Friday, December 31, 2010

How to Launder Cloth Diapers

First, the question that weighs heavily on the mind of anyone considering cloth diapers:

What do I do with the poop?

If your baby receives ONLY breastmilk - no solids and no formula - the diapers can go straight into the diaper pail (and subsequently the washing machine) as is. It's okay. Promise.

If your baby eats anything other than breastmilk, you'll need to get as much poo poo in the potty as possible before the diapers make it into the washer.Do so as soon as possible to minimize staining. Getting the poop out can be done in three ways:

  • A diaper sprayer - For the days when the poop is still not quite solid, a diaper sprayer is handy. It hooks up to the toilet. It's easy to make a poopy mess with a diaper sprayer, so remember EASY DOES IT. The package says it can also be used as a bidet. Just in case you've always wanted a bidet.
  • Swishing it around in the potty - I think this is yucky. I got a diaper sprayer so I could avoid it. Let's not talk about it anymore.
  • Shaking it off into the potty - Since the poop has become solid, this is what we do. It's as simple as letting it roll into the bowl. No biggie.
Now that you've got poop off your mind (or maybe not. If you still have poop questions, send 'em my way), here are instructions for both top and front loading machines. If you have a top-loading machine, hooray for you. I've used both during my diapering career and prefer the top-loading. If you have a front-loading, that's okay, too. It'll work just fine.

Top-Loading Instructions:
1. Empty your diaper pail into the washing machine, being sure to turn your pail liner inside out.
2. Run a cold soak cycle.
3. Run a hot cycle with a cold rinse. Add your detergent at this point. As I've said before, I prefer a detergent specifically for diapers, like Tiny Bubbles. DO NOT add fabric softener. If you do, you'll be so stinkin' sorry. Also, no bleach.
4. The diapers should be good to go into the dryer at this point. If you feel you must, run another cold rinse.
5. Diaper covers need to be hung up. All prefolds, liners, doublers, etc. go into the dryer.

Front-Loading Instructions:
1. Empty the diaper pail into the washing machine, being sure to turn your pail liner inside out.
2. Run a cold rinse cycle.
3. Add detergent. Again, I recommend a diaper detergent. NO FABRIC SOFTENER. No bleach, either. If your washer has an extra rinse setting, push that button. If it doesn't, you'll need to do an extra rinse after the wash cycle.
4. Run a hot cycle with a cold rinse.
5. See Step 3 about further rinsing.
6. Diaper covers need to be hung up. All prefolds, liners, doublers, etc. go into the dryer.

Now back to poop. It stains. Even if you spray if off as soon as you change the diaper. Not to worry, though, friends. Enter the handy dandy clothesline. If you leave your stained diapers out in the sun, the poop stains will bleach out. Yes, it's that easy. You can actually dry your diapers on the clothesline any ol' time to save energy on drying, but I'll be honest with you. I've done the drying on the clothesline thing exactly once because it's pretty much impossible to make it outside with two babies safely, let alone keep them occupied while I hang one million diapers, lug everything/everyone back into the house, keep checking for dryness... you get the picture. But I bet it would be easier with one. Maybe even a nice little escape from the house.
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