After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Washing Cloth Diapers

This reason alone is why most people I know won't even consider cloth.  Or, its the main reason those about to use cloth get nervous about their upcoming cloth journey.  Let me tell you, I thought the same thing.  I remember sitting online with my husband looking at each other in disbelief that putting a soiled diaper in our washer was fine.  My husband kept saying, "are you SURE these don't have to be sloshed in the toilet first?"  Yep, that's what I'm saying.  That's the beauty of "new" cloth diapers.  The first time I changed newborn Kian and put his poop diaper straight into the diaper laundry pail, it felt weird.  But its true, the washer will get it all out.  I never used a toilet sprayer until he started eating solids.  And even then, God bless the toilet sprayer.  Don't be afraid of the toilet sprayer either.  I'll cover that in another posting.  OK, back to washing.  This is how I wash my pocket diapers.  If you are washing any other kind of cloth diaper, you can follow these same steps.
First of all, at the time I change Kian, I remove the inserts from the diaper and toss the diaper, inserts, liner, and wipes into the dirty diaper pail. 

See, its not scary once you open it up.  I personally think its kinda cute.  So I have a 13 gallon flip top pail from Target that was very inexpensive.  I own two pail liners made from PUL which I bought online for around $10 each.  I own two because when it comes time to wash, the pail liner in use at the time gets washed along with the dipes and the clean one goes in the pail.  I dump everything into the washer together.  No need to separate the parts of the diapers into different washes and no need to wash different brands or styles of diapers separately. 
Here's my wash routine;

1) Rinse and Spin (on cold) - This rinses out all the waste from the dipes.  If I know that this batch of diapers were exceptionally dirty (like when Kian had an upset stomach....sorry for the TMI) I will do an additional rinse and spin but I've only done that maybe two times.

2) Wash on Hot with detergent of choice - The hot wash sterilizes the diapers.  If you are using special detergent made for cloth diapers, follow the recommended amount on the box.  If you are using a general detergent, use 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amount.  When we started out, I did SOOOOO much research on detergent.  I made a huge list of all the no-no ingredients and headed to Target where I found not one detergent that met the bill.  I tried the one that came the closest.....I believe it was made by Arm and Hammer....but after a month, the diapers were leaking.  So, I swallowed my fear and did what my cloth mama friends suggested and switched to Tide Free.  It works GREAT!  Since switching, the only time our diapers have leaked has been if we left the baby in the diaper too long.  Duh.  We have used Tide Free strictly with no problems for almost a year now.  On the box, it recommends filling to "line 1" for large loads.  I took a sharpy and made a line on the measuring scoop that was 1/4 of that and that is how much detergent we use per load.  Needless to say, detergent lasts forever in our house, adding to our savings by choosing to go cloth.

3) Rinse and Spin (on cold) with Vinegar - This last rinse and spin is just to get out any additional soap that may be left in the dipes.  Soap buildup makes diapers leak so you want to make sure its all out.  That's another reason why you only use 1/4 - 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent.  I have found that vinegar is my favorite secret weapon with cloth diapers.  It helps strip the diapers of soap.  If you are having leaking problems you can soak your diapers in vinegar overnight in the washer.  Since adding vinegar to my last rinse and spin, I have never had to do a vinegar soak for stripping.  I think it makes the diapers smell better too.  I don't measure, honestly.  I just dump some in.  I'm guessing its a cup or two.

4) Line Dry - I prefer to line dry my diapers and inserts.  I personally think they are more absorbent being line dried and they get naturally bleached by the sun.  I will pull out stained inserts from the washer and after being on the line, the stains are completely gone.  Plus, this is another money saver.  Line drying the dipes makes the elastic last longer too.  I don't love to hang dry my wipes and diaper liners.  Honestly, I just don't have enough clothes line room for the liners right now and they dry so fast anyways, I just throw them in the dryer.  The wipes get so starchy on the line I feel like I'm rubbing sand paper against my baby's bottom.  So I sift out the liners and the wipes and put them in the dryer.  After I hang my dipes and inserts, I start a load of clothing and once that's washed, I throw it in the dryer with my still wet wipes and liners and turn on the dryer.  Again, combining the wipes and liners with another drying load saves money and energy.

So that's my drill.  It may seem like a lot but its not.  I just wanted to explain it as completely as possible so you know the purpose of each step.  Once you get into your routine, you will be able to do it in your sleep.

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