I have four children and two dogs so you can imagine that my washing machine is almost always going. Add in my cloth diaper laundry and, rest assured, our laundry room is a hubbub of constant activity. When I first started thinking about cloth diapering, my biggest concern was laundry. Little did I know that adding cloth diaper laundry to my to-do list would actually make my laundry system easier, not harder.
I must admit that I probably have enough underwear for my children to go three or four weeks without a clean undies emergency. In my mind, there is always something a “little less dirty” that can be pulled (in an emergency…) out of the hamper and thrown on a child as they head out the door to school or camp. Am I wrong? As long as there is a handy supply of clean underwear, I found myself pushing off and pushing off laundry. And, as the piles grew steadily larger, the task became seemingly more insurmountable.
Enter cloth diapers. Having 1 (or 3) children in cloth diapers has completely changed my approach to laundry. Knowing that no good will come from letting a diaper pail sit for too long or simply running out of my favorite cloth diapers, has spurred me to action! Getting into a routine of doing a cloth diaper load of laundry every 2 to 3 days has helped me get everyone else’s laundry in and out of the laundry room in a timely fashion.
Now, even my three year old is in on the laundry action. If you have front loading washing machines, why not let the kids transfer the laundry from washer to dryer or dryer to laundry basket? Sorting and folding laundry has become a quick group activity and everyone is at the ready when I hand them their laundry basket and tell them to take all the clothes out of the hamper, turn them inside out, and check for stickers. (Stickers… the enemy of a good laundry day!)
In order to get some help if my husband or the babysitter is wandering by the laundry room, I put up a little sign to let them in on my cloth diaper laundry process:
WASHING CLOTH DIAPERS:
1.) Check that all velcro laundry tabs are secure.
2.) Add about 1 scoop of Charlie’s Laundry Powder on top of the diapers.
3.) Set the wash to HANDWASH CYCLE. Extra Rinse. No Spin. Cold.
4.) Let the diapers soak for a bit after the wash is done – no need to rush back.
5.) After the first cycle is finished… Add in about 1/2 a scoop of Charlie’s powder to the wash. Set the wash to STAIN CYCLE. Extra rinse. Hot.
DRYING CLOTH DIAPERS
1.) Separate out all the pockets and covers from the inserts, burp cloths, liners, and hemp flats.
2.) Check to make sure that all the velcro tabs are still in place and that the diapers are not attached together.
3.) Put the inserts, liners, flats, etc. in the dryer and heat on HIGH HEAT.
4.) After the inserts, etc. are mostly dry, add the pockets and toss on LOW HEAT or FLUFF (how appropriate!) for about 5 to 10 minutes.
See? Not too hard at all… There is no need to fear the laundry monster!
by Erin Brighton in Charlotte, NC