Today's cloth diapering installment is all about how to get those diapers fresh and clean. I get many funny looks when this comes up in conversation because people wonder what I do with all that poop. Well, lucky for me, Hunter only drinks breast milk at the moment and that poop is water soluble so my wash routine is pretty simple. I kind of want to postpone solids as long as possible for this very reason.
People often ask me if I feel like I am doing laundry all the time, why yes I do. I wash Hunter's diapers every other day or sometimes on the third day if we are busy with something outside of the house. Most mamas agree that if you go any longer between washes it can get ugly. Also, you'd have to buy a lot of diapers to be able to go longer than three days between washes. I may not get to adult laundry for over a week, but Hunter's diapers always get washed or else we'd have to dip into our small stash of disposables, and I don't like doing that because they can give Hunter a rash so quickly and easily.
We do not own a diaper pail, nor do we soak our diapers in a bucket filled with solution. Because I do diaper laundry so often, and because Hunter's diapers are still pretty small, I use a large wet bag that hangs in the bathroom next to the toilet. For soiled diapers, I could just toss the diaper in the bag, but I actually prefer to rinse off any "chunky" bits. Isaiah installed a bidet sprayer that hooks up to our toilet, so I use this to hose down poopy diapers. I then spritz some BAC-OUT by BioKleen on the stains, which I find helps the stains from setting about 85% of the time, but if anything, this product keeps things a little fresher in that wet bag.
Ask a bunch of cloth-diapering mamas what their wash routine is like and you will get as many different responses as there are shades of blue in the sea. Some mamas dry in the dryer, some line dry. Some hand wash (YIKES!), some machine wash. And then there are different factors to consider like water temperature, pre-washing, soaking, extra rinses, wash time, water amount, hard water, etc.
It took a couple of weeks of experimenting with different detergents and the above factors before I came up with a routine that I was pleased with. Here's what I do: Pre-wash warm (no detergent), hot wash with Sal Suds by Dr. Bronner's (update 10/9/15: just learned that this soap is not recommended for cloth diapers) for 10 minutes, cold rinse with vinegar, and a second cold rinse. If a batch is particularly smelly or in need of a cleaning boost, I add some Borax to the hot wash in addition to the Sal Suds. I use the vinegar to help break down the suds after the wash cycle so that any residues rinse clean.
If any diapers remain stained, I set those on a drying rack and leave them in the sun for 1-2 hours. (The sun is nature's most amazing bleach, even on stains that seem like they have set months ago.) I do not dry any of the diaper covers in the dryer; they go on the rack. The rest of the diapers as well as the cloth wipes go in the dryer with a few wool dryer balls.
*I honestly don't notice that I do laundry so often anymore. It's just part of my ordinary routine ;)
*I am curious about swapping out the Sal Suds for some Soap Nuts. Very curious...