However, if your more of a do it yourself kind of person but need to be guided in the right direction, we are here to help, and for free! It’s our commitment to helping spread the word about cloth diapers.
Here are some basic tips to remember before you even start that first load of wash:
Make sure you are using a cloth diaper friendly rash cream if you are using one!!
This is super important. The wrong rash creams will greatly reduce the life of your diapers. Be sure to avoid anything with calamine, cod liver and petroleum based oils. These oils will create a barrier on your diapers and cause them to repel thus making the diaper not work properly making it tempting to grab that sposie!
To avoid stains, dump those solids!
It’s common sense really. When tossing your diaper into the diaper liner (or pail, or soak, etc.) you want to make sure you toss any solids out of the diaper before storing them between washings. The longer a poopy solid stays on a diaper, the higher the risk of the diaper becoming stained permanently. It doesn't matter if your kiddo uses a stained diaper because that won’t effect it’s performance, however when you are looking to resell diapers after you’re done with them this will greatly reduce their value in the resale world.
If you haven’t chucked your top loader, keep it for cloth diapers.
The best residential washing machine for cloth diapers is a top loader. Top loaders clean better because they use more water (which is less energy efficient but will get your diapers cleaner).
If you already made the switch to an HE machine, no worries.
A way to trick your HE machine into using more water is doing “the ol’e towel trick”. Just toss a large towel in with your diapers and your machine will add more water to your cycle, since it goes by weight. This usually does the trick 9 times out of 10. Worst case scenario you can run another short cycle on cold to make sure you get a good clean.
Front loaders are tricky, but if thats what your working with, it’s totally doable.
We recommend running a hot pre wash first, then doing a soak for one hour (or 20 minutes?) to break away all of the nasties, then running a regular cycle. Front loaders (especially low water ones) traditionally use less water than their residential counterparts so you have to adjust your wash cycles accordingly (thus tricking another machine, they seem to have a love/hate relationship)
Get a good cloth diaper friendly detergent!
Many home laundering families use regular commercial detergents and have a good experience with them, however when taking the dive into cloth diapering we highly recommend using a cloth diaper friendly detergent first. If you want to try other detergents out by all means check em’ out! but to make your life a bit easier try these below while your getting into the swing of things first:
- Allens Naturally
- Country Save
- bumGenius Laundry detergent
- Eco Sprout
- Rockin’ Green
- Nellies All Natural Laundry Soda
- Tiny Bubbles
Some detergent tips:
- Powdered detergents are best dissolved completely before adding to the washing machine.
- HE compatible generally refers to a low sudsing detergent. A detergent rated HE certified has been certified for use in a High Efficiency washing machine.
- Detergents are now highly concentrated. It is important to accurately measure your detergent amount and not just “eye-ball” it.
Regardless what type of machine you are using, these steps are super simple.
- We highly highly highly recommend some kind of presoak or rinse. You do not want to toss soiled diapers into a main wash with all the gunk inside, they wont get clean enough. You want to make sure you give them a quick wash of some sort to get rid of the nasties. Using a diaper sprayer is awesome if you dont have a prewash setting on your machine.
- For the main wash, use HOT water! In order to activate the detergent and give your diapers a good clean, you don’t want to skimp on the heat. If you are having issues with getting your machine hot enough (and you have a top loader) we recommend CAREFULLY dumping a small pot of hot (or boiling if your using cotton prefolds) into the wash to kick up the heat. Please use caution if taking that advice though, nothing worse then getting a backsplash of hot poopy water in the face!
- Do a last rinse if your machine has this setting or run a cold short rinse. You just want to make sure that all of the detergent is out of your baby diapers and a good way to do that is by having another cycle of water follow the main cycle (commercial machines have several steps of this, but you need to play around with your residential one to get a good system).
Depending on what kind of diapers you are drying depends on what kind of method you will use to dry your diapers. It’s important to dry your diapers enough to avoid mold, yet not overdry and cause damage to the fibers and other material. Its all about finding a good balance.
- The best method to dry any diaper (other than AIOS) is line drying. We highly recommend line drying diaper PUL diaper covers as this prolongs their life and keeps your diapers in the best shape possible.
- For pocket diapers we recommend line drying the shells but drying the inserts in a dryer on high heat.
- For All in one diapers with a hook and loop closure we recommend turning the diaper inside out before placing it in the dryer, to help the absorbent inner layers to dry. Because of the hook and loop closure, you do not want to use a high temperature to dry these diapers. We recommend drying them on a low setting for as long as necessary to avoid issues with the hook and loop. You can also add wool dryer balls to help wick away the moisture and lessen the dry time for this style of diaper.
- For All in one diapers with a snap closure we recommend tumble them on medium setting. Again, adding wool dryer balls may help to lessen your dry time.
- For fitted diapers we recommend drying them on a low to medium heat using dryer balls.
- For cotton prefold diapers we recommend drying diapers on medium to high to ensure they are dried all the way through.