Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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Making Fluff Look White and Bright

We all love the look of brand new, soft, clean fluff in our mail box, right? It can sometimes be so difficult to keep it looking that fresh and new, especially after several months of repeated use. I've found several things to do to keep my 15 month old cloth diaper stash looking white and bright. First of all, I try and rinse off the diapers immediately after a diaper change. Second, I don't let the dirty diapers sit in the pail for more than 3 days. Then, in addition to my normal wash routine, I try and strip them using OxiClean (regular, not the "free" or baby versions) every three weeks or so. This not only helps keep buildup to a minimum, it also helps whiten the inserts as well as the liner of my pocket diapers.

During the summer, I also have another trick that works wonders...the sun. I love hanging my diapers out on the line to dry in the sunshine - they bleach naturally and any left over stink that has built up usually just disappears. Since line drying tends to make the diapers and inserts a bit rough and "crunchy", I toss them in the dryer for a few minutes to fluff before I fold/stuff them for use again. I've noticed my hemp inserts in particular get extra crunchy, so I usually just fold and squish it in my hands before tossing it in the dryer. The inserts don't come into contact with my son's skin therefore I'm not too worried if it isn't as soft as if I had dried it in the dryer to begin with. By following this routine, I not only have extra clean looking diapers, I also save some money by not running the dryer as much in the summer time.

-- By Katrina W.

Disclaimer: Some manufactures do not approve the use of OxiClean with their products. Please be sure to check with your diaper manufacturer regarding approved detergents, additives, etc.

34 comments:

Senior Family said...

great post ! the sun does wonders :) thanks for sharing your tips !

jennbergerbrown said...

Good tip - I need to get a line up!

ih0ney said...

Aww yeah I want to sun dry them but I live in an apartment :( How much oxyclean do you use when you strip them? I've always wanted to try but am a little hesitant 'cause I dont know how much to use!

dannyscotland said...

I must force my husband to install a clothesline of some kind in my yard.

Amy said...

drying in the sun seems to be THE best for keeping the diapers looking white and clean around here!

Ammie said...

Great post. I use the sun, and I've started using OxiClean (again) as of yesterday. I am so grateful for these tips!

dotcomkari said...

I love the effect sunshine has on diapers.. makes them like brand new! works on getting light stains out of your favorite outfits too!

Thank you for such a wonderful post!

Jenney said...

Yeah, I don't look forward to the winter and months of keeping my diapers out of the out-of-doors.

The McDougles said...

Thanks for sharing your tips!

hosiewosie said...

love clothesline pictures!

TeamOSM said...

I love line drying, but it has rained here for at least ten days...sad!

Great post...thanks!

Lisa said...

I've never had to use anything like Oxyclean on mine. I try to hang them out in the sun whenever possible, and I have no stains on any of them.

Tamara said...

I was wondering about oxyclean, nice to know that it can be done.

Anna said...

I love hanging my diapers out in the sun during the summer too!

Day to Day Tripper said...

Thanks for sharing your tips. We've had trouble with smell for the first time in 5 years of cloth diapering. I think I might try your idea and see if it helps.

Gini said...

Great tips! I need to try the Oxy and put them out in the sun. I dont have a lot of diapers and they look like they need some better maintanance.

The Smith Family said...

I was just thinking about this issue today. It has been overcast and threatening to rain for two weeks now so I've been going crazy trying to get my fluff white and bright. Hopefully it will be sunny next week!

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

The Smith Family: Go ahead and put your diapers out even on an overcast day. It's the sun's UV rays that do all the work... the UV rays still make it through the clouds on overcast days (which is why they say it's especially important to wear sunscreen on overcast days because although you can't see it - the effects of it are still present). =)

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

How much OxiClean?

Depends heavily on what type of washing machine you have - for a top loader you can do 1 - 2 full scoops (each scoop is 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons). For a front loading machine I recommend no more than 1-2 tablespoons (just make sure you're only putting in the OxiClean and no additional detergent otherwise there will be too many suds).

And, as always - rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse some more!

tamsinite said...

We sun our covers - it even gets the elastic nice and white! It's good to know about OxiClean too, we may have to try it once winter hits.

Cari said...

Love sunning my diapers! Does Oxyclean Free work or does it have to be the regular?

Talina said...

My diapers stain every time I was them and they need to be sunned every darn time! I must be doing something wrong.

When I started using OxiClean on my BG 3.0 the started to repel and leak, not sure if it was because of the OxiClean or something else. This is all new to me.

Melissa said...

waiting for my clothes line to be installed!! :o)

Christina's Cookies said...

I LOVE hanging my dipes in the sun! I really don't have much choice because we have to do a ton of rewiring before we can get my dryer hooked up in our "new" old house :(

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

Cari: We only recommend using the "regular" OxiClean Versatile. We do not recommend the other formulations, including the baby version.

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

Talina: Stains are a bit pesky to look at but so long as the diapers are clean they're primarily just a cosmetic nuisance.

What version of OxiClean did you use? And, more importantly how much OxiClean were you using?

I haven't had any issues using OxiClean - but I only use (and recommend) 1 tablespoon for a front loading machine or 1-2 tablespoons for a top loading machine.

It's also important to note that when you're using OxiClean it should be the only thing you're using in that particular wash load... so we recommend doing a short cycle cold wash first - with the OxiClean. Then follow with a hot water wash with your cloth diaper friendly detergent.

I hope this helps!

Jessica Barr said...

I just got into a living situation where I am able to line dry! YAY for me!!!! Thanks for your post and tips!

Andrea said...

How much oxyclean do you put in? I tried to make an make shift cloths line, we don't have room but it doesn't work very well.

Lindsay said...

I never even thought about line drying cloth diapers. I was worried about pollens to be completely honest. It is a good tip though, thanks for sharing!

Amanda, Jake, and Parker Patow said...

I am always amazed how well (and fast) the sun takes out stains! But, I have heard that it makes the elastic dry out and break, so I only do it occasionally.

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

Amanda: The main thing that causes elastic to wear out is excessive heat - and pulling on the elastic when it's warm. Usually the diapers aren't out in the sun long enough to heat the elastic to the point of wearing it out/damaging it. So long as you dry the diaper for a moderate period of time (a couple hours) then it shouldn't really cause any significant damage. Sun drying would definitely be gentler on the diapers as opposed to the dryer.

Becky said...

Wow. I'm glad to hear (through the comments) that I'm not the only one who deals with staining. My little one's diapers have them everywhere! Even after sunning. Thank you for your tips and all of the interesting comments. I'll have to work on my de-staining (even though it's solely cosmetic)!

Ryan, Corrie, and Max said...

Ooooh I will try the Oxiclean tomorrow, if the original is what we have downstairs! Every time I want to put mine out to sun, it rains. I'm not even kidding.

Crissy said...

I need to get a line up too, I have a few diapers that really need some sunning and I would just like to use the sun more than our dryer. I do occassionally set them out on our patio table to sun.