Disclaimer – I’m not an expert at cloth diapering at all. Only been in it 2 months with Viv (though LB has been using cloth pull ups at night for about 6 months). But here’s my 2 cents on wash routine
Before I knew anything about wash routines I threw LBs cloth pull ups and inserts into a heavy duty wash with some detergent and called it a day. I didn’t have any issues except a slight stink. But that was just a few months, and I need vivs diapers to last years.
So here we are.
There’s a ton of routine advice out there, and even fb pages you can put a pic of your washer in and they’ll give you a routine to use. I found my routine online from someone with our same washer.
First things first – storing dirty diapers. I store mine in a wet bag. I have 3, 1 hanging in the laundry room, 1 in a dekor diaper pail, and 1 I’ve somehow fit in our old diaper genie.
If your baby is exclusively breastfed you do not have to rinse poop diapers. Once they start any solids or formula, you’ll have to spray those diapers off first or use a liner. After spraying (or not spraying lol) separate the inserts from the pocket diapers (For more info on diaper types see the previous post in the series) and fold back the tabs on any hook and loop diapers (so the Velcro doesn’t snag on other diapers). (This part is gross so some mommas do it after the prewash).
Most cloth mommas do 2 washes on wash day. A quick prewash to get the icky off (because poo. Yuck). Some believe doing this on cold is best so that stains don’t set in. And then a long, heavy duty cycle on warm or hot. You can’t put covers or water proof materials in the dryer on high, so you can either hang those or tumble on low.
Stains can be treated by drying in the sun. It 100% works (look at the results of 1 hour of sunning vivs newborn diapers before passing on to other mommas).
As far as detergents, there’s tons specifically for cloth but most mommas use tide powder or liquid. You cannot use fabric softener (it makes the diapers repel water instead of absorb). And bleach should be reserved for occasional stripping if there’s any issues.
The only routine additive to cloth diaper laundry should be Calgon or borax if you know or suspect you have hard water. Don’t know? Take a sample to a pet store for free testing. Or ask a momma friend who has been doing cloth in your area. Hard water can cause mineral build up which makes diapers STINK and you’ll need to strip it that happens.
Soft water sometimes requires extra rinses during washes 😊
So that’s wordy but simple enough. Start out easy. Quick wash on cold with tide, heavy duty wash on warm or hot with tide. AddItive if you have hard water. Hang dry or tumble dry. Then stuff, fold and admire.
Worry about the other stuff if you start having issues 😊
For a visual – here’s my settings for prewash and main wash.
What’s your wash routine like? Happy washing!