Tag Archives: Cloth diapers

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it will take some experimenting to find the right formula that works for your household.

The basics of the cloth diaper washing routine are rinse, wash, and keep rinsing until the suds are gone. You want to use as little detergent as possible with lots of water.

1. All in

Empty all the dirty/wet diapers into the washer, along with the wet bag or pail liner. I find it helpful to shake the inserts out of our pocket diapers at changes, so that it’s easier to dump everything into the wash quickly.

Washing Cloth Diapers

2. Rinse

Set your washer to rinse cycle (cold water is fine) with lots of water. I have a top-loader, so I set the size of the load to large. If you have an HE washer, I’ve heard that it’s helpful to toss in a towel with the diapers to get more water.

Rinse Cycle for Cloth Diapers

3. Detergent

Which detergent you use makes a huge difference in washing cloth diapers. Many detergents are not safe to use in washing cloth diapers because of added enzymes, brighteners and dyes. Check Diaper Jungle’s detergent chart to find a detergent that will work for you. You may try a few different kinds before landing on one that you love. I use Ecos Free & Clear, which is only $9 at Wal-Mart.

It is very important that you use very little detergent. If you are using a cloth-diaper specific brand of detergent, follow the directions. If you are using a store-bought brand like Ecos, the general rule is to use half. I use only 2 tbsp of Ecos per load, and that’s because we have hard water. If I had soft water, I would only use 1 tbsp. Also, I sprinkle in a little bit of baking soda to eliminate odors.

Cloth Diaper Detergent

4. Wash

Use hot water on the wash cycle.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

5. Rinse, rinse, rinse

Rinse as many times as needed to ensure that all the suds are gone. You should see no soap bubbles at all. I usually only need to add a second rinse cycle to do the trick.

6. Dry

Hang diapers to dry on a drying rack. If you can put them outside in the sun, it will bleach out any stains. Inserts and wet bags can be hung to dry or tossed in the dryer on low heat. Never use dryer sheets, dryer bars or any type of softener with cloth diapers.

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

I’d be happy to answer your questions about washing cloth diapers. Do you have a routine or tips that you’d like to share?

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Everything you need to cloth diaper

Continuing my posts on cloth diapers, here is my list of everything you need to start cloth diapering. Some things are essential and others are optional. Lists will differ slightly from one mom to another, but here’s mine.

Essentials

  • Diapers. There are several kinds – prefolds, pockets, all-in-two (AI2), and all-in-one (AIO). Read here for the differences. We use pockets, so we started with a stash of 24 diapers and 48 inserts.
  • Wet bags. These are PUL-lined bags that you can use to toss your wet and dirty diapers in, either on the go or at home.
  • Cloth diaper detergent. Your typical laundry detergent probably won’t be safe for cloth diapers because of chemicals and soap build-up. We use Ecos free & clear detergent, found at Walmart for $9. I’m still on my first bottle and I’ve been washing diapers for about 7 months. Diaper Jungle has a great chart of cloth-diaper safe detergents.
  • Storage boxes. You’ll need a place to organize your diapers. I reused a disposable diaper box, or you can buy baskets at Target or wherever.

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Pocket Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers Storage Box

Cloth Diapers Storage

That’s the bare minimum you need to use cloth diapers, but there are several more “accessories” that will help.

Optional

  • Diaper pail and PUL pail liners. I got a trash can with a lid and a couple washable pail liners for our house. You could just use a large wet bag.
  • Drying rack. Best way to dry diapers is hanging them to dry. Plus the sun gets rid of stains!
  • Diaper sprayer. It’s like the sprayer connected to your kitchen sink, but it attaches to the toilet so you can rinse off poop without getting your hands dirty.
  • Cloth-friendly rash cream. The best is virgin coconut oil, available at Trader Joe’s (and it has a million other uses around the house).
  • Cloth wipes. If you want to really be eco-friendly, you can use cloth wipes instead of disposable and just toss them in the wash with the diapers.
Cloth Diaper Changing Station

Cloth Diaper Changing Station with Pail, Diapers and Wipes

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

Cloth Diaper Drying Rack

What to pack for daycare

Here’s what goes in the bag every day for the babysitter. She tosses the dirty dipes in a wet bag for me to take home at the end of the day.

  • 5 diapers (usually uses 3-4 a day)
  • Zippered wet bag
  • Coconut oil if baby has a rash
  • Wipes

Next up, I’ll explain my CD washing routine.

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My Dirty Laundry

You really want to know about my dirty laundry? Ok, here it is… Cloth diapers. Yes, we use cloth diapers.

About a year and a half ago, if you would have said the words “cloth diaper” to me, I would have pictured poo-stained rags fastened with safety pins – you know, the ones your mom still uses as dust rags – the same ones you’re picturing now. But times have changed and today’s cloth diapers are very different.

Cloth Diapers Then and Now

First, why use cloth diapers?

  1. Huge cost savings! A stash of 24 diapers and everything we need for laundry cost us about $250 total to last through potty training. That would buy you about 10 boxes of disposable diapers – about the first 2 1/2 months of baby’s life. Using disposables to age 2 will cost you $2,000 on average. See for yourself – check out these charts at All About Cloth Diapers comparing the costs of cloth vs. disposable.
  2. Eco-friendly. There’s no doubt that disposables cause a lot of trash. It takes 550 years for a disposable diaper to deteriorate in a landfill. Did you know you’re not even supposed to dispose of poop in the trash? The chemicals and human waste in diapers sit in our landfills and eventually pollute our water. How does a nice cold glass of dirty diaper water sound? No worries with cloth. Instead of ending up in landfills, cloth diapers can be reused for more children, resold to another family, or repurposed in some way.
  3. Tush-friendly. Lucky for us, we decided to use cloth before Hayley was born, and she has sensitive skin. We used disposables while she was a newborn until she could fit into her cloth diapers, and she had constant diaper rash. When we switched to cloth full-time, the rash went away. You may also consider the fact that several chemicals used in disposable diapers can cause cancer and reproductive health issues later on.

So there’s the truth laid out. We’re a cloth diaper family. Who could resist this adorable fluff butt??

Cloth Diaper

Hello Kitty Cloth Diaper

More coming about our adventures in fluff, including everything you need and how to wash cloth diapers.

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