cloth diapering comes up in a conversation, people will say, "oh, that's neat. So you have a service come and pick up the diapers every week?" When I tell them, no, I just do the laundry at home, they're often surprised (I'm still amazed at all the outdated misconceptions about cloth diapering out there!)
Laundry, I'll admit, was one of my biggest worries when I thought about cloth diapering. Would I be able to get them clean enough? Would my washing machine get...shudder...poo buildup? What if I accidentally used the wrong detergent?
I'm happy to say, however, that it isn't nearly as hard to learn as I thought. Yes, there's a bit of a learning curve if you're used to just washing clothes (for example, never use fabric softener on your diapers if you don't want buildup that causes them to repel moisture, and don't constantly dry the covers on high, or it will break down the PUL or elastic), but there are tons of resources online to help you find the routine that works best for you. Online forums are great when you have questions, since many cloth-friendly moms are happy to help. In my case, I learned things about my own washer and dryer from just reading the manual that I had no idea existed...there's all sorts of "modes" on that thing that hadn't been used 'til I started cloth diapering. Having a front loader, I wasn't aware that it used a lot less water, and I needed to use my washer's "water plus" feature to make sure my diaper loads were soaked enough.
I think the hardest part of it for me has actually been remembering to do the laundry in the first place...when it was just my husband and I, we rarely did much laundry. Now that our son is adding to the basket, I have to plan out my day a little more, and think ahead. There have been a few times when I've gone to change his diaper and realized, oops, I've only got one clean one left! Luckily, I was saved by an easily rinsible Thirsties Duo cover and a microfiber towel while I quickly did a giant load. I try to stay on top of it and do a diaper load every other day or maybe every two days at most. I haven't had too many problems with buildup yet, since I've been careful to use only cloth-friendly detergent. The only time I've had to "strip" my dipes was when we used a non-cloth-friendly diaper cream, and it stuck to the microfiber. Whoops! A soak in the tub with dish detergent and a few wash cycles fixed that. But otherwise, it's been a fairly simple process.
Plus, folding prefolds and stuffing pockets fresh from the dryer gives me an excuse to sit down and watch my guilty pleasure reality tv shows... it's multitasking, right? ;)
Would you like to be a contributor on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer? We're always looking for creative writers who would like to share their cloth diapering tips. To find out more Contact Us