Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Questions about washing?

You've ordered your SoftBums, anxiously stalked your postman, and now they are here. 

You rip open the box, anxiously sorting, feeling the softness, playing, adjusting and showing everybody you know your new diapers.  

Now what?!


I got the official answer on how to prep pods from our wonderful (other) Megan at customer service.  

Prepping Diapers
I've included prepping and washing instructions for your reference below. You may also refer to our online cloth diaper booklet for more information about SoftBums. You may view it here: http://www.softbums.com/assets/Reusable-Diaper-Information-Booklet.pdf

Prepping Diapers

Only the inserts need to be washed 3-5 times before using them (they will not reach maximum absorbency until about 10 washes). Please note that it's best to wash synthetic and natural fibers separately for the initial prepping (microfiber and bamboo). They can be washed together after being prepped because the natural oils will be removed at that point.

For the first wash, use 1/2 of the recommended amount of detergent and wash on hot. Then wash again on hot with no detergent a few more times to prep them. Finally, dry like normal. You do not need to dry them in between each wash. Simply wash over and over again and then put them in the dryer when you're done prepping them. It's important to wash your diapers on hot. If your washer has a hot/cold setting that will work just fine too. The shells only need to be washed once. After you wash the shells for the first time, you will want to seal the sewing holes by drying them once on hot for 10 minutes.

When washing/drying the diapers once you're using them, you can lengthen the shell's lifespan by hanging them to dry most or part of the time. If you decide to dry the shells in the diaper, you'll want to dry on low to medium (not high).

SoftBums Recomended Washing Instructions:

-Make sure the water level is high when you wash diapers
-Also make sure water temp is on hot (you may even want to turn up your water heater)
-Use 1/4 of the recommended amt.
-wash once on cold with detergent,
-once on HOT w/ no detergent, and dry.
*Optional (and I suggest this for smell/build up issues) Try using more laundry detergent than suggested (about 1/2 recommended amount instead of 1/4) and do an extra rinse

Please note that we do not recommend products such as bleach, oxy clean, bac out, and vinegar because they are harsh on the materials in SoftBums diapers. Also, many natural detergents have natural softeners & oils that can cause build up (which leads to smells and leaks).

If you have an HE Front Loader:
It's very important to make sure there is enough water in the washing machine. That's usually the problem with HE washers. They don't add as much water as top loaders and therefore don't rinse the diapers as well, and don't get them as clean as top loaders. So you have to trick the washer into adding as much water as possible.

These settings are for the "LG Front Loader" :
Wash twice.
First Cycle: Cold Speedwash no detergent - no spin - heavy soil.
Second Cycle: - BULKY - stain cycle - EXTRA rinse - WITH 1/2-3/4 Tablespoons of Rockin Green, or Purex Free and Clear.

If your washer doesn't have these settings, or options to add more water, you can add water by hand in through the detergent drawer, or put the diapers in wet so the sensor thinks there are more clothes and adds more water to the cycle. You can also add some towels to the load to add more weight (so the washer will add more water).

Confused...don't worry, it will be okay!  Just remember these few things when you're starting...

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER use fabric softener
Limit additives like oxiclean, brightners, etc
More water less soap is the rule to live by when washing diapers

The question of:
What kind of soap should I use?
Is common and is personal.  There are many choices and depending on your water and what you like, the choice is yours.  We recommend several to our users including: 
We recommend Purex Free & Clear. Anything with oxygenating additives or whiteners will slowly ruin your diapers. Borax, vineger, and softeners should NEVER be used.  Bleach needs to only be used once in a while (maybe 2x a year) if you're having serious issues and NEVER on your shells.  Baking soda in the first wash will help to de-odorize them, but you shouldn’t need it often.  Every once in a while, or if your diapers are stinky after washing, you may need to strip them. Also you might try soaking in the washer for a few hours or overnight if your diapers are getting stinky.
Other soaps like:
Rockin' Green
Charlies Powder
Soap Nuts
Are popular among our users.
Use what works for you, but remember you only need a very little amount.  Too much soap results in buildup, stink, leaks and frustration!  More water!

At my house I will use about 1/2" in the purex free cap, first wash on cold and large (biggest load setting=most water), then 2 cycles of hot without detergent.  If my diapers are super dirty (tummy aches, or too many blueberries) I will wash 2x on cold and use about half the detergent the second cold wash as the first then 2x on hot.  I may even stop the washer 15 minutes into the 1st hot cycle to let them soak in the hot water for a while, the restart and finish my routine.

Everybody has a different routine, and I promise you will find your own that works for you!  We are here to help you until you have your routine down pat and then you will have advise for us!

Then there is something I keep hearing about STRIPPING?
I wrote a post about stripping diapers here

Basically, stripping your diapers means washing them a bunch of times to remove any build up on your diapers, it is something to consider if you're having repelling issues, smelly issues, or leaks.  Remember you only need to strip your pods, not shells.  

More questions, please ask!  Also, we have a new FAQ page here

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  1. Thank you for clarifying that we only need to prep the inserts. It's very confusing that the shells actually only need to be washed once since on every tag attached to each shell it says, "PREWASH: 2-4x on HOT with detergent."

  2. Thanks for the post! I see it a lot where people say to use "half (or a quarter) of the recommended detergent." We use Nellie's Laundry Soda, which is highly rated for cloth diapers - there's a 1 tablespoon measurer that comes with it... should we only use 1/4-1/2 of that? It's powder, not liquid, if that makes a difference.
    My son is 5 months tomorrow and we've been cloth diapering since birth with the following outline: Rinse on warm (just switched to rinse on cold); Wash on hot; 2 rinses on warm, hang to dry - except inserts, we will either sun or dry on high.

    It's been working well, I just don't want to build up residue in the new SoftBums we bought! Thank you!

  3. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.

  4. This is a nice post you sharing. Thank you for your good experience shared with us.Most important one is your story was dramatic.