June 21, 2013

Washing Cloth Diapers

I've changed the way I prepare poopy diapers for the wash quite a bit. When I first started, I was really scrubbing out the dipaers with a scrub brush even when it was just the runny, mustardy breastmilk poo. And I think those first cloth diapers did take a toll for all my scrubbing and are wearing out faster.

When my older child started eating solids and the poo became clumpy, that was a really easy clean as the clumps came out into the toilet and left little on the diaper. No scrubbing necessary.

However, that changed and now it is not so clumpy and more like peanut butter, and my second child now has the breastmilk poo. This would mean a lot of scrubbing and I don't particularly like cleaning this with my hands. So you might say I've become lazy in this area, but I found that it works!

 I do absolutely nothing with the breastmilk poo. I put it directly into my diaper pail and wash it when it comes time. There is sometimes a bit of staining on the diaper, but that will happen whether you scrub or not. If I hang them out in the sun, that breastmilk poo staining comes right out. Mind you, with doing elimination communication with him, he doesn't often have poopy diapers.

With the solid foods poo, I take a wipe and scrape what I can into the toilet. I don't worry about getting it super well though. At times there is still quite a bit left on the diaper depending on how badly soiled it is. And I put the diaper directly into the diaper pail to sit until I wash them. The first time I tried this I was a bit concerned that I would find poo all along the inside of my washing machine, but actually I didn't. Sometimes if my child ate corn or grapes, I might find some skins on the side of a diaper, but they shake right off and were also adequately cleaned. And otherwise, they've come out really well through the wash. 

I got my diaper pails at the Superstore.

Since then, I don't worry so much about it. I don't keep water in my diaper pail for the diapers to soak. It's just an empty bucket with a lid. They do get stinky inside, so I give them a rinse after I empty them. I used to use wetbag liners in them, but the pail actually gets just as stinky so I don't bother with them anymore. For my washing cycle, I will often give them a prewash with or without a soak. And then I'll wash them with just over 1 tablespoon of detergent. (see my article on making laundry detergent here) I usually smell them after to see that they are adequately washed before I dry them. And usually they are just fine. No smell. If they smell a little, I might give them another rinse or a wash. (I've read that if you use too much laundry detergent, the diapers can smell because there is laundry detergent on the diapers still and it has absorbed the smell. So sometimes another rinse can finish rinsing off the detergent.)

For drying, I do often use my dryer. They usually need two cycles to get them adequately dry. I try to get them onto the line to dry in the sun and fresh air from time to time. I know the sun helps kill any bacteria that could be growing in them and can take out some staining. When they come off the line though, they are often stiff so I usually throw them in the dryer for 20 minutes to soften them.

With two boys in diapers, I can sometimes go through as many as 24 diapers in a day.

1 comment:

  1. I found your site through Little House in the Suburbs. Your post brought back memories of cloth diapering my daughter when she was a little baby. Now that she is 3, we go through much fewer diaper cloths and are working toward potty training. It's neat to know elimination communication is going well for you. I was unable to continue this because I am the full-time worker of our household.

    Do you use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in the wash with your detergent solution? We do not own a dryer, so I found that 1/2 cup of either (along with their respective laundering benefits) can also help remove excess detergent from the cloth, which allows the fabric to soften in the sun, at least with our environmental conditions. :)