Our family took a trip last week. Determined to stay in cloth, I packed up every last thing resembling a diaper that I owned, along with some flip disposable inserts as back-up, and took to the road/ boat. There were a few things on the agenda, some doctor’s appointments, errands, grocery shopping, and a quick trip to see my sister in another town while we were at it. I knew it would be a few days until we hit my sister’s house, where we could wash our diapers, so we did our best to make what we had last until then, using a handful of disposable flips to get us through.
At any rate, this post is about laundry…so here we go. I AM SPOILED! HUMBLED! Incredibly lucky in laundry! Please don’t hate me, but its true!
I knew from reading other posts that I had it pretty easy, but didn’t realize quite how easy until I was forced to use my sister’s system. She cloth diapers, and boy is she far more dedicated than I think I would be! My sister has a very small, energy efficient, low water consumption, euro-style washer/dryer (dryer element doesn’t work though, so she has a separate dryer also). She coached me through her routine, which varies, as she said she never seems to be satisfied with how clean her diapers are and has frequent battles with “funk”. The necessary routine involves a couple full heavy wash cycles, often an overnight soak in there somewhere, adding extra water whenever possible, and as I discovered, a pretty small load size to be “successful”. Even then, I am certain I could see the difference in brightness in just that one washing. All the same, my diapers were “clean” and ready to get me through the rest of the trip.
Neither of my sons has ever really had a rash. Maybe a bit of chapping for a very short-lived period, but nothing to ever be concerned about and nothing that lasted. Well, it seemed I had to change much more frequently to avoid him chapping up a bit after our little visit. Hmm. In addition, the diapers son had pooped in still had some staining, a problem I have not had at home thus far…
When we were close to home, but still a day away, I was running out again, and we were stopping overnight at my sister-in-law’s. She had washer, and was willing, so I threw our diapers in one more time. Alas, I forgot my “special” detergent! With apprehension, I dribbled just the slightest amount of hers into the washer, and crossed my fingers. My diapers came out looking better than at my sisters, but I had a sense of dread, and couldn’t wait to get them home and back through my own system. Sure enough, I have had a few leaks and more rashy bum than ever. My diapers are now in my own washer, getting stripped with dawn.
So, how can I be so lucky? In my two diapering experiences, I have had an old but trusty top-loading washer (safe for a good dawn wash), apparently great water, and only struggled a bit with son #1 and the dreaded wet diaper funk and buildup. Since then I have learned the wonders of dawn, the benefits of the “right” detergent, an occasional stripping, and the blessing of a top-loading washer. Son 2 has been a breeze.
To encourage those of you who might be daunted by the prospect of cloth diaper laundry, and see all the stories of horror as I have, I would like to offer my own routine as a positive possibility. You just MIGHT get as lucky as I now know I am! I will keep my fingers crossed for all of you.
- Cold prewash (bf poop and all), sometimes with a small spoonful of detergent, sometimes not.
- If my diapers have been sitting extra long or seem extra dirty, I might do a cold wash cycle with soak instead of the prewash.
- Full heavy hot wash cycle with Charlie’s soap or Rubymoon
- Follow with an extra rinse cycle.
- Hang-dry shells, machine dry inserts…if it’s any consolation, my dryer is not as wonderful as my washer…nothing EVER gets dry with one cycle, not diapers, not baby clothes, nothing…but I will not complain!
My wash routine is easy, my diapers sparkly clean. I have had little to no staining in the diapering of 2 boys, in spite of the lack of Alaska sunshine for sunning diapers. I am lucky, and now I know it. It is easy for me to love cloth…for some of you, I commend your dedication and am in awe now of your love! Keep it up wonder-moms!
Lynnette Wright lives in remote Alaska, and is the lucky stay-at-home momma of boys ages 2 and 2 months. An originally reluctant convert to cloth, when not being entertained by her two boys, she likes to research new tricks and find deals on new diapers to “test” so that she can be a more fully educated advocate of cloth to others!