Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wash Day for Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers was something I spent way too much time researching.  I started out thinking that having an HE front loader would be a major help with diapers.  Well, it turns out that HE washers are not as great as older washers, because they don't use as much water.  Great - the perk of HE washers for my utility bills is its downfall for diapers.  To make matters more complicated, different washers have such a variety of wash settings.

Wash day is usually triggered by one of two things: out of diapers for day care (aka minimally stained velcro diapers) or the diaper pail stinks to high heaven.  Our "diaper pail" is actually a step trash can lined with a Wahmies pail liner that can be washed with the diapers.  Since we still use disposable wipes much of the time, we actually have a trash bag in half of the pail.

Yes, I'm literally putting my dirty laundry on the interwebz
I make sure velcro is on the laundry tabs (it's not a guarantee from the day care, but hey - they're using cloth, so I can't complain) and remove inserts if need be.  I've found that my BumGenius, Ones  & Twos, and nighttime megastuffed diapers don't unstuff in the wash.

Clearly I'm a professional photographer

When it's time to wash diapers, I take the whole bag o' diapers down to our laundry room and dump them all in the washer.  We have a Samsung WF350, which has a spin and rinse cycle.  I turn on the spin and rinse on cold and "no spin," which I guess then just technically makes it a rinse cycle.  My thinking behind the no spin is to get some water in the diapers to a) help rinse out what's in the diapers and b) increase the weight for the next cycle so it'll have more water too.  I don't use any detergent for this cycle.

Once the rinse and spin is done (it takes 9 minutes), I use the heavy duty cycle on warm/cold (and sometimes hot/cold depending on how bold I'm feeling).  I use a scoop of Charlie's soap in the wash.  The heavy duty cycle takes like 2 hours.  Oy.  Once it's done, that's it for washing.

I either put the diapers in the dryer on low using the timer setting (the sensor always thinks they're dry before they really are) or put them out on the line.  Any stains that have persisted through the wash cycle (there seem to be more since C started on vitamins, but I could just be imagining that's the cause) have always disappeared in the sun.

The best piece of advice I've ever heard about wash routines is once you find one that works, stick with it.  I have been tempted by the siren song of other detergents or others' wash routines, but then I remember how easy mine is and how well it works for me and my washer and my water type and all those other variables that come into play.  I know it's perverse, but I kind of love diaper laundry.


  1. Thanks for posting! I found I was getting the stinks with charlie's (a problem I did NOT have with Charlie's with my old, non HE washer). My routine is similar to yours, but I do one extra rinse cycle at the end. All those cycles do take a long time!

    1. A friend just posted on my Facebook page that she uses a water softener. I had no idea that we have hard water in Lexington, so maybe you do too? That wouldn't really make sense with not having the problem in your old washer, but maybe... I've read that hard water can cause stinkiness. I went ahead and bought a Charlie's hard water treatment ( just to prevent repelling/stink. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on using it every 2 weeks to a month.

      Do you have a cleaning cycle on your washer? If not, maybe run it on hot with some old towels? Just throwing some ideas out there.