I've been meaning to post about this anyway (I often get asked), so when I saw this question posited over at Green Baby Guide, I decided to finally write up what I do.
Most of the time my washing routine looks like this:
- Toss dirty diaper in the diaper pail. I use a dry pail, no soaking diapers. Covers only get washed if they smell horrendous or have poop on them.
- After 3-4 days, or when I notice we are down to one or two prefolds, dump diapers into washing machine. This is the most unpleasant part of the entire routine. Since I have a front loader, I can't just "dump" the diapers in really, so I use a latex glove to help them along into the washer.
- Usually, no rinse, because I usually have little to no poop on my diapers thanks to infant potty training. If there is a lot of poop in a particular load, I might do a cold rinse first. For more on how to handle poop with cloth diapers, read this post.
- Wash on normal cycle: wash warm, rinse cold. I use Charlie's Soap Powder. I used to wash in hot, but Green Baby Guide inspired me to switch to warm (they wash in cold, but I haven't made it there yet, for psychological reasons).
- Usually, no extra rinse either. No pre-rinse, no post-rinse, just a normal wash cycle.
- Dry in the dryer or line dry. I always line dry covers and synthetic inserts.
- I make zero attempt to remove stains.
- When the diapers seem really stinky, sometimes I add baking soda to the wash (with detergent) and vinegar to the rinse (put it in the "fabric softener" dispenser), and then do an extra rinse afterwards. I also occasionally wash with no detergent on super hot to try to get out any residue. When I say occasionally, I mean every 2 to 6 months.
- Eco-novice's Cloth Diapering 101 Series
- Jillian's Drawers: New to Cloth (look at "7. Washing Instructions")
- Check out Green Baby Guide's post for other ideas about how to wash cloth too: lots of cloth users will eventually post their methods in the comments. They also have posted about how to remove stains and other things that I don't worry about.
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