Sunday, March 14, 2010

How do I....?

I thought it was time to list a few posts with tips I’ve learned over the years while cloth diapering my kids. Today I’m starting with washing tips.
There are lots of ways to wash your cloth diapers. Lots of detergents, homemade laundry soaps, tips for the type of washer you have, people who say you “must” do this or that. Honestly, I think simple is better. I mean we do this for a lot of reasons and one of them is usually to be “greener” which means less water and chemicals to me.
I’ve tried just about every kind of “off the shelf” detergent at our local Mart and grocery stores. Honestly, our water is so hard that there wasn’t much difference for us. Off the shelf, I do prefer Purex Free & Clear or All Free & Clear. The free & clear detergents tend to rinse more thoroughly the first time thus not requiring a second rinse for us. I use an oxygen bleach if I think about it a few times a month. Sun makes a reasonably priced one that works well.
By far my favorite detergent is soapnuts liquid. I make it 2-3 times a month by boiling about 15 soapnuts in 7 cups of water for 30 minutes. I add a few drops of tea tree oil for it’s antibacterial properties and viola! Laundry soap that is perfect for all the wash you do. Whatever type of soap you use…just be sure to use ½ less in your diapers.
Here’s a run down of how I store and wash Boo’s diapers.
 I use a dry pail. I dump any solid waste into the toilet before putting the diaper in the pail. I now own a diaper sprayer but still don’t use it often…it’s just not a necessity for me. I do put tea tree oil on a scrap of flannel or baking soda sprinkled into the pail to help with odors. I just toss it all into the washer when it’s time to wash.
 I do un-stuff my DS’s pocket style diapers if I remember. Sometimes they won’t do it themselves in the washer. :)
 I wash every 3-4 days. I just dump the pail in the washer and run a cold rinse cycle. This takes care of any solid waste that I missed. I also like to add an enzyme treatment like Totally Toddler, OUT (same stuff), or BacOut if I have one. If I use it I will fill the washer and let it sit for a few minutes before I run the rinse cycle the rest of the way.
 I wash on the longest hottest wash my machine does with a single cold rinse at the end. I have a top loader so I fill the load completely and only rinse once unless absolutely necessary. This saves a bit of water since it hold so much.
 I love to line dry them if it’s warm enough out. The sun does wonders to remove stains and kill bacteria.
 If it’s not seasonally appropriate to line dry then I set the dryer on hot and dry for 60-70 minutes. I have a mix of flannel pockets and bamboo/hemp fleece so the longer time works to get them dry. If for some reason they aren’t I also own one of those folding laundry racks so I’ll drape them over it to finish. They’re about $15 bucks & great for all damp stuff, plus they are easy to store since they fold flat.
 Toss in a basket or drawer…no need to fold unless you want to pre-stuff your pockets. I’m lazy…I do that when I grab it to use it. Now that wasn’t not so hard was it. ;D

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