The way we wash our diapers is very simple. We use a dirty duds bag; no wet pails for us. Then dump them in the washer and do 3 cycles which are rinse, wash, rinse cycles. Hubby did a full wash with no soap, then a wash with soap, but then I caught him and did a last rinse with just the rinse cycle.
I prefer to do the first and last rinses with just a rinse cycle. This saves a lot of water and money. When washing your cloth diapers, remember to:
- Turn your machine to the hot/cold rinsing temperature.
- Use very little soap. We use a fragrance, softener, