What's your system for washing cloth diapers?

Taylor - posted on 02/18/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I'd like to do cloth diapers with my second child (due any day), but I've been told that you have to wash them 3 times and then hang them to dry. Is this true? Exactly how do I go about washing diapers? What kind of soap do I use (or not use)? Also, I've heard a lot about dry buckets and wet buckets. What are the pros and cons of both of these? Can I use my diaper champ, or should I switch to a trash bucket? And are there any rules about using cloth wipes? Should I keep them in water and add a little soap?

13 Comments

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Candace - posted on 02/21/2009

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I'm in the process of buying some fitteds and/or AIO's so DH won't have an excuse anymore about changing the dipes.  LOL

Tracy - posted on 02/20/2009

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Quoting Candace:



Quoting Megan:


I though doing cloth would be a hassle but maybe save me some money. I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I've saved a ton and it really is not a hassle at all. I'm home during the day so the extra laundry isn't that big of a deal. I won't be going back to paper. What a waste! My husband was on board at first because of the savings, but now, he has no trouble doing the diaper changes either.






Same here... but I have to ask how did you get hubby to change dipies???  Mine won't even try it!






I wouldn't suggest my method of getting DH (Dear Hubby) to change diapers.  I got him to do it by getting an intestinal hernia about 18 hours after D was born and going into surgery.  The whole week I was in the hospital afterwards DH and D stayed in the hospital room with me, but he had to do ALL the diaper changes and he did most of the feedings.  It was a hard recovery, but I am pleased that it really made a strong bond between DH and D.   Now he has NO problem with changing diapers, watching D if I want to go out or feeding her. 



Oh, and we also cloth diaper.  We started at about 5m old and I use a mixture of pocket diapers, Bum Genius 3.0 (my favorite), Happy Heinys (close runner up) and Tiny Tush (not thrilled with these).   DH was all for it and in fact pushed ME to do it.   Now I wouldn't go back to disposables full time, though I still use them when out running errands and when I send her to the sitter or grandmas.  We use Seventh Generation dipes for that.  I also put her in a 7th Gen dipe at night since she leaked through every cloth diaper combo I've tried and the 7th Gen dipe gets her through the night.  I do a rinse cycle with no detergent to get most of the pee/poo out, then a regular cycle with Sun Free & Clear and a little 20 mule team borax or Oxyclean if it's a stinky load, then an extra rinse, then dry on medium.   I'm having a problem right now with hard water buildup (we use well water) and my microfiber inserts are getting kind of yellow and crusty, not fluffy anymore...any suggestions for that?  All washing is in cold since the hot water is not hooked up to the washer.

Candace - posted on 02/20/2009

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Quoting Megan:


I though doing cloth would be a hassle but maybe save me some money. I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I've saved a ton and it really is not a hassle at all. I'm home during the day so the extra laundry isn't that big of a deal. I won't be going back to paper. What a waste! My husband was on board at first because of the savings, but now, he has no trouble doing the diaper changes either.



Same here... but I have to ask how did you get hubby to change dipies???  Mine won't even try it!

Candace - posted on 02/20/2009

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Cloth diapering can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. 



I felt the same in the beginning- just like you.



I buy Purex hypoallergenic deterg. from Wal-Mart (less than $5).  I wash my diapers in a regular hot H20 cycle, then wash  them again without detergent in a cold wash cycle.  If it is pretty outside, I hang them out to dry.  If it is not pretty, I dry them in the dryer just like anything else.  The sun bleaches out stains and is a great disinfectant.  I sun them on the hood of my car sometimes because I don't have a clothes line (I have to go to my mom's to use her's).  I use prefolds and covers.  I don't know much about the care of the AIO's, but it can't be too much different.



I put soiled diapers in a wetbag until wash day, but I don't see why your diaper champ wouldn't work too. 



I make my cloth wipes with cheap baby wash cloths.



1 1/2 cup of H20 (for about 10-12 wipes)



2 tbsp. of baby wash



1 tbsp. of oil (ollive or baby oil)



Boil in a pot, pour over wash cloths, shake them up in a container with a lid.  Voila!  I also store mine in a wipe warmer like regular wipes.



 



Hope this helps.  Hope it's not an info overload!

