How Do I Wash My Cloth Diapers?

carnival2-copyIn honor of the Cloth Diaper Carnival Part Deux I thought I would share my wash routine.  As you probably know by now there is no exact science and no perfect way to wash your cloth diapers.  I would imagine that each of the participants in this carnival will have a slightly different routine. 

For me I try not to stress out too much about my routine.  I have a (few) system that works and I try not to mess it up.  My wash routine begins after each diaper change.  I still haven’t invested in a diaper sprayer so I rinse my diapers briefly in the sink (or toilet if really nasty) so that my diaper pail doesn’t stink up the bathroom.  I then wring them out and place them in my diaper pail.  My diaper pail is actually a plastic tub that sits next to the toilet.  I do this with each and every diaper until wash day.  (Except for when I’m really busy or tired and I just toss it in the pail without rinsing…but I try to rinse them within the day.)  Oh yeah, and don’t forget that if you are using Bum Genius diapers that you need to attach the Velcro to the laundry tabs at this stage.

After about two days I start running out of diapers so the wash cycle begins.  I run one cold water rinse cycle without any detergent to remove the pee and poop.  Next I add the detergent and start a hot/cold wash cycle.  I don’t have too many diapers so they never fill up the drum but I run the load as if it were a full load to allow for plenty of agitation. 

Detergent!  This is one of those tricky areas.  I have been using Arm & Hammer Essentials but I’ve tried a few other detergents that I really like better.  I just tried the Rockin’ Green soap that is formulated specifically for cloth diapers and I’ve tried EcoNuts.  Both worked about the same and I like them for different reasons.  The Rockin’ Green is made from a WAHM in her very own kitchen and it smells FABULOUS!  EcoNuts (full review coming soon) is a seed from a plant that acts as a surfactant.  I highly recommend trying both and judging for yourself.  They all removed most of the stains with no problems.  (Don’t forget to enter the Rockin’ Green giveaway!  See previous post!)

Stains!  That’s right…we all have them…poo stains!  I have the luxury of living in the sunny state of Florida where the sun shines almost every day!  The sun is the BEST way to beat stains and smells!  At the end of the wash cycle I like to take all the inserts and covers and place them outside on our hammock to dry in the sun naturally.  The result is CLEAN, WHITE, ODORLESS cloth diapers!

Lil’ B is almost 8 months old and has been breastfeeding since birth.  She’s only been eating solids for 2 months so I’m sure that I will face more problems along the way.  The most important part to remember is to keep looking for answers.  Someone out there has experienced your problem and someone out there has the answers!  You can always join the Cloth Diapers chat on Twitter, Monday nights at 8pm (EST).  Just be sure to use #clothdiapers to join in on the fun.

What about the environmental impact of washing cloth diapers?  One of the top argument against cloth diapers is the use of water and electricity in caring for cloth diapers.  Yes, you do use water and you do use electricity BUT that shouldn’t deter you from using cloth diapers.  I run 3 extra loads of laundry each week and I try not to dry them in the dryer.  I prefer to line dry my diapers because of the strength of the sun in bleaching them.  You also have to remember that the natural resources used to make disposable diapers is outrageous!  They cut down tons of trees, ship them thousands of miles, using tons of fossil fuels in transportation just to the manufacturers.  Then you have to add up the impact of manufacturing and of course distribution to the stores.  Then you have the impacts on the landfills that are filling up with thousands of disposable diapers EACH DAY!  Like I said, yes there are some environmental impacts of using cloth diapers but I honestly believe that my impact is much less than using disposables!  Search the internet and I’m sure you can find actual data and figures to support this.  Here are just a few that I found doing a quick search:  Cloth Diapers Exposed – The Facts & The Fiction and Environmental Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers


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  1. says

    I hate when people argue that using cloth is just as bad as disposables. A few months back the CEO of Seventh Generation said that on a CBS interview. Umm, hello? He is the CEO of a brand that makes disposable diaper?!?!

    Check back on my site tonight or CDB for the McLinky Code :)


  2. says

    I love the Florida sun to get my stains out as well! I just hate how humid it is right now b/c I could leave my diapers out all day and they are still damp around dinner time – ugh! Oh well – for a few months, the diapers end up in the dryer for a little bit at the end of the day.
    My husband just put together a diaper sprayer for me (I’ve gone over a year w/o one) and I LOVE it!! It sure does make things easier :)

  3. says

    I LOVE Rockin Green!!! I’m getting a diaper sprayer & I think I will try rinsing each diaper before putting them in the pail, I’ve only been rinsing the messy ones.

  4. says

    Breast feeding does help with nutrients and the support of brain growth, which is something every mother should think about. The benefits for the nursing mom are just as good as they are for the baby. The hormones that are released during breast feeding will curb blood loss post delivery and help to shrink the uterus back to it’s normal size

  5. Jaimie K says

    Calley, help!!
    I just started cloth diapering on Monday, so this is my third day. I did my first load of dirty diaper laundry today. I did a cold rinse, then hot wash, double cold rinse. I used 2 Tbl of Rockin Green. Most of the diapers came out clean, but my Fuzzibunz OS did not. It’s the one that she pooed a lot in. She is breastfed mostly, but does have some formula also. I swished the diaper in the toilet before putting in my bucket. When I washed it, the diaper looks fairly clean but still smells a little of her poo. But the insert did not come clean, is not white… I did not put them in the dryer yet as I didn’t want the stains to seal in. What should I do???
    If you could email me back with a response, that would be a great help! Thanks!
    jaimiemildred at gmail dot com

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