Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers


Washing cloth diapers can be a little intimidating but there are so many different ways to do it that you'll soon figure out what works best for you.

Here's my routine for my LG Wave Force WT5101H top loading HE Washer:

(I just copy and pasted from my sign posted by my washer for those that may be helping me with laundry once baby comes so let me know if you have any questions)

RINSE
1.    Put in all diapers & wet bags (check diaper bag)
*Make sure nothing with desitin, a&d, resinol, etc on it goes in*
2.    Take inserts out of diaper & fasten velcro tabs to laundry tabs on backside of diaper
3.    Add 1 T. of Country Save detergent in tray with a small amount of Rockin Green's Funk Rock
4.    Hit Special button (under screen) until on Rinse & Spin
5.    Start (Play button on right) (takes about 25 minutes)

WASH
1.    When that's done, add Country Save (to line on blue scoop in box) to tray
2.    Turn washer dial to Heavy Duty
3.    Push Wash/Rinse button to Hot/Cold
4.    Push Extra Rinse button TWICE
5.    Start (takes about 1 ½ hours- don’t let them sit in washer overnight!)

 There are many different ways you can wash your diapers but these specific cycles & times I've found to work best for me.  Basically I do a prewash in cold water - just rinse and spin and then a HOT wash with 2 extra rinses (3 rinses total).  

You do want to be sure to include a prewash, hot wash and most often at least 1 extra rinse.  If you have an HE washer, your wash routine tends to vary and get a little trickier since it uses less water and doesn't have the agitator in it.  I however haven't had any issues since I started this wash routine.  Some people say to add a soaked towel in with your diapers to trick your washer into adding more water - I haven't found the need to do this as long as you use either the Heavy Duty or Bulky/Bedding cycle.

DETERGENT
You don't want to use just any detergent when washing your cloth diapers.  As you can see above, I chose to use Country Save detergent - this is basically because it's so cheap that I can use it on all my clothes and not have the confusion or necessity of buying different kinds of soap for different needs.  I bought mine on Amazon a year ago and I got 4, 10 lb boxes (160 HE loads) and still have not run out.  As I said, I use it on ALL our clothes and still have 1 box that's not even open yet so I spent about $60 on all our detergent for the past year and still used cloth diaper safe detergent on our diapers.  (Pretty good deal I think!  I find this site to be an excellent reference on what detergents to use/not use.  Also if you look around it, there's tons of other helpful information there too!  

I started out using Rockin' Green Classic Rock and really liked it until I switched to the HE washer - then it didn't work well.  We also moved at the time though and got really hard water, so I'm sure that was part of the problem.  However, it's much more expensive than Country Save so I'm glad I switched anyway!  I've heard of lots of people using Charlie's Soap, Ecos, and the make your own detergent as well with good results.

Here's a make your own detergent that was shared on my cloth diaper group on Facebook: (I haven't used it so can't give you any helpful hints - sorry!)

Powder detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
I  cut my bar into slices then ran through the blender or food  processor then when it looks smaller than rice I dumped it into a bowl and added the washing soda  and borax and mixed till it was combined really well.
Use 2 tablespoons per full load!

Liquid detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

I hope that at least gives you a little overview of what to expect when it comes to washing. I tried to hit the basics but also give you a few tips along the way for those that might be trying to troubleshoot so hopefully it helps you out. If not, post a comment and I'll see if I be of any assistance!

OTHER TIPS 

You will want to wash about every other day - to cut down on number of diapers you need to buy and also to cut down on smelliness and chance of ammonia issues occuring.

The recommendation is to wash no more than 24 pieces in one load - but I usually wash about 16 pockets (plus 16-25 inserts) in each load and have not had problems - again I'm sure this depends on your washer.

ALSO - BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR DIAPER'S MANUFACTURER'S DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO WASH YOUR SPECIFIC TYPE/BRAND OF DIAPERS. THIS IS WHAT I GENERALLY USE ON MY DIAPERS BUT YOU MAY WANT TO ALTER THE ROUTINE SO THAT IT WORKS PROPERLY FOR YOU. IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW YOUR MANUFACTURER'S DIRECTIONS, THE WARRANTY COULD BE VOID SO BE SURE TO CHECK THAT OUT PLEASE - THIS IS BY NO MEANS A REPLACEMENT ROUTINE.

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