"How to Wash Cloth Diapers"
How to Wash Cloth Diapers There are 2 basic methods for storing wet and soiled cloth diapers: the wet pail method and the dry pail method. In the wet pail method, all cloth diapers are placed in a pail filled with water. Storing the diapers in water (usually accompanied by baking soda) is said to help prevent stains from setting. When wash day comes, the water is drained in the bathtub or toilet and then the diapers go into the wash. This method has lost much of its popularity due to odor issues that arise from stagnant water, the potential for messiness, and the potential drowning hazard present by having a pail full of water in the vicinity of children. A wet pail can also be inconvenient when you consider that AIOs and diaper covers often need a separate (dry) pail. The dry pail method seems to be the preferred method. In this method, wet and soiled diapers are merely placed within a covered (or uncovered) pail with no pre-soaking. Odors can easily be controlled by sprinkling baking soda on the diapers or by putting a deodorant disc at the bottom of the pail. Many dirty diaper bags are made with a small piece of fabric sewn into an inside seam. This piece is designed for adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oils (Tee Trea and Lavender are often used) to help mask any especially pungent odors. Which Washing Method Works Best? We recommend that you wash no more than two dozen diapers at one time, as too much friction can cause pilling. Also, make sure you fasten all velcro tabs to avoid diaper chains. Because detergent build-up can occur, we also recommend that you use less detergent than you normally would. Use about 1/4 of the recommended amount of your preferred detergent. Send your diapers through two cycles â€“ a COLD/COLD wash or a COLD rinse or soak, and a HOT/COLD wash. If you have hard water, you may experiment by adding 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser during the final rinse. If you are experiencing odor problems, 2-3 drops of Tea Tree Oil or 1-2 squirts of Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator can help. Be aware that using too much of an essential oil in your wash routine may begin to cause repelling in your diapers. (Water and oil don't mix, ya know!) After the washing portion is finished, your diaper should smell fresh and clean with no hint of urine, feces, ammonia or other unpleasant odors. Every now and then you may need to do an extra rinse to help eliminate odors caused from a build-up of detergent. Especially when using an HE machine, be sure to take note of any suds left in your final rinse water. RINSING IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STEPS WHEN CLEANING YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS! Be sure your rinse water rinses your diapers completely. Once the diapers are freshly cleaned, they are ready to go in the dryer or be line dried. The heat from the dryer or the sun help to sanitize the diapers. Generally, you should dry your diapers on hot for 60- 90 minutes. Some AIOs or extra thick diapers may take longer. Make sure you check the washing and drying instructions for every brand of diaper you buy in order to extend the overall life of your diapers. Wool is one example of a diapering product that requires special care because it does not need to be washed as regularly as other diaper covers and should always be air or line dried. If your diapers do not smell clean to you â€“ if you can still detect a lingering diaper odor â€“ you should wash them again. The odor youâ€™re smelling most likely means there is bacteria present in your diapers which could cause irritation to your baby and potential problems like diaper rash. Don't be afraid to experiment with your wash routine. Many factors can come into play when washing your diapers. For example: hard/soft water, type of diapers, type of detergent, etc. If you want to cut your electricity usage by 50-60%, line drying is a good option. Not only do you help to conserve energy, but the sun is wonderful for getting out tough stains on diapers. To avoid stiff diapers, set them out on the line during early morning or late afternoon hours when they will not dry as fast. Line drying your diapers will also extend their life, especially AIOs and covers. Which Detergent Should I use? Generally, you will need to use less detergent than normal for washing cloth diapers because they are easily susceptible to build-up. The detergent you use for washing your other clothing will usually work just fine for cloth diapers as well. There are some detergents that work especially well for cloth diapers though, and fragrance free detergents are usually best for something so close to your babies skin. Allens Naturally Laundry Powder works well on cloth diapers, as does Bio-O-Kleen. The enzymes in Bi-O-Kleen are especially effective on stains, while the citrus extracts have disinfecting properties that kill bacteria. For babies with sensitive skin, Free Clear formulas or Sensitive formulas usually do not contain dyes and fragrances. Be aware that some children can develop severe allergies to coconut and citrus based products. These two items are often found in laundry detergents. Allergies to anything can develop at virtually any time. Changing your laundry detergent is one of the most simple changes you can make to start trying to figure out what is causing your child's reaction. Allergies can be aggressive in some cases, so don't waste time thinking your child might recover without intervention. To help you weed through a rash or possible allergic reaction in your child consider these: your detergent, possible teething, new foods in your child's diet, clothing materials they come into contact with, and how well your detergent is being rinsed from your child's diapers. Don't forget the amazing cleaning power of adding baking soda to your wash cycle and distilled white vinegar to your rinse cycle. Not only are they highly effective, but they are also cheap! It is best to avoid detergents with whitening enzymes such as Arm and Hammer Advanced Detergent Action. These enzymes can actually attack baby's sensitive skin and cause horrible, blistering rashes! You should also avoid washing cloth diapers with soap products since repeated washing with soap creates a waxy build-up that reduces the absorbency of cloth diapers.