K.I.S.S. Keep It So Simple :
Just over 13 years ago, I started my journey with cloth diapers which led to 5 children diapered, 1 retail store and now owning Happy Heiny and designing and creating my own diapers for other moms. Something I have learned through my journey is that simple really is better. Simple, natural fibers are easier to wash. Today I want to specifically talk about cloth diaper washing instructions. Simplicity matters. I see online so many suggestions of prewashes, multiple rinses, stripping, bleaching, blue dawn and even fish tank ammonia remover. If I was a new mom I think my head would swirl and whirl until it eventually spun and popped right off. Okay, maybe not that much but pretty close. I vividly remember those early sleepless days when I was really impressed if I had two shoes on and they even matched each other. (Quick public service announcement: don’t buy two pairs of shoes in the same style but different colors, at least not with small children). So really for *most* parents, what does washing diapers need to look like?
Step 1: Let baby soil diaper. This happens.
Step 2: Remove soiled diaper from baby and replace with another. If baby is not breastfed or has started solid foods, shake the solids into a toilet.
Step 3: Place in wet bag or pail liner in trash can. Don’t leave dirty diapers more than two or three days before washing.
Step 4: If you care about the aesthetics of stains or have a top loader, prerinse with cold water. A top loader acts like a bathtub where the water you wash in stays the same. A front loader is more like a shower and constantly refreshes the water.
Step 5: Wash your diapers on warm or hot with a good detergent. So what is a “good” detergent? It might depend on your washer and your local water chemistry. Allen’s Naturally has been my long standing favorite, but my city water comes from a river and is very hard; I have tried lots of different detergents before finding a few that work well. Allen’s Naturally cleans well and is also gentle on the environment.
Step 6: Hang them to dry or throw them in your dryer.
So when do you NEED to bleach? We only recommend bleaching as a sanitizing between users in second hand diapers. Bleach is very hard on your diapers, the PUL, the elastic, the water supply: basically bleach is caustic for everything.
When do you NEED to strip? Before you jump in the shower. Really, though generally if you are washing well you shouldn’t need to strip your diapers. Icky detergents leave ick in your diapers. I judge my detergent residue by if I can take blue jeans off a clothes line and wear them without looking like a scare crow.
How often should you wash? The easier your wash routine, the easier it is to wash more frequently. The more frequently you wash, the less bacteria, viruses, and other nastiness has time to grow in your diapers.
So, K.I.S.S. Keep It So Simple. Wash frequently with low residue but powerful cleaning detergents and your diapers shouldn’t require any more care or washing knowledge than the other clothes you manage to wash and dry everyday (okay maybe not everyday).