I would have to say the most intimidating aspect of cloth diapering for me was the laundry routine. I assumed if I thoroughly researched, read the reviews and listened to the expert advice I would find one simple, straightforward routine that would suit my needs perfectly. Yeah, okay, didn’t quite happen that way. Have you seen the information out there? It’s overwhelming, painfully detailed and sometimes contradictory.
I prefer simplicity so I took the most basic instructions I could find and started from there. The first couple of weeks were deceptively easy. I didn’t have any stink issues and my diapers were beautifully clean and fluffy. After a while, however, I started to get deep in the trenches of cloth diaper laundry. The inserts lost their fluffy whiteness and the pocket diapers got some build-up. My daughter was also growing and changing. Her diet evolved and her (eh-hem) output increased, especially overnight. My easy, perfect laundry system took some hits during this time and I had to do some trial and error to come up with my solutions.
I have also tried three different detergents at this point and feel confident, no, EXTREMELY confident that I have THE ONE! The first brand I used to wash my diapers was Charlie’s Soap. In the beginning I was very happy with the results, but after a while I noticed that my diapers were retaining some smell, even after many rinses. I then tried Planet liquid because it was available locally. It seemed to clean the diapers well, but I started to experience some build-up. I’m not sure if it was the Planet or something else, but I decided to switch. I will say, however, that I really like using Planet for the rest of the family’s laundry. After hearing great things about Rockin’ Green I gave it a try and I have been so happy with the results. My diapers come out smelling like…well…nothing! Fresh, clean nothingness.
Keeping it as simple as possible, the following is the cloth diaper laundry routine I use with my front loader:
- Cold Water Rinse (no detergent)-I use the “Rinse and Spin” cycle which will only allow a cold water rinse. If I haven’t rinsed all of my diapers after each diaper change I will do a “Quickwash” cycle as my rinse, which is 15 minutes longer and uses a bit more water.
- Hot Water Wash-I use the hottest setting with 2 Tablespoons of Rockin’ Green
- Rinse- Again I will do the “Rinse and Spin” cycle, but if I feel it was a particularly smelly or dirty load I will use the “Quickwash” cycle because it runs a little longer and I have the option of using warm or hot water.
- Dry-I will dry everything outside on my clothesline or in my dryer on a timed cycle (medium heat) for about 60-80 minutes. Depending on the load size and contents there are times when my bumGenius Organic all-in-ones won’t be completely dry after this cycle so I just take them out and hang them over my dryer to air dry the rest of the way.
Tips and Tricks I have learned along the way:
- Because my front loader adjusts the water level according to weight I will either throw a wet towel in with my diapers or I will rinse the inserts without ringing them out prior to washing to increase the weight.
- I use the low spin option during my initial cold water rinse for the same reason as above. By not spinning all of the moisture out of the diapers it makes my washing load a little heavier and the machine adds a bit more water.
- I almost always rinse my inserts after diaper changes. It’s not necessary, but it definitely helps prevent any strong odors on the diapers and in the diaper pail.
- I have 2 open plastic bins, one for my bathroom and one for my daughter’s room, to store dirty diapers. I find that keeping the diapers open to the air actually cuts down on smell (trust me, my mother would tell me if the diapers were starting to smell). I also like that I can quickly wipe the bins out after I toss everything in the wash and use them to cart my diapers out to the clothesline or to another room so I can stuff them.
–By Jennifer G.
Note: Kelly’s Closet recommends, for best results, to wash your diapers every other day. Wash the diapers on a short cycle cold wash with detergent, followed by a long cycle hot wash with detergent, and 1 additional rinse. Having troubles with funky smelling diapers? Check out our previous blog posts on stinky diapers!