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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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Do Not Fear The (Cloth Diaper) Laundry Monster

I have four children and two dogs so you can imagine that my washing machine is almost always going. Add in my cloth diaper laundry and, rest assured, our laundry room is a hubbub of constant activity. When I first started thinking about cloth diapering, my biggest concern was laundry. Little did I know that adding cloth diaper laundry to my to-do list would actually make my laundry system easier, not harder.

I must admit that I probably have enough underwear for my children to go three or four weeks without a clean undies emergency. In my mind, there is always something a “little less dirty” that can be pulled (in an emergency...) out of the hamper and thrown on a child as they head out the door to school or camp. Am I wrong? As long as there is a handy supply of clean underwear, I found myself pushing off and pushing off laundry. And, as the piles grew steadily larger, the task became seemingly more insurmountable.

Enter cloth diapers. Having 1 (or 3) children in cloth diapers has completely changed my approach to laundry. Knowing that no good will come from letting a diaper pail sit for too long or simply running out of my favorite cloth diapers, has spurred me to action! Getting into a routine of doing a cloth diaper load of laundry every 2 to 3 days has helped me get everyone else’s laundry in and out of the laundry room in a timely fashion.

Now, even my three year old is in on the laundry action. If you have front loading washing machines, why not let the kids transfer the laundry from washer to dryer or dryer to laundry basket? Sorting and folding laundry has become a quick group activity and everyone is at the ready when I hand them their laundry basket and tell them to take all the clothes out of the hamper, turn them inside out, and check for stickers. (Stickers... the enemy of a good laundry day!)

In order to get some help if my husband or the babysitter is wandering by the laundry room, I put up a little sign to let them in on my cloth diaper laundry process:


1.) Check that all velcro laundry tabs are secure.
2.) Add about 1 scoop of Charlie’s Laundry Powder on top of the diapers.
3.) Set the wash to HANDWASH CYCLE. Extra Rinse. No Spin. Cold.
4.) Let the diapers soak for a bit after the wash is done - no need to rush back.
5.) After the first cycle is finished... Add in about 1/2 a scoop of Charlie’s powder to the wash. Set the wash to STAIN CYCLE. Extra rinse. Hot.


1.) Separate out all the pockets and covers from the inserts, burp cloths, liners, and hemp flats.
2.) Check to make sure that all the velcro tabs are still in place and that the diapers are not attached together.
3.) Put the inserts, liners, flats, etc. in the dryer and heat on HIGH HEAT.
4.) After the inserts, etc. are mostly dry, add the pockets and toss on LOW HEAT or FLUFF (how appropriate!) for about 5 to 10 minutes.

See? Not too hard at all... There is no need to fear the laundry monster!

by Erin Brighton in Charlotte, NC


Natural Momma said...

I like the sign you have up to help others wash the diapers!

I also liked seeing your laundry routine because I have to change ours... the washer we have, soap and well water are just not working in harmony...

Jennifer Sheppard said...

I agree, I too have four children, and I have found that I am more interested in getting everyone else's laundry done so that I "GET TO" wash my diapers. I love washing diapers... How funny!

Linda said...

I found myself putting in a load of reg clothes after i move the diapers to the dryer. So washing diapers would get me moving on washing the rest.

seahorse said...

I feel like a laundry monster too! I do at least one load a day just to feel like I stay on top of the laundry. So throwing in a load of diapers every other day or so feels like second nature!

Beth @ Sand To Pearl said...

I'm with you on how much easier laundry was with cloth. My son just finished potty training, and now I'm horrible about having laundry washed/dried/put away. With the diapers, I had a system, every other day at least one load was done, from start to finish, and now... every few days I realize the laundry baskets are over flowing, and I put it off, until there is no where to walk, then I have to do it, and it takes FOREVER!

Kim said...

I can relate to this so much! I'm still very much a newbie at CDing, and only have enough in my stash to diaper for a day (waiting until we move in a couple weeks to fill it out since I promised hubby I wouldn't start CDing until after the move. I'm VERY impatient!) I had considered CDing a while back, but quickly dismissed it when I realized how much I hate doing laundry. Now I find that my laundry stays done on my self-appointed schedule and it makes me so happy to know I'm blessing my little family with every load! =)

DivaMarie said...

I have a flow chart in my laundry room for all that describes regular loads (ie: towels, darks, baby stuff, whites...) and one just for dipes :) and as a family of 6 we were getting "attacked" by the laundry monster too.....when we started cloth our routines got a lot better and I very rarely get behind!

ERIN said...

@natural momma - thanks! My little signs are like my hands-off approach to delegating!

@Jennifer - Isn't that funny? Sometimes I scour around the house for a few "extra" burp cloths to make a "full" CD laundry load. CD laundry is never a chore for some reason!

Nina said...

I have a question - do you have and HE front load? Do you put the powder in with the dipes on the had wash instead of the dispenser area? We are 6 months in trying to figure out what works with us.

Lissydoll said...

I'm the same way about laundry... I wash more now that we're cloth diapering. Although I've just been throwing my diapers and inserts in the dryer all at once... Oops?

Anonymous said...

We just started cloth diapering my 3 month old son a few weeks ago, and we love the diapers (bumgenius 4.0). However, it seems that the detergent we're using (Charlie's Soap laundry powder) is giving him a pretty bad rash. He never had a reaction to the detergent we used before (All Free and Clear), but I know that we can't use that with the cloth diapers. Any other detergent suggestions that are safe for cloth diapers and extremely gentle for a baby with sensitive skin?

Amy said...

Your little boy is soooo cute :)

HannahBG said...

Anonymous: I don't know if you'll check this, but check out these links.

HIS Brave Storm said...

This is very useful. I'm new to CD'ing and the wash routine has me a little panicked! I just ordered quite a few new one sized diapers and I have no idea how to prep them or the routine I should get in for washing them. THere are so many wash, rinse, soak, only use this much detergent and this brand components that I'm beyond overwhelmed.