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Ginn Cloth-Diapering 101: Wash, Dry, Repeat

July 18, 2009

I am planning to “do diapers” today, and I thought it was time I shared my care instructions for cloth diapers. 

In general, follow the care instructions recommended by your diaper brand. You can usually find this online. Peapods also has fantastic instructions here

 Here’s how we do the wash-dry-repeat routine around here. We always set the washer to “small” loads for diapers.

  1. Cold-water rinse. 
  2. Hot-water full cycle with detergent and vinegar.
  3. Line dry in the summer. The sun does amazing things to poop stains — erases them! Then I toss the diapers in the dryer (with other clothes) for 10 minutes after they’ve been on the line. It helps soften things up a little. 
  4. In the winter, I plan to dry them partially on the line (in the basement) and finish in the dryer (or vice versa).  If you use pre-fold diapers, I would imagine the drying process is much quicker on the line and in the dryer. (Score one for pre-folds!)

Dan’s dry-method-diaper-washing instructions (aka the Peapods instructions) are my inspiration: 

If you choose the dry method, you might consider getting a large nylon duffle bag or use a kitchen garbage bin (preferably with a lid) to store the diapers in prior to wash day. When it’s full, dump them into your machine for a full wash & rinse cycle with detergent using cold water and the highest water level setting. (The cold water will prevent stains from setting in and reduce your energy costs.) the Downy ballThen, wash them again with a full wash & rinse cycle with hot water and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. (The hot water naturally whitens your diapers and helps kill germs.) Use a little less detergent on the second wash. The vinegar will help remove urine deposits and restore pH. If your machine doesn’t have an automatic rinse cycle softner dispenser, consider purchasing a “Downy Ball” (at left) at your local grocery or department store.


Miscellaneous Notes

  • We wash covers with clothes in regular loads. (You could spray them with a little vinegar beforehand to reduce the urine odor.) If you use velcro covers, make sure you close them before washing since the velcro sticks to everything.
  • For all our clothes and diapers, I am now using Bi-O-Kleen detergent. Because it’s so concentrated, I use only a little bit, and it lasts for a long time (I calculated the cost-per-load, and it’s pretty low comparatively). Plus it doesn’t have any perfume-y scents which really bother me. I’m also considering trying this (crazy lady that I am).
  • Another product I have on hand is Bac-Out Natural Enzyme stain remover. I use it about once a month with the diapers to get them smelling really fresh. 
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Molly permalink
    July 18, 2009 4:25 pm

    Sounds like a lot of work! And a lot of laundry!! :).
    We missed you guys at MckPicnic today. It was a ton of fun for all of us!

  2. Meghan permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:09 am

    Found this on the FuzziBunz website… it goes along with your sunlight theory…kinda 🙂

    The FuzziBunz® diapers resist staining, but the inserts will more than likely become stained. If staining does occur apply lemon juice and place in the sunlight.


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