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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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Finally, a wash routine that works for me!

In the scheme of things, I am still new to cloth diapers. We started back in November using them at home, and started full-time (sending them to day care also) about a month later. I know many people who have used them for years, across multiple children. But the fact that using cloth diapers means washing them as often as every other day, by now I am starting to feel like a pro!

Say I have used them solid for 5 months, that's as many as 75 loads of diaper laundry I've done! It took me quite a few of those loads to figure out a routine that will last the long haul - in fact, I still don't know if I'm out of the woods yet. I have experimented with rinses at the beginning, at the end, and more. But here's what I have been doing for several weeks that seems to pass the sniff test (aka - they smell clean when I am done, and don't smell like ammonia after they are peed on!):

* As a diaper is used, I rinse it in the sink or with my diaper sprayer in the toilet before putting it into the bag. This means, taking out the insert, running it under the water and squeezing it out once or twice, until the water is coming out clear. I fix the laundry tabs on the cover, if it's aplix. Then I put the pieces in the bag. I do this with all the day care dipes at once in the evening before bed.

* I do laundry every other day. Since everything is in the bag and has been rinsed and fixed, I simply dump it all into the washing machine with a scoop of Rockin' Green, and start a hot wash cycle. (I have a standard top load machine with no bells or whistles). Once the tub is filled, I stop the cycle, swish everything around to make sure it's all good and soakin, and let them soak as long as I have time for (this has been a game changer!), even overnight if I have enough diapers to get by. When I am ready to start the cycle, I push in the dial and let it go. My machine does a cool rinse on this cycle, I believe. Once it's totally done, I turn the dial back to a short, cold wash cycle and let that run through also. I don't put any detergent in this time. Finally, when that's done, I put the inserts in the dryer and hang up all the covers/shells to dry.

* During the week I do this process in the evening so that all those shells are dry by in the morning to be packed up for another day.

And that's it! Not a lot of labor, and effective. For now at least!

Guest writer Jessica W. also blogs at


heather said...

I do the exact same thing, minus the swishing. i cant get past the ick factor of that. i plop if they plop, but i am terrified to rinse like that! maybe if someone could show me how....but i do the exact same wash routine and switched from charlies to rockin green too~ but honestly notice no difference. i do a cold rinse first, followed by the overnight soak, drain and hot wash in the am, folled by the normal rinse, then a cold wash/rinse too.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like my routine that I just switched away from! I was doing the pre-soak thing and for awhile it was working great, but then I was having so many stink issues! I stopped soaking and I'm not just doing a pre-rinse. All my issues seemed to have disappeared. I think my soak was causing a soap build-up or something...

Higgs' Happenin's said...

I've heard that it's bad to soak your diapers too much. But if it gets the stink out, hey it's worth it. Thanks for the tips I love hearing other peoples wash routines.

Kat said...

I started with the pre-rinse routine with my son's diapers, but it wasn't getting them clean. Now, I just wash them twice. I always use my diaper sprayer in the toilet to get off any solids right after I change the diaper. On wash day, the first wash is just the diapers, shells, bag, and any of my daughters underwear that she had an "accident" in (we're potty training). I use the quick wash cycle (warm wash/cold rinse). Then I load in some of our regular laundry for the second wash. I use the baby wear cycle (warm wash/warm rinse) with an extra rinse. That gets the stink out every time (so far). I'm using All "free" detergent. I hang up the shells and either dry the soakers in the dryer -or- put them out in the sun to dry if they have any stains. The extra laundry that I add in the 2nd wash helps the diaper pieces get really clean. Also, the soakers dry in the dryer much better with the extra laundry.

Wazka815 said...

I'm still trying to get my routine down, so this is really encouraging, thanks!