper websites I came across a suggestion to line dry diapers to get rid of odor. Since the weather had improved, I decided to make a second attempt. I picked a sunny morning, washed up my diapers, and hung them out in the sun. By the end of the day they were both dry and fresh smelling. I was sold.

Now I plan my washing so that I can finish by mid-morning and get my diapers out in the sunshine. I use a standard collapsible drying rack, because I can’t string an actual line in our back area. The rack is a bit wobbly, so when I put it out I use a few patio chairs around it as a wind break. I have found that I can avoid shape problems by shaking my diapers out right before I hang them up. A quick snap to get rid of bunches or wrinkles and up they go.

Covers I hang on the lower racks out of the sun to prevent their vibrant colors from fading, and pockets and All In Ones I hang white (inner) part out to prevent fading. I have found that the sun and fresh air not only leave my diapers smelling great, they also fade stains, thus making my diapers look even better. Line drying does make the pre-folds a bit stiff, but I have if I roll them around a little when they are dry they loosen up, and they don’t seem to bother my son’s bum at all. If you have a dryer, a quick five or ten minute fluff would give your line-dried diapers that soft dryer feeling.

Give line drying a try- this is the perfect time of year for it. Pick a clear day and grab your drying rack. You will save your laundry quarters or save money on your electricity bill, have fresh smelling diapers, and reduce energy consumption in one easy step. What cloth diapering mom wouldn’t love that?

By Amy C.


.......Me...... said...

Thanks that is great info. I have a house so we have a washer and dryer and a clothes line. Lucky I know! I have been wondering though since the weather here is getting cooler is it possible to line dry when it is cold out? Where I live we usually get mild winters and it doesnt snow much but still IDK if it is possible!

Sara said...

I was wondering the same thing about cold-weather line drying! I don't like the "stiff" prefold thing either, but my pockets seem to do better when line-dried. I love how the sun magically can get rid of stains!

Samantha Tomaszewski said...

I just started line drying my diapers a few weeks ago and I am hooked!! I am also curious about line drying in cooler weather though.

thejepps said...

What kind of diapers are those? I love the navy, I don't think I've ever seen a navy diaper...I want one!

Sarahjenne said...

Kudos to you for using cloth when you don't have your own washer! I was shocked the first time I tried to get a poop stain out by putting the diapers in the sun. It worked like a charm!

Knocked Up and Nursing said...

I resorted to line drying for the sole reason of getting the stinkies out too! Bonus: Stains just disapeared!

Brandi said...

I'm impressed that you cloth diaper with a shared washer! Wow! I haven't had my baby yet but I am looking forward to line drying my cloth diapers. Everything I have read about line drying has been positive.

Kara - Wife, Momma, Doula said...

I do line dry occasionally...I don't like the stiffness either, but I do like the fresh smell it brings to the diapers. I am not in love with line drying though but so it sometimes because of the benefits that comes with it.

The Carrolls said...

We use prefolds and I have tried every method of line/machine drying combos to get soft prefolds.... nothing really works - so I just send them through the dryer for a full cycle, after which they are not totally dry, but quilty soft..... then I hang them out to let the sun finish them off & do its magic on the stains.
ALSO - I noticed that MOTHS found my woolies shortly after I hung them outside! So now I line dry the woolies INSIDE!