Wednesday Walkthrough . . . cloth diapers

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.


This Is Us said...

We use pocket diapers around here and love them. I also use wet bags instead of bins. When the diaper is dirty, I take out the insert and throw everything in the bag. If it's poopy, I empty the diaper and rinse it in the toilet if necessary, then into the bag.
We also use cloth wipes that are thrown in with the diapers.
On wash day I throw all the liners, diapers, and the wet bag in the wash. I let them soak a bit and then do a hot wash with Planet detergent. I add a fabric softener ball filled with vinegar to open during the rinse cycle. Then I do a second rinse with cold water only.
When the weather is nice, I dry everything outside. Any stain that didn't come out in the wash always comes out in the sun. While the first wet bag is drying, I use the second wet bag for the new dirty diapers.
BTW, I have two friends that use Bum Genuis 3.0 and they love them. You'll have to let us know if you try Charlie's. I'm curious, too. I'm happy with Planet, but wondering if Country Save might be a better option...

Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.com they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review: http://jonathanandandrea.blogspot.com/2009/04/spray-it-or-scrub-it.html

Sarah said...

Hi, Joy! Wonderful Blog. I am using all-in-ones these days and as Silja is exclusively breastfed, I do not even have to soak dirty diapers. I must say I am not looking forward to the solid food days which are fast approaching. When the time comes we will be using the aformentioned bathroom sprayer, it works nicely and makes it unnecessary to do any diaper dunking in the toilet. I have been using home made detergent lately, as well and find it highly economically rewarding:)