In the scheme of things, I am still new to cloth diapers. We started back in November using them at home, and started full-time (sending them to day care also) about a month later. I know many people who have used them for years, across multiple children. But the fact that using cloth diapers means washing them as often as every other day, by now I am starting to feel like a pro!
Say I have used them solid for 5 months, that's as many as 75 loads of diaper laundry I've done! It took me quite a few of those loads to figure out a routine that will last the long haul - in fact, I still don't know if I'm out of the woods yet. I have experimented with rinses at the beginning, at the end, and more. But here's what I have been doing for several weeks that seems to pass the sniff test (aka - they smell clean when I am done, and don't smell like ammonia after they are peed on!):
* As a diaper is used, I rinse it in the sink or with my diaper sprayer in the toilet before putting it into the bag. This means, taking out the insert, running it under the water and squeezing it out once or twice, until the water is coming out clear. I fix the laundry tabs on the cover, if it's aplix. Then I put the pieces in the bag. I do this with all the day care dipes at once in the evening before bed.
* I do laundry every other day. Since everything is in the bag and has been rinsed and fixed, I simply dump it all into the washing machine with a scoop of Rockin' Green, and start a hot wash cycle. (I have a standard top load machine with no bells or whistles). Once the tub is filled, I stop the cycle, swish everything around to make sure it's all good and soakin, and let them soak as long as I have time for (this has been a game changer!), even overnight if I have enough diapers to get by. When I am ready to start the cycle, I push in the dial and let it go. My machine does a cool rinse on this cycle, I believe. Once it's totally done, I turn the dial back to a short, cold wash cycle and let that run through also. I don't put any detergent in this time. Finally, when that's done, I put the inserts in the dryer and hang up all the covers/shells to dry.
* During the week I do this process in the evening so that all those shells are dry by in the morning to be packed up for another day.
And that's it! Not a lot of labor, and effective. For now at least!
Guest writer Jessica W. also blogs at tangledupingreen.blogspot.com.