Diaper Care & Laundering
PREPARING YOUR DIAPERS FOR FIRST USE:
Cotton Prefolds, Contours and Fitted Diapers: Unbleached Prefolds diapers will need to be washed on hot 3-5 times with a tiny amount of detergent (~1-2 T). Prefolds will “quilt up” and become more absorbent with each wash. Our Contour Diapers and fitted cotton diapers should be washed 3 times, and will also increase absorbency as the natural fibers soften. Drying between the initial washes is not necessary, but will assist in reducing lint.
Cotton/Bamboo Snap Inserts: This wonderfully soft and absorbent fabric should be treated like cotton. Wash at least 3 times before use to remove natural oils and prepare the fabric for use. Drying in between washes is not necessary.
Snap-In-One Diapers: Our newest diaper style, the Snap-In-One, features a cotton terry velour fabric on the entire inside of the diaper, with a snap-in Minky insert. The insert only requires one wash before use, although the diaper itself should be washed several times before use for optimum absorbency. After the initial washes, the entire diaper can be washed together. There is no need to remove the insert completely - your choice to leave it on or remove it, just make sure it is unstuffed.
Diaper Covers, Stuff-it (Pocket) Diapers and Microfiber or Minky Inserts: The items are all polyester and simply require one wash and dry before use. Take inserts out of Stuff-it diapers before laundering.
AFTER USE STORAGE, ODOR & STAIN CONTROL
Dealing with Solid Waste: Breastfed baby poop is water soluble, and does not need to be rinsed prior to laundering. If baby is formula fed or eating solid food, waste should be removed from the diaper before it is put into the diaper pail or washing machine. A diaper sprayer and/or flushable diaper liners can be used for faster and easy cleanup.
Storing Soiled Diapers: Store used diapers in a waterproof zippered wet bag or diaper pail lined with a waterproof pail liner until ready to wash. Wash the wet bag or pail liner with the diapers each time. A number of pretreatments are available for stain and odor control including simply sprinkling baking soda in the pail.
Stripping: Occasionally diapers may accumulate soap build-up and either retain odor or not absorb properly. Washing the diapers in hot water without detergent several times, or adding a treatment such as Funk Rock or RLR will remedy this.
WASHING YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS AND COVERS:
As baby soils diapers, store them in a wet bag or diaper pail until ready to wash. Put all the diapers and the wet bag in the washing machine together. All diapers, diaper covers, and inserts can be washed together, as a separate load from baby's other laundry.
If you diapers are sized to the smallest or medium setting (using the rise snaps), there is no need to unsnap these for laundering.
Normal Wash Routine:
• Start with a cold rinse and spin, or cold presoak and spin
• Top Loaders: Long warm or hot wash cycle with detergent
• Front Loaders: Try 2 short wash cycles in lieu of 1 long wash
• Rinse again
• Dry in drier on medium-high or line-dry
Detergents: Choose a detergent with no fabric softener, no optical whiteners or brighteners, no enzymes. Do not use chlorine bleach. Do not assume that your detergent is suitable because it has “free and clear” in the title. We highly recommend Mountain Green liquid and Rockin’ Green powder detergents, and both brands are available online and at most diaper stores. If you have very hard water or a water softener, you may want to choose a detergent formulated for these conditions. Only a very small amount of detergent is necessary, usually 2 tablespoons or less. High efficiency (HE) washers could require as little as 1 tablespoon per load.
Water level: Cloth diapers require adequate room to agitate and lots of water to get clean. Fill your washer no more than half-full of diapers, but run it as a full load. Make sure all the Velcro tabs are covered and snaps unfastened to ensure diapers fully open for cleaning during laundering.
Rinsing: It is extremely important that all the detergent is rinsed out of the diapers. Failure to rinse well can cause your diapers to perform poorly, retain odor, and most importantly could irritate your baby’s bottom. Look in your washer on the final rinse. If there are any suds, rinse again. If you are rinsing more than 2-3 times, you are using too much detergent. When your diapers come out of the washer, they should smell like water. If they smell unclean, then use a bit more detergent. If they smell like your detergent, use less detergent and rinse more.
Drying: Diapers can be line-dried or tumble dried. Prefolds and pocket diapers will dry the fastest, while All-In-Ones may take longer due to the many layers. Diapers dried in the dryer will come out feeling soft - do not be tempted to add fabric softener or dryer sheets as this will coat the fabric reduce absorbency and can irritate baby’s skin. Hanging diapers to dry in the sun is equally fast most of the year, and the sun will naturally fade stains. Diaper covers may last longer if they are line dried.
LAUNDRY TIPS FOR HE MACHINES
• HE machines determine water fill levels based on weight, not degree of soiling. In the case of diapers you may want to ‘trick’ the machine into using more water:
- Add a soaking wet beach towel to every diaper load OR
- Fill a wet bag with water and stand carefully on top of the diapers, once the load has begun the water will drain into the machine, but the machine will have calibrated the water level based on the extra weight. OR
- For the initial rinse prior to laundering the diapers set the machine at ‘rinse/no spin’. This will leave the diapers very wet (heavier) for the final wash load, thereby ‘tricking’ the machine into thinking that there is a very full load to be washed.