Washing Cloth Diapers
Always, always, always wash brand new diapers before use. A lot of diapers have pre-use washing instructions but some easy guidelines to go by are:
Wash covers, pockets, aio's and microfiber inserts at least once with a little detergent.
To reach their full absorbency, unbleached Chinese prefolds and hemp products should be washed 5-8 times(drying between each wash, so wash-dry-wash-dry, etc) with very hot water and approximately 2 tablespoons of detergent in each load. This removes oils and waxes from the cotton and hemp (normally removed during the bleaching process) that prevent liquids from absorbing into the diaper. White prefolds only need to be washed(and dried like above) 3-5 times before use.
Basic Washing Routine:
Wash the entire load on cold. Washing once on cold water is important to remove leftover "yuck" from your diapers.
Wash the entire load again on warm or hot with detergent.
Do a second wash/rinse without detergent.
I recommend that you line dry/rack dry your diaper covers, pocket diapers and anything made with hook & loop closures. Virtually everything else can be tumble tried on medium.
If you're having problems with diapers that stink after washing:
- Try an extra rinse. Sometimes detergent residue can cause diapers to smell.
- Wash once with liquid Dawn (the blue formula). Use 1 teaspoon in a front loader and 1 tablespoon in a top loader. Rinse well.
- If the previous solutions don't work, A company called Rockin Green just came out with an all natural ammonia and residue remover called Funk Rock, I have yet to try it.
Choosing the right detergent for your diapers is essential! You may download a list of detergent recommendations here(http://www.cottonbabies.com/clothdiaperdetergents.pdf ) However, they are missing a few others. You can also buy cloth detergent online or make your own(email me for the recipe) But a few detergents I like are Rockin Green, Eco-nuts(these are rather cool and are actually fruit, not nuts, for those with nut allergies) and one of my favorites is Ruby Moon Natural Laundry Wash, I know, a long name, but she makes the most delicious smells and I love her detergent!
What detergents should I avoid?
Do not use detergents containing pure soap, enzymes, fabric whiteners, fabric brighteners, fabric softeners or anything scented.
Do I have to sanitize the washing machine after washing my cloth diapers?
Absolutely not. If the diapers are clean, the washing machine is clean.
How do I use baking soda or vinegar when washing my diapers?
Water, detergent, and the sun is plenty to get your diapers clean and stain free. There are a lot of this and thats, yes and no's when is comes to baking soda or vinegar in your wash with diapers. I feel that baking soda is far safer than washing soda in homemade detergents for cloth diapers. I, however, feel that vinegar is less harsh to your diapers than bleach, but that is this momma's opinion. I use a ¼ cup of vinegar in my cold prewash to help keep the stinkies away(I put in the rinse cycle)
My diapers are stained. Now what?
The best stain remover is the sun and boy do we have a lot of it here! Wash your diapers and then lay them out wet on the lawn(on a towel or drying rack of course) with the stain facing the sun. It usually only takes a few hours before the stains are gone! If some remnants of the stain still linger, rinse the load again and repeat the process.
My diapers smell like ammonia after being worn. What should I do to fix this problem?
The chief culprit for an ammonia smell is detergent scent or detergent residue. Make sure that you are using an extra rinse when washing your diapers and that you are using a detergent that does not contain any perfumes. A warm wash with a squirt of liquid blue Dawn (the dish detergent), rinsed well, does a great job removing stinky residue from diapers. Using 1/4 cup of vinegar may be occasionally necessary to kill odor causing bacteria in the diapers. Also, Rockin Green has come out with a product called Funk Rock which is an all natural ammonia bouncer. I have had great results with all of these solutions and I have had some eye watering ammonia issues.
Washing Wool Covers
To wash a wool cover, simply handwash in cold water using the wool wash of your choice. It is important that the wool wash contains lanolin. If you need to lanolize your cover between washings, try dissolving one tablespoon of lanolin in a cup of very hot water. Cool the water to the point that it feels warm and then press the cover into the water. Swish it around gently. Drain the water and roll the cover in a towel to remove excess water (do not rinse). Lay the cover flat to dry.
Dealing with Poopy Messes
Sometimes baby poo will get on the wool cover. If this happens, just rinse that part of the cover under cold water until the stain is gone, pat and then hang to dry. If an odor remains, follow the directions above for washing the cover.
When is it time to wash?
If your wool diaper cover smells like urine or like poo, its time to wash. A wool wash with a high lanolin content and high quality felted wool will increase the amount of time between washings.