The dirt on cleaning diapers

It’s finally here! The post you’ve been waiting for!! The one in which we delve into the laundering of dirty diapers. Sounds fun, huh?

Your laundry routine, like so much else in the world of cloth is a very personal thing. It can take a lot of trail and error to figure out what works, but here’s how we roll wash in this house.

I usually try to wash every three days, as the size stash I have allows for this. When I first started I had to wash every other day.

I start with a cold wash with no detergent, then a hot wash with detergent followed by an extra rinse.

The cold wash is basically a pre-rinse. You could use hot water if you like. I don’t to save some on energy costs, as all this basically does is loosen up anything on the diapers. The cleaning part comes with the next step. I use a full scoop of GOOD laundry detergent. There are all kinds of cloth diaper specific detergents out there, but the general consensus is you’d be better off wishing your diapers clean than using this stuff. I use Tide original powder. You do want to make sure you stay away from anything with Brighteners or Softeners in it though, as these will coat your diapers and make them less absorbent.

Follow up with an extra rinse to make sure everything is squeaky clean!

I like to line dry anything with elastic in it to prolong the life of my diapers, but if I’m in a hurry I’ll toss everything in the dryer on medium heat and let it roll.

On sunny days I like to hang everything out to sun out any stain that may have accumulated. Seriously. The sun is like bleach. It’s freaking amazing some of the stains I’ve been able to sun out.

Speaking of bleach, you can toss some in your loads about once a month as a preventative to keep everything super fresh. PUL is color safe, so you don’t have to worry about fading. Just make sure to run an extra rinse to get all the bleach out. Some companies actually suggest this. I personally only use bleach when sanitizing used diapers, but it is an option for you.

Help! I’m washing my diapers but they still stink! What am I doing wrong? One mistake that’s made all too often is not using a strong enough detergent, or not using enough. How would you wash your kids clothes if they got peed/pooed on? Cause that’s what this is. Cloth that has been peed/pooed on. So clean the heck out of it! Make sure you have enough diapers in the load that they’re agitating against each other instead of just floating around in dirty water.

When I take the diapers out of the washer they smell clean, but the minute my baby pees in one, the ammonia scent nearly knocks me over! What’s up with that? There’s probably a bacteria build up in your diapers, and they’re “fixing” the nitrogen in the urine (sorry-my biology background is showing). Run them through the wash with some bleach. Plain old germicidal bleach. Not color safe and not splashless. The real deal. Don’t trust your washer to dilute properly? Just fill the bathtub up with cold water and pour a little bleach in. Generally 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water will do the trick. You’ll also want to bleach diapers after a yeast rash to take care of that mess too.

I know there are several other types of laundry issues out there, so of you have other questions, please ask and I’ll try to help. Just remember: I’m not an expert in this, so do your own research too!


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