Heather - posted on 02/20/2009

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Ok, I am not exactly your traditional CD momma, but I use prefolds and a wrap with my son.  I used to have a wetpail, but it was just too much hassle.  I now have a dry pail and I wash them like normal laundry, but every once in a while, throw some vinegar/baking soda in there.  Also if you can hang them out to "sun" them it helps bleach them back and also get rid of the smell and makes them more absorbent.  Just remember to use detergent to wash them, do not bleach (it will eat the fabric) and no softener.   It will make them less absorbent. 



Oh and about washing them three times, what  a waste of water!!  I only wash mine once but if they are REALLY soiled, I will do a second wash.  But very rarely.  I don't let them sit long either.

Megan - posted on 02/19/2009

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I use a small trash can with a pail liner made of PUL. I wash about every day and a half. I do a cold rinse, followed by a hot wash with Allen's detergent with an extra rinse. I use my dryer on all of my diapers with no problems.

I used cloth from the start with this baby. She was 7lbs 8oz and the newborn diapers did seem huge on her, but at the beginning, I didn't need the covers because she didn't pee enough to soak through the entire thing right away.

I though doing cloth would be a hassle but maybe save me some money. I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I've saved a ton and it really is not a hassle at all. I'm home during the day so the extra laundry isn't that big of a deal. I won't be going back to paper. What a waste! My husband was on board at first because of the savings, but now, he has no trouble doing the diaper changes either.

Cassie - posted on 02/19/2009

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I have finially found a system that works great for me.  I keep all my dirty diapers in a bag untll wash day.  For poopy diapers I shake loose poop into the toilet, but I don't rince in the toilet.  On wash day I dump the entire bag of diapers and the bag into the wash.



Step 1: Cold rince with oxy clean.  If it is a really poopy batch I do two rinces.



Step 2: Hot wash with tide free and clear and about 1/8c of washing soda.



Step 3: Extra rince cycle (my machine has this setting, so it doesn't requre me to think about doing it)



Always use the highest wash setting.  I dry mine in the dryer in the winter and out on the line in the summer when the weather permits.



 



Also check out diaperswapper.com for more ideas and problem solving.

Taylor - posted on 02/19/2009

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Thank you all for your help! To clarify on what type of diapers I have, I have a trash bag full of mixed diapers that a friend gave me. So I really have no idea! I'll check out the cottonbabies site too. You moms are so helpful!!!

Allie - posted on 02/19/2009

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i in New Zealand, mine came with washing intructions. so i follow them, however i only started using my cloth naps at three months, good luck with your new baby

Lindsey - posted on 02/19/2009

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All of you questions depend on what type of cloth diapers you plan on using. I suggest you check out www.cottonbabies.com . There you can see all the types of cloth diapers and they will gladly answer any question you may have. I personally use BumGenius 3.0 because you can use the same diape from 8lbs to 35 lbs. and they look like a disposable diaper just a little bulkier. I bought a sprayer that ataches to the toilet and used that to spray the poopy diapers and then placed them in a wet bag (a big with a liner that doesn't leak) Honestly you don't have to use the sprayer if you have a regular washer- my mother has cloth diapers at her house and she never sprayed them off and her washer completely cleaned them, however my Whirlpool Duet Front loader never seemed to get a poopy diaper (that had not been sprayed off previously) cleaned. I use cloth wipes as well and put them in the wipe warmer with Kissaluvs wipe solution. As for my washing routine. I use Nellie's Laundry powder which I have had no problems with and it lasts forever! I have been using it for over 4 months and have over half a can left still. I wash my diapers in a cold cycle with detergent, the hot cycle with extra rinse with very little to no detergent. I dry everything (some inserts take a little longer to dry) in the dryer but if you can line dry them that is the best solution to get stains out naturally (you will be amazed). 

Mary - posted on 02/18/2009

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I just use prefolds.  I was them once on cold, once on hot.  I use the permanet press cycle on my machine cause it has two rinses (I'm not fancy enough to have an extra risne button. . but some day).  I use Charlie's soap to wash them (and I use it for all my laundry - I really love i!)  II really try to hang my diapers outside, even in the winter.  The sun bleaches the stains out and the fresh air really makes them smell good.  During winter they are often still wet when I bring them back in so I either throw them on a couple drying racks or toss them in the dryer on med or low.  I have only recently been putting them in the dryer more but I notice they have more wear and tear from it (but my dryer is kinda old).  If I can't hang the diapers out because of rain or what-not I hang them on two drying racks and put fans on them.  They usually dry in about a day that way.  If I dry them inside too often I do notice a slight smell but it has not gotten to the point where it really bothers me.



