Best ways to clean cloth diapers?

Danielle - posted on 10/29/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Hey ladies so I'm a first time mommy and I'm due in April 2012 and I plan on using cloth diapers. So I was wondering if any of the North American mommies (mainly) had any good ways to clean the diapers that is safe for the babies skin. Like what detergents do you find work best and which ones aren't worth the money? I know clorine bleach is a big no no but what other things are also no nos?
Thank you.

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Erin - posted on 11/20/2011

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After trying a bunch of different cloth diapers and detergents My favorite diaper was the Gdiaper(next favs are Kissaluvs and Bumgenius) I can't say enough good things about Rockin Green detergent!! they have several different formulas one for soft water one of "regular" and one for hard water. It really helps keep "build up" at bay. By build up I mean residual soap residue. Also the rockin green detergent has a Very MILD scent or none , and is cheaper than all the other brands at the store. When I was exclusively BF I basically just threw all the diaper in the was ( you can choose to do a rinse cycle first) some people rinse in the toilet .Also choose your diaper pail. we just had a bucket with a lid and it was a dry pail. When the baby starts eating solids (about 6 months) you will have to spray or scrap the poo into the toilet. Sounds horrible, but it's really not. Once a month or so you will need to "strip" your diapers. Basically you have to boil them in water without soap. or you can use a VERY hot wash cycle. do this until there are no more bubbles in the water. Stripping gets rid of the soap that has built up in the diapers. If you don't do this it can start to give diaper rash and the diapers can have a really bad ammonia smell. Choosing a good detergent goes a LONG way in spacing out the times you need to strip your diapers. Before I started using rockin green we had a bad problem with build up and had to strip all the time. even though i was doing a rinse cycle after wash.

I hope that helped a little . You can find web site with detailed instructions on the whole process.

I have bought and sold cloth diapers from Ebay, Diaperswappers, and Facebook(on gdiapers page they have a buy and sell section)

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Danielle - posted on 11/16/2011

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Oh that makes total sense. Thank you!
I haven't decided on a brand yet, I still need to find the best site to get them but I have decided no Gdiaper because there is no point in getting a cloth diaper with a disposable insert like that. I have been looking at babies r us and looked at he prefolded gerber diapers at target but I'm not quite sure exactly. Figure I still have a few more months to continue shopping but I'd like to narrow down what I want to use to at least 5 brands. :) Same as narrow down to 5 forms of wash detergent or whatever to clean the diapers that way it works best for if I run out or I can ask for a few types to see which one I like best.

Paula - posted on 11/16/2011

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It is very hard to wash off and will make the diapers less absorbant. If your child ever gets a rash you can't kick naturally it can be neccesary to switch to disposeables for a week or so in order to use diaper creams to get rid of the rash. This has only happened to me 1 time and it was not diaper rash, my son got a bacteria infection (impentigo) and so I had to switch to disposeables to give him his medicine (I wrote all about it here if you are interested http://hopefulfuture.blogspot.com/search...)

I use cloth wipes as well as cloth diapers. Before I switched to cloth wifpes I was having trouble with my son getting rashes, and then I realized that it was because the disposeables wipes are so wet, so when I put the diaper on him his bum was still wet and it would irritate him. so i switched to cloth and started using this spray called 'thristies booty luster' when i wipe him.

I spray his bum first then wipe him with the cloth... the cloth wipes go in the pail with the diapers and you wash them the same way so, in my opinion cloth wipes actually end up being WAY easier than disposeables were becasue everything goes in the same place and gets washed the same way.
the wipe spray I use is natural, smells great and best of all treats and helps prevent diaper rash in a way that is fine for cloth diapers. There have been times when he has woken up in the morning with a rash, so I will just spray the rash a bit extra with the spray and maybe blow on it a bit so its not super wet when I put the diaper on him.. then by the next time I change him the rash will be gone. :)

hope that helps.
let mek now if you have more Qs. I would love to help you more. The first link I gave was my blog, so if you have more questions you can ask me here or there, and I will do my best to help. I LOVE helping people, so just let me know !!!

which type of diapers are you going to use?

Danielle - posted on 11/16/2011

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No diaper rash creams using cloth diapers? How come if you don't mind me asking.

Paula - posted on 11/16/2011

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I make my own. (I know it sounds crazy, but it is so easy!) it ends up costing less than a penny a load, which is awesome because most "diaper friendly" detergents are pretty expensive. the site I got my recipe from is here http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundr...
it takes about 15 minutes to do and then it will last you several months if you are only using it on diapers.

I throw my diapers in a dry pail (I got a trash can from wal mart that I use) if you breast feed exclusively you don't even have to worry about dumping the poo anywhere because it will be water soluable. once you introduce solids you will just need to shake whatever poo you can off into the potty and then put them in the pail. when washing day comes I usually dump the diapers in the washer and run a hot rinse. then I add detergent and do a hot wash and then I dry them. easy!!! :)

nonos would be using scented detergents. and you really want to use something like tide free and gentle or other detergents people have mentioned. don't just get regular detergent because the enzymes in those detergents will stick to the pee/poo on the diaper and then irritate the baby's skin. (that is why I do an extra rinse at the begining too...to remove most peee/poo before I introduce soap)

also no diaper rash creams when cloth diapering...

Danielle - posted on 10/31/2011

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Thank you Kathleen. I was just at the store and didn't see them in powders but i also walked past something 10 times before because I was talking to someone and trying to find it... Didn't work. But I will definitely check that out.
Also does washing the diapers in cold water work just as well as in hot/or warm water? My dad reminded me yesterday that we have to run water in the utility room sink to get the water hot before washing in hot or warm/cold water...

