GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR STASH OF CLOTH DIAPERS!
One size cloth diapers will fit until potty training, but is it an unreal expectation that they will last that long? or for 2 children? Cloth diapers are worn and washed far more often then your every day clothing. Because of this they are subject to much more wear and tear. Many factors play into the life expectancy of a cloth diaper, here are some normal wear and tear examples and what you can do to extend the life of your diapers.
Staining is inevitable. You'll first see stains on your brand new diapers and worry that your diapers are not clean, or will stay looking like that forever! DON'T WORRY! Staining is normal, and usually washes out eventually. It does NOT mean that your diapers are not clean. Try to relax about staining, and just enjoy your baby. Try sunning your diapers (for 20 minutes max on bamboo)for a natural whitener instead of harsh stain removal products which can damage fibers. Never soak your diapers in bleach for stain removal, doing so will degrade every part of your diaper.
WEAR ON Hook & Loop (Velcro)
Hook & Loop will eventually get fuzzy. Line dry your shells. You can throw them in the dryer from time to time and they won't "die", however it only takes a second to pull your shells out of the washer and hang them to dry. Most of our customers just use a collapsible dry-rack and hang the shells on there. They will dry overnight. Your worst enemy for Shells is HIGH HEAT! high heat can degrade Hook&Loop over time. You might notice fuzz, hair, or thread gets caught in the "hook" side, this is easy to clean using a toothpick! If its time to replace the hook and loop SoftBums sells their high quality Hook&Loop replacements HERE.
Relaxed elastics happen over time but can also be weakened by heat and chemicals. Line dry Shells when possible, if you machine dry never turn your dryer up past medium heat. Allow your shells time to cool after the dryer, stretching hot elastics can weaken them. Avoid bleach, borax, vinegar and other harsh chemicals that damage elastics. SoftBums elastics are easy to replace. You can purchase quality elastic from SoftBums HERE.
Pilling on the inner of any fleece lined diaper is normal with use. Pilling around Hook&Loop strip is also common with use because the H&L is rubbing the outer PUL, but being careful when you attach wings can help minimize that pilling. Piling/pulls from the Hook&Loop can also happen if you forget to firmly secure the Hook&Loop to the washer tabs. These issues are generally cosmetic and will not effect function.
HOLES AND THINNING
Over time natural fibers can develop holes/balding. Following the recommended washing routine will help extend the life of your natural fibers, however there are many reasons holes or balding can happen prematurely. Having a small stash and washing often puts extra wear on any diaper part that would not happen with a larger stash. Natural fibers cannot not withstand extreme washing conditions like very hot water or dryer temperatures, SoftBums recommends washing in water temperatures under 140 degrees and drying on low or medium. Soaking in vinegar or bleach and stripping/sanitizing often will degrade fibers, which causes holes.
Another place that can develop holes is on rise snaps, which are part of most One-Size diapers. Luckily this is not a problem with SoftBums thanks to the unique Slide2Size technology.
CONCLUSION + TIPS
- Cloth Diapers are worn and washed so many times, because of this they will wear out faster then regular clothing. They are not made of steel!
- Having a large stash will help reduce the wear and tear on your diapers, extending the life of your diapers. 18-24 one-size Diapers may not be enough to last through potty training, and it's okay to add more. In the old days people had around 50 diapers!!
- Natural fibers wear out faster then synthetics. If this bothers you, stick to DryTouch synthetic fibers instead, which can be a good workhorse Pod and will not develop holes or thinning as easily as natural fibers.
- Holes aren't pretty but PODs with holes or thinning are usually still completely functional.
- DITCH THE DRYER AND HANG ALL SHELLS, & BAMBOO PODS
- DON'T DRY BAMBOO IN FULL SUN. Bamboo is a delicate fiber and 10 min here and there is ok, but longer in direct hot sun will erode the bamboo fibers.
- Anything with elastic should be hung to dry, aside from sealing the seams, this will extend the life of the elastics.
- NEVER SOAK DIAPERS! Especially do not soak in bleach, vinegar or other cleaners.
- DO NOT USE VINEGAR, OXYCLEAN, OR OTHER ADDITIVES
- Use the natural whitening of the sun for staining.
- WASH OFTEN! Letting diapers sit for a long time dirty will make it much harder to get them really clean.
Storing your diapers long term
Store your clean cloth diapers in a temperature and humility controlled space, like a closet or under the bed, in a breathable container. Make sure your diapers are very dry when you pack them away so they will not mildew. Sun stains and make repairs before you store, you'll thank yourself in the long run.
I have a large stash and I find it helpful to rotate my diapers by putting my clean diapers to the bottom or back of my storage system. This helps make sure each diaper is used evenly, which reduces overall wear. All cloth diapers are subject to wear and tear, but My SoftBums diapers have lasted a long time using some of these simple methods! Many SoftBums Diapers that belonged to my older daughter are still being used on our youngest and have a lot of life left! I have replaced elastics on a couple, but that was an easy fix!
In the comments, tell me how you care for your cloth diapers to extend their life expectancy?