You did not ask this, but in case you were curious, if you are doing pre-folds you probably need about 2 dozen.  I have 3 dozen that  I share between my 2-year-old and my 6-month-old.  I wash about every third day but I could probably go 4-5 days before I actually ran out of clean diapers.



I do not soak my diapers in a wet bucket, but I do have a "Potty Pail" (aka bucket that fits on the toliet and kitchen sprayer attached to the back of the toliet so I can spray out the poopy diapers).  Of course, if a child is only breastfed, you do not have to spray out their diapers - the poop washes right out like yogurt.  But once they are on solids, then you need to spray 'em.  II just use a trash pail with a swinging lid to put my soiled diapers in.  The only time I might soak them is if I am planning to wash them the next morning and I know I will not need the washer for anything else before then.  Then I will throw them in the washer, let it fill and turn it off.  It is not really necessary but I figure it can't hurt.



I used cloth wipes with my babies when they are little and still breastfed because that way you don't have to worry about cleaning the wipes.  Once I started feeding them solids I switched back to disposables.  It's my one luxury item - hehe.  For my cloth wipes I just store them dry and have a pump thermos by the changing table.  Every day or two I fill the thermos with hot water.  Right before I need a wipe I pump warm water on it and use it.  I have never had a problem just using water to clean the babies - no diaper rash or anything.



Congrats on your second baby and good luck with the cloth.  Stick it out - you won't be disappointed!  (I'm currently on my third child in the same set of cloth diapers.)  And don't be afraid to follow your instinct when it comes to the details.



 



 



 



 

Allison - posted on 02/18/2009

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I go as simple as possible.

Dry bucket - I use an old trash can and put every in it until I'm ready to wash. A wet bucket needs to be emptied every day or diapers can get smelly or mildewy and it's a drowning hazzard for little ones. I don't see a benefit to a wet bucket, myself.

Cold wash with WinTree detergent - I use very little, like a Tablespoon at most for my HE frontloader. You want a detergent that has no additives, optical whiteners or brighteners, and is fragrance-free - I have also used All Free and Clear and have heard that ContrySave is very good.

I do an extra rinse (just push the extra rinse button on my washer) to make sure the detergent is all out. You don't want any suds to remain on the diapers at all as that can cause the urine smell to stick.

Dry in the drier set on medium.

Occasionally I will add vinegar to the rinse cycle (you can use a downy ball if you don't have a spot for it in your washer - mine has a spot for fabric softener, and I put in therel), if they are starting to smell, but I only do that maybe once a month. Once or twice I've also added baking soda to the wash for some extra smell issues.

I've not had any problems with drying in the drier, and I use velcro (BumGenius) as well as various covers that have velcro.

With regards to cloth wipes, I use my wipe warmer to put the solution in. I get HoneyChunks and dissolve in about 2 cups of hot water, then I just dip my wipes in there and ring out before I wipe up baby. For the diaper bag, I have a little bottle that I keep wipe solution in - it's a lot like the peribottles you get at the hospital, though I bought mine at Target in the travel health and beauty section. Then I just dump some water on the wipe as I need it.

I also have a wet bag - a bag that has a zipper and seals, so when we are out and I change a diaper I put it in there. I was using grocery sacks, but felt bad about trashing them. I just throw my wet bag in the washer occasionally with the diapers.

Good luck!

Erin - posted on 02/18/2009

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I have only used pocket diapers. I also started cding when my lil one was 8 mon. so I can’t speak on cding a newborn. I do a cold wash first to get all the poo off with no detergent. I then wash on hot with Planet detergent (use one with on enzymes, no fab softener, just free of anything) You can get a list of good detergents on the web (sorry I don’t have that info on hand). I then do 2 more hot rinses. I am a little rinses crazy. I do a dry bucket – everything comes clean with the first cold rinse so I don’t see the need to get the diapers wet. I have put my diapers in the dryer but have just moved to air-drying the Velcro ones but still dry the snap ones. The Velcro was starting to not stick anymore on my BG’s. Congrats on your new little one and have fun cloth diapering.

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