The second most popular question.


The second most popular question.

When working a cloth diaper outreach booth at a fair, people immediately touch the diapers and ask about how they work. After I've explained the cloth diaper equation (all diapers need two things - moisture absorbency + moisture resistance) and shown them a few different diapers, they dive into the next question, "so, how exactly do you CARE for the diapers?", with kind of a little wink/nod on the word "care". To answer the question, I come prepared. One of our Circle members put together a poster with pictures and captions describing the entire process from taking the diaper off the babe through washing, drying, and restocking, and the visuals are perfect for introducing the cloth diaper laundering process.

The fact is, basic care of simple, reusable cloth diapers is pretty straightforward. However, talk with a group of cloth diaperers long enough, and you'll find that many have run into some trouble laundering their diapers. There are many variables between diaperers - we're not all using flats and (optional) wool covers and washing by hand like our grandmothers did. Different diapering materials and how they're sewn together, a variety of washing machine types and routines, different detergent ingredients and formulations, variations in water type, baby health and skin sensitivities - - all these and more can have an effect on the diapers themselves, requiring each cloth diaperer to find the right combination of diaper and care routine that works best for them.

That said, there is a lot of advice out there amongst the experts. I have learned so much from the other moms in my Real Diaper Circle! Some of them have taken it upon themselves to conduct chemistry experiments in our particular water to help give local advice on detergents. Others generously share their methods for overcoming obstacles. Over the years, I've heard MANY tips and tricks for solving diaper care problems, and some of those have been so useful that they've become part of my initial introduction to diaper care.

Since many people don't have such a great support network, the Real Diaper Association continues the 100% Reusable Cloth Diapers campaign, which is intended to help people succeed with reusable cloth diapers in every situation. In each phase of the campaign, the RDA collects advice from the experts (parents!) and compiles it into a tip sheet for people struggling to overcome that obstacle. In the previous phases of the campaign, we've helped parents cloth diaper overnight and use cloth diapers while traveling. Now we'd like to help people identify the laundering process that will work for them.

If you've been cloth diapering for any amount of time, you've probably picked up a trick or two. Please contribute to the campaign by sharing your advice for caring for cloth diapers here. Thanks for your help!!

Looking for advice NOW on laundering your cloth diapers? Visit your local Real Diaper Circle or see what parents are recommending here

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Comments

  • by
  • Aug 04, 2010
We use a dry pail. We only rinse the poopy diapers right before the wash so that all the poopies from one day are processed all at once by spraying off in the toilet. I do a cold water wash with Home made laundry detergent (do to sensitive skin). Detergent is made with washing soda, borax, Zote soap and water. Because I live near the pan handle of Texas and we have really hard water I add extra borax to both the laundry soap recipe and to the diaper wash. First Wash Cold with Laundry detergent Second Wash Hot with 1/4 cup borax and 1-2 table spoons Laundry detergent First rinse plain water Second rinse add 1 cup white vinegar. I haven't had a problem with oder or stains. I dry in the dryer for 80 mins. With Line drying in the sun about 2-3 times a month. My diapers are home made from recycled fabric, and do not have PUL in them, They do have braided and or woven elastic I have been washing this batch of diapers for about 2.5 months at least every other day and there has been no problems with the elastic. I use prefolds that I lay in another diaper that has a sewn in insert.
  • by
  • Aug 04, 2010
We used mainly bumGenius one-size or prefolds with Bummis Super Whisper Wraps. We kept it really simple. Keep diapers in a dry pail after dumping solids. Wash once in cold water with a VERY small amount of All Free and Clear to remove the soil. Wash once more in hot water, again with a VERY small amount of All Free and Clear, to sanitize. We dried inserts and prefolds on the hottest setting in the dryer. We air dried all covers to save energy and to prolong the life of the covers. That's it. We never used any other additives, and we never had stinky diapers. We were able to keep using the same set of diapers all the way through to potty training. The Bummis wraps also carried over into covers for his cloth training pants.
  • by
  • Aug 04, 2010
I've diapered twins for 2 years now...so I've had lots of opportunity for trial and error. What I learned is that if it is not easy you aren't going to keep up with it...I cut regular no-pill fleece, that was leftover from a project, into 4x12 inch rectangles and line my prefolds and bumgenius to make the poopies really easy to take care of...it usually just falls off and if not a quick dunk in the toilet does the trick. I had trouble with stinky diapers at first. My fancy High efficiency washer just wasn't doing the job...due to the amount of diapers that 2 babies produce, I was having to wash every 2-3 days and it was just too many diapers and would take 3 wash cycles to get clean and they would still stink...I cut down to every two days so there were less diapers and I start a rinse cycle but don't let it spin (3-4 min) and then start my cold wash so that the diapers are all wet when the cycle starts. Then I run the hot load...I dry the prefolds in the dryer and the covers I dry in the laundry room on a hanger that is made to hang 4 pairs of pants..hangs 16 covers total.

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