Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So. Other big questions people ask when they hear about cloth diapers...

"Doesn't that take a lot of time?"
"Ick! You have to rinse diapers!?"
"Don't they stink?"

After I dislodge those old ideals, people ask:
"How to you wash them so they stay so white!?"
"When do you do your laundry?"
"How many do you have and where can I get them?"

We all know how to do laundry. Sometimes it can be a pain, but generally laundry=easy! Load washer, add detergent, turn knob, start. Then we wait 45 minutes, put in dryer and an hour later we have clean clothes! It's not like the 'good 'ol days' with a wash board, lye, a lake, then a ringer (my mom had an antique one when I was a kid...I can't tell you how many times I got my finger rolled over).

Diapers are just as easy, they take an extra 45 minutes to wash, but no big deal.

Rotate diapers:

(Now...Mason is 5 months now and still only breastfed, so we are still at the very runny wet stool period in his life, so keep that in mind as I write.)

If every time a cover gets wet it HAD to be washed, diapers would be a lot more work. But, the great thing about SoftBums is that the cover can be re-used several times before washing. There is a rotation to diapers that makes life a lot easier. When I change Mason, if the cover is only wet, no stool on it, I hang it over the end of the changing table to dry. I use a new cover and insert. By the time he needs his next diaper change, that cover is usually dry and ready to go. Just plop a new insert in and away you go. Sometimes that diaper isn't always dry when you come back to do your next diaper change, in that case, just grab a new cover and insert and hang that one over the changing table and away you go. By the next time you come back your other cover(s) will be dry. This rotation can be kept up until a diaper gets "dirty".

When a cover gets dirty, simply unsnap the insert, open the diaper and fold the velcro tabs over on themselves. This way they don't stick to the other diapers or cloth wipes in the laundry, and you don't have to sort through the dirties while putting them in the washer. Toss into your dirty bucket and wait for laundry day. I NEVER rinse my diapers. Rinsing is gross and in my experience so far, leads to staining. If I just toss them in the dirty bucket and wash they get so clean and no staining. However, make sure if your baby is producing solid poos dump those off in the toilet then proceed to washing.

Doing this rotation I can USUALLY use a cover 2-3 times before it gets dirty. My baby is very regular so I try to put a already used cover on him so then that will get dirty, not a new one. Sometimes I have a lucky cover get on baby 3-5 times before it gets dirty, and they sometimes get stinky. If this happens it just gets tossed into the dirty bucket, even though it isn't 'dirty'.

The washing process:
When I bought my diapers I was quizzing Sarah on what to use to wash the diapers. I have an OLD SCHOOL washer. It is a pile! The center thing comes out and bangs against the top while spinning. :) So if my washer can get stuff clean, so can yours! I use Purex Free and Clear. From what Sarah was saying it is only soap, no softeners, fragrance, and no dyes. One important thing is that you should NEVER USE SOFTENER! It will not make your diapers any softer, it will make them less absorbent! It will almost put a film on your diapers.

I do laundry when I have about 3 covers left, or about 8 inserts. Generally I run low on covers before inserts. This way I don't have to hurry doing laundry. I can take my time and know I have enough for 4-5 hours. So, on laundry day, I bring my bag of dirties down the stairs (usually with Mason in tow). Toss them in the washer. Start the washer on LARGE and COLD. I add about a quarter of a cap of Purex and about 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda. I love using baking soda, it really helps completely deodorize them, but is completely optional. Close the cover and wait.

When I come back, I usually don't bring Mason because the washer has usually jumped a foot from where it was (like I said my washer is junk!)! I push it back, then restart it on HOT (do not use warm, warm may lead to color bleeding) and LARGE and wait. If for some reason I only have a small load of diapers, I will wash the first cycle in cold and large but the second in hot and small/medium. Just to save energy and hot water. I usually do this if I am only washing about 5 covers and 10-15 inserts.

After this second wash cycle, I toss them in the dryer, on Hot/Normal and wait. I have a gas dryer, which generally dries clothes a lot faster. I think gas dryers get hotter. But here is where you can bring them out an line dry them. After you line dry, I suggest tossing them back in the dryer to soften up...10 minutes on hot. Throwing in a damp towel (one you may have used after your shower), really helps them soften up.

After they are dry, I bring them up to fold. I put inserts in each cover, and fold my inserts how I like them, put them in their crates and I'm done. A lot of times lately I fold after Mason is asleep and Jon and I are watching TV in bed.

That's it. Done. If I pushed myself and did it all straight it would take about 2.5 hours start to finish. While it takes that long to wash, it only takes about 20 minutes MAX of our time.

I keep forgetting to take pictures when I do laundry. I will do it next time, and take pictures of my rotation system.

If you have comments or questions, please either leave a comment after the posting or on the blog there is a spot to ask questions. Right now it is on the left hand side, but I may move it...
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  1. Thanks for this post. I think one of the biggest questions newbies have is how to lauder the cloth diapers. I'll have to try out the baking soda tip :)

  2. This was a really helpful post, I think a lot of people have misconceptions on how the laundry is done for cloth diapers. I know when I first started reading up on CDing, the laundry and all the opinions on different deteregents, etc, wee one of the things that almost scared me away! I wish I had only saw this then! Oh and I have a 5 month old ebf baby as well! Maybe you can do an update on laundry once you start solids...because I have a feeling that will be a whole other journey....!! :)

  3. This was a great post on simplifying the wash routine! Washing was the one thing that scared/confused me the most as I started CDing and wish I had read this then!

  4. Oh thanks for this! I was my Cloth diapers in Lil' Outlaws detergent :) It's amazing!

    This is very helpful, especially since I always wonder if I am doing things wrong, being a newbie to CDing and all! Awesome post!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. About how many cover and inserts do you have to keep up with the diapering while you wait to launder.

  6. Thanks for this post! I was sort of dreading the rinse and wash routine starting cloths again! Now, that we are giving some solids to DS, I was really worried about how much extra work it would be! It doesn't seem bad at all!

  7. Thanks for this post....I am just starting to try CDing out so i dont have a clue what i am doing yet :)