Today I thought we'd take a stroll through my cloth diaper cleaning process. Recently I've discovered The Cloth Diaper Whisperer blog, and already I have learned so many valuable bits of information from her. One entry that I found most interesting was about her cloth diaper washing routine. It varies a lot from mine, but it sounds just as efficient. I've already started considering which parts I could adopt as part of my own routine to possibly make it more efficient.
My cloth diaper washing process begins at the changing table. I have two buckets with sealed lids. The buckets are 5-gallon buckets bought at Lowes which came in pink and yellow. The yellow bucket stands next to the changing table, and anytime A has a wet diaper, the pre-folds go in the bucket and the cover (Bummi Super Brites) sets on top so it can dry out and be re-used. If it's a poopy diaper, the whole thing is taken to the bathroom where I have the pink bucket set up. The pre-fold gets swooshed in the toilet and goes in the other pail while the non-soiled cover goes on top.
On wash day (about every other day), both buckets and all liners are dumped in the washer and run on a cold cycle (no detergent). Immediately after that, I run them on a hot cycle with a small amount of detergent (usually about half of what I would use for a normal load). Currently I just use the detergent I use for the rest of the family (Seventh Generation), but I am contemplating ordering some Charlie's Soap and seeing if I can notice a difference.
Once the diapers are washed. I either line dry them in the sun for a nice natural bleaching, or I throw them in the dryer (the covers always are line-dried) and dry them on Hot for a soft comfy feel.
The finished products are dumped in the top drawer of the changing table, and the process begins all over again.
A couple of extra thoughts:
1. I do have some light stains that probably could've been avoided if I used flushable paper liners, but I really didn't want to add another monthly expense to the budget. This is one of the reasons I'm considering Charlie's Soap--I'd love for it to clean more thoroughly than Seventh Gen.
2. I recently purchased my first pocket diaper (SwaddleBees), and I LOVE it! It seems to be more stain-resistant just by nature of the material. Perhaps the material on my pre-folds is more absorbent.
3. I started with covers and pre-folds because I could register for them and they were cheaper overall. Now that I'm into the cloth diapering thing a lot more, I'm about to purchase a batch of one-size Bum Genius 3.0. If they are as efficent as the SwaddleBees, then I'm really excited to use them and have my work load become even easier.
4. When the buckets start to smell, I just set them outside in the sun for a day while the washing and drying are going on, and the sun naturally bleaches them clean and fresh-smelling for me.
What's your cloth diaper cleaning routine? Please share what has worked and not worked for you.