Kathleen - posted on 10/30/2011

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Dreft does but be careful. I have heard of moms who have had to strip their diapers because of the residue it can leave. I have never used anything for stains, they usually come out from letting them sun either on a table inside next to the window or on the clothes line. Check out www.diaperswappers.com they have an awesome forum as well as fluffies that you can purchase and other baby items. I'm not sure if Tide Free comes in powder if Elizabeth doesn't get back to you on that I can look tomorrow when I go to the store. Arm and hammer i think is only liquid.

Danielle - posted on 10/30/2011

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Elizabeth do you know if any of those three come in powder for He?
Also this has been on my mind a little bit too, but I was looking at cleaners that were non clorine based and everything but I was wondering since oxyclean is clorine free is it something that could be used on cloth diapers for stain treatment? It was just something I noticed while I was randomly walking through walmart one night while I was bored and didn't want to be home.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/30/2011

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I personally have so many skin sensitivities that there are only three types of detergent that I can use and I figure if I can tolerate them, they aren't too bad for my son. Those three are Dreft, Tide free, and Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin. I use the Arm and Hammer since it is cheapest.

If you rub the diaper with a bar of ivory over the area that is dirty, it comes out clean. (this works for any type of protein stain like grass or blood)

Danielle - posted on 10/30/2011

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Sweet thank you. I tend to do the extra rinse or do the separate rinse cycle when my load is done just because with this new powder soap it's supposed to be more concentrated and I try and double check to make sure it's all rinsed out. So nothing new for that part. Lol :)

Kathleen - posted on 10/30/2011

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I also live in Illinois. S. Illinois. We had a freak snow storm last March and a freak tornado down here on Dec 31. Sunning is awesome, and I have done it on our kitchen table parked right in front of the window. However, I dry mine. In fact mine are sitting in the dryer right now. Since I only do laundry once a week pretty much, every day or every other day I tend to wash diapers. Normally I just run the washer, with hot water, add soap, then add diapers all day long. At the end of the day I shut the washer and let it run. I've used both powder and liquid. I prefer liquid but both does work. Just remember most times you'll need to do the extra rinse cycle or I just run it through a wash cycle without any soap. We've never really had any smelly diapers here other than when I actually take them off the child lol.

Danielle - posted on 10/30/2011

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Thank you ladies. Very helpful. Any suggestions other then sun drying at first? Since I'm due end of April I kinda want a backup plan for the cold months. Because here in Illinois mother nature doesn't know if it wants to be nice and sunny or cold and blizzardy the last weeks of April. I definitely plan on trying what you all pointed out because I definitely don't want nasty diapers sitting around.

Oh crap forgot to ask. Does powder soap wash better then liquid? Because my family uses powder in our front load washer since it cuts down on the musty smell.

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I love the website Kathrine posted. I also use a diaper sprayer. My husband made one from a kitchen sprayer. It was cheaper and did the same job. He used this as a guide:
http://gidgetgoeshome.com/2008/08/25/diy...

I rinse the poops off first and then put them in a dry pail. I sprinkle baking soda a couple times a day to keep the pail from getting too stinky. I start washing the diapers by letting them soak in cold water. Then I rinse them and do a hot wash using about 1/4 of the normal amount of detergent. I either use All free and clear or Purex free and clear. They both seem to work great. They are rinsed again after the hot wash (sometimes I rinse twice if needed). Then I stick them out in the sun to dry. Due to living in a community with a HOA I don't have a line either. I bought a collapsable clothes drying rack from Target and I stick them on my back patio where they won't be seen lol. Putting them in the sun is the best way to get them clean. The sun naturally disinfects the diapers and it also removes stains. No joke. I breastfeed so my daughter has the mustard yellow poos. I noticed that one insert was a little stained when I pulled it out of the wash. I put it out in the sun with the rest and when it was dry the stain was gone.

Sorry for the book. You really just have to experiment with your wash routine. A lot depends on your detergent, your water, you washing machine, etc. I did find when my diapers still smelled yucky or were leaking it was because I was using too much detergent. Congrats on your little one!

Kathleen - posted on 10/29/2011

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check out fluffswappers on FB as well as Diaperswappers.com. Can get good items some used, some new at really decent prices and most include shipping. somoene may have the diaper sprayer for less than what you would buy in the store. Those are the places I usually get my items at. I can't get to cotton babies or sprouting up from where I am. :(

Kathleen - posted on 10/29/2011

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I was told not to use dreft as it still had certain chemicals. I dunno I just couldn't really afford it after awhile so I quit buying it. I just buy free and clear detergent now. I was ALL of the familes clothes in it and works well with CD's. Never use softeners or dryer sheets. We never got a sprayer but i did get some flushable liners to put in the diapers so I lift off the solids and dump in the toliet. Sunning is awesome, though we don't have a clothesline I have to sit them on our table in the sunlight. We were going to get different special baby soap/ cd soap. However, my friend whose been CD'ing for over 20 years uses the free and clear stuff. We usually go back and forth between All free and clear and purex free and clear. Haven't tried the tide since it's come out since baby #2 isn't due till december, but all his dipes are washed,dryed and ready to go.

Danielle - posted on 10/29/2011

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Thank you Katherine. I plan on getting the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer to help clean off the solids. And thank you for the suggestion for cleaner.

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