Monday, February 18, 2013

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Cloth Diaper Laundry

cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life

Diaper laundry is one of the trickiest conversations you might find yourself in once you enter the world of cloth diapers. Depending on who you talk to, washing cloth diapers can be a complicated, time-consuming, and costly chore. Soaking, rinsing, pre-wash, heavy wash, extra rinse, extra rinse, extra rinse...

It depends on your diapers, your child, your water, your machine, and of course your detergent. The simpler the diaper, the simpler the wash routine. Natural fibers (cotton, hemp, bamboo) can stand up to high temperatures and manage to rinse a little cleaner than microfiber.

A lot of people recommend washing natural fibers and synthetic fibers separately. You can do this easiest by washing inserts and covers separately. You could keep two separate wet bags, one for each type of laundry, so you don't have to worry about picking them apart on laundry days. For me, that's more work than I care for (although that's what I did while working to avoid yeast). I want simplicity in my laundry routine.

Before moving in with my parents, I had that simple routine going. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how lucky I was. My parents have well water. Like most well water, it's hard, and hard water often means issues with ammonia - in the cloth diaper world, at least.

It took a couple months to get this figured out, but here is the laundry routine that's working for me now:

First, my cloth diaper detergent of choice is EcoSprout. Since having to adjust my routine, I've added Calgon brand water softener. A lot of people use liquid Calgon. I prefer powder.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
the dynamic duo
In place of a pre-rinse, I do a Quick Wash with warm water (you can see the settings in the picture below). For this, I use no detergent, but add two scoops (1 scoop = 1 tablespoon) of Calgon directly on the diapers.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
For the real deal, I use the Bulky Items setting because it's designed to add more water to the cycle (which helps to rinse the cloth diapers cleaner). I set the wash to hot water and add an extra rinse. I use two scoops of EcoSprout in the detergent compartment, and one scoop of Calgon sprinkled directly onto the diapers.
cloth diaper laundry routine suggestion: A Cloth Life
Occasionally, if I feel my diapers need an extra good rinse (not too often), I'll run the Quick Wash again, but this time with hot water and a scoop or two of Calgon.

Have you got a cloth diaper laundry routine figured out? What tricks do you use?

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