Monday, January 16, 2012

Almost everything you'll ever need to know about washing your cloth diapers

Laundry laundry laundry. One of the first annoyances I had when I started cloth diapering was that I hadn't bought enough diapers, and thus was at a panic every evening to get diapers washed and dried in time to use that night or the next morning. I had a similar experience with bottles and my pumping equipment, but soon after took a trip down to good ol' Babies R'Us and rectified that! I have a newborn, and the last thing I want to do every evening while she is wailing is a frantic load of laundry and dishes. So, after a couple of weeks of pandemonium, I decided to buy some more diapers from various cloth diapering sites which I will talk about in my next post. The influx of new diapers made laundry a little less of a burden and I quickly fell into a nice rhythm.

ABC's of diap laundry

A-Always use cloth diaper detergent
B-Beware of stink. Stripping your diaps regularly will combat the build up of ammonia and/or detergent.
C-Cold wash, hot wash, cold rinse. Repeat.
D-Doody in the diaps needs to be knocked out in the toilet or sprayed off with your handy dandy diaper sprayer. (Bum Genius makes a great model, but there are others out there.)
E-Even if you have a ton of diapers, you have to wash them regularly or you will get stink that won't come out.
F-Follow these instructions and you'll have great smelling diaps and a happy hiney to boot!
....Z-Z'ns't it lame that I used a pnuenomic device?


One of the first things you'll learn when you buy a cloth diaper and read the instructions is that you MUST only use a certain kind of detergent that is approved for cloth diapers. This is because cloth diapers can quickly get a buildup of detergent, thus rendering them non-absorbent.  Since the whole point of cloth diapers is to be just that, you might want to take this one piece of advice seriously.

Cloth diaper detergents are prolific on the Internet. Everywhere I look it seems like another one is popping up. I hope it's due to the fact that people are starting to use cloth diapers more. So far I have used two detergents with great success. Here are a list of the most popular detergents and the pro's and con's to each of them.

Rockin' Green
 This is by far the most popular type of cloth diaper detergent on the market today. This was my first detergent. The great thing about Rockin' Green is that it is formulated for different types of water. One of the biggest reoccuring problems with cloth diapers is build up in the diapers and thus reduced absorbency. Here is the map the company has made to help you determine what kind of water you have in your area.
Dallasites use Hard Rock. If you live outside of the US then check with your local google search to find out what kind of water you have.
The other great thing about Rockin' Green is the website is so helpful. If you have questions or problems with stink or ammonia build up, there is a wealth of information on their website to help you will all of your problems. If you don't find what you're looking for you can also ask! They have their employees regularly respond to questions on the forum part of the website. Here is a link to a good overview of what a good washing routine looks like for cloth diaps.

******Kelly's closet is having a 10% sale on Rockin Green detergent with the code 2012ROCKS if you are interested! I'm going to buy some right now!******

Bum Genius Cloth Diaper Detergent

This is another popular brand, which I have not personally tried, but that is frequently used by cloth diapering families. The price is very reasonable, but the amount of loads that it washes 66, is less than most cloth diaper detergents, usually around 90-100. If anyone has used this with success can you comment and let us know how long you've used it, how often you had to strip, and what type of water you have.

Country Save
I personally haven't used this kind, but it's supposedly supposed to work well with HE front loading machines. In case you haven't heard, top loaders are better for cloth diapering because you have more power over the cycle, they use more water in the wash, and they are better at agitating your diaps clean.

Lulu's in the fluff
 This is the detergent I am currently using and I find it comparable to Rockin' Green. It also has a formula for Hard Water, so it helps keep build up at bay for those of you who have to worry about that.

Ruby Moon
I haven't used this yet, but I'm very excited to try it out. One big cloth diapering no no is using scented detergents because they supposedly cause buildup. I have a cloth diapering friend right now whose son has a very sensitive bum and she said that this detergent has been the best as keeping his bum clean and sans rash. I think I'm going to buy a bag, strip all of my diapers, and then see how it works. I'll keep you updated!

Eco Nuts
I've heard several people talk about these as a great way to wash diapers and clothes, but I have no personal experience with them. I'd love to hear reviews of them myself as I'm nervous to try washing my dirty diaps with nuts. It seems a little ludicrous, but some people swear by them!

Wool options
Here my expertise drops off completly. I know that wool doesn't need to be washed on a regular basis, but instead needs to be lanolized. I am currently researching this option and I'm going to do some review on wool covers and maintenance as I become more familiar with this facet of cloth diapering.

That's all for now blogging family! Next post I'll talk about cloth diapers for babies past the newborn stage and all the options you have.

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