Saturday, May 26, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers

Okay, I had a few friends ask what we're doing so I figured I'd post it here and stay with the "keeping everyone informed" thing. We're officially on Day 3 of cloth diapers. I'm not brave enough to be at full time yet, but I did have to wash almost all of my prefolds after yesterday so I feel like I've done a pretty good job. I left out 2 and only changed 4 diapers yesterday during the approximately 12 hours we've been cloth diapering in our home (from when I'm 100% conscious in the AM until I go to bed at night).

Here is what we have learned thus far:

1. Wetbags ROCK!!! Okay - I'm dead serious here!!! I'm in LOVE with my wetbag!!!
2. This is definitely long term doable.
3. I was changing WAY too often!! Apparently 2 hours (unless poopy!) is the beginning of my changing window, not the end. YAY for less changes!
4. Cloth diapers are addictive. I've already placed another order.

And MOST importantly 5. We FINALLY have a good use for that washer no one uses in the basement because it doesn't have all the fancy schmancy stuff the other one does. It's PERFECT for washing cloth diapers!!!

As of right now I'm favoring the Flips over the Thirsties. I'm not sure if I just have the rise set wrong on them, but they're really cutting into my little guy's thin thighs. It doesn't seem to bother him, but I'm reminded of that feeling when you take off a bra that's a bit too tight and you take it off and it's itchy and at the same time you feel so relieved. I don't like that feeling and I don't imagine he does either.

The Flips also have the advantage of their little flaps in the front and back. For trifolding prefolds that's PERFECT because it keeps the diaper in place which means I don't have to keep trying to adjust it while I'm trying to put it on a squirming infant. Definitely a perk. Kind of thinking maybe I should try a few other covers with that feature like AppleCheeks. Hmmm.....

So....first day of washing. I have studied washing routines like a madwoman prior to making this choice. If I'm putting something my child pooped on BACK on his rear you had better BET it needs to be CLEAN. After PILES of extensive research and worrying endlessly about my VERY hard water I settled on starting with this because it made the most sense and my mother decided it was a good that's what we went with. :) LOL

1. If poopy use a baby wipe to remove the poop on top. Yeah, I know - he's EBF and this is not "necessary" but I don't want yellow/orange diapers and I definitely felt better about step 2 when I'd done this first.

2. Swish in toilet - even if it's just urine. Again, NOT necessary but the bottom line is it makes ME feel better. And apparently a few people I know have had some problems with super acidic urine eating a few seconds to swish is better than a trashed stash. :)

3. Ring out thoroughly and place in wetbag hanging on bathroom door. Rather than using a pail and pail liner I'm just using medium sized wetbags. This made WAY more sense to me than trying to fit a pail in my bathroom (so not happening) and gives me the chance to display my pretty wetbags because the one I have really is that cute!

4. On wash day bring the wetbag(s) downstairs. This is where that extra washer is coming in REALLY handy because I did my homework! Empty wetbag into washer, turn wetbag INSIDE OUT, throw wetbag into the washer, and run a full "extra large" load on cold without detergent. I washed 10 prefolds and my wetbag. Note, this does NOT look like a full load for a REASON!!! Why "extra large"? Because we want to rinse the SNOT out of everything icky in there to give the detergent the chance to do it's best work on what it really NEEDS to work on rather than cleaning stuff that's just going to get swished out anyway!

5. After the "extended rinse", add detergent and run a SMALL cycle on hot/cold. This is why no one uses this machine. It has "small" and "extra large" - useless for us most of the time but PERFECT for cloth diaper laundry! For the record, it's "small" fills the basin ALMOST to halfway, so it's really a "1/2 load". Cutting the wash cycle to a 1/2 load size was recommended by a few websites and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense so I figured we'll start with this.

6. Do one more "just rinse and spin" on cold but turn the knob back to "extra large". Maximum amount of rinsing is good. Get that detergent which is SO often the stinky guilty party OUT!

7. Transfer prefolds to the dryer and hang wetbag inside out to dry. Last time it took 1 1/2 cycles on the dryer to get the prefolds completely dry just for reference. As they continue to fluff up I'm completely expecting it to take 2 full cycles to get them all the way there.

Now to talk covers.

I don't have to wash any yet!! LOL Each cover has only been used twice and only one would need a washing. Each time I take them off I wipe off with a disposable wipe (since I don't have non-disposables yet) and that freshens them and gets them ready for their next run. Then I hang them up to air out and every single one (except the one that got poopy) smells sweet and looks perfectly clean. I plan to wash them specially the next time I do laundry. I've read that hot washes can damage the PUL on covers and since they aren't absorbent it made sense to me to wash those in cold rather than hot. I'm also reading that TPU covers/pockets should never be washed above warm to protect them but other cding mommies are telling me that's total bunk. So now I'm debating what temp to wash them at. I'm accepting kind guidance below. :)

So, for the record, we've made it through 2 whole days (and are on our third). I have one dirty cover and 4 "clean" ones (for those wondering, my dirty cover was a Thirsties - both of them seem slightly less good at holding the mess directly ON the prefold vs. the Flips...I'll let you know if this trend continues since I find it noteworthy). I have survived washing my first cloth diapers and they came out beautifully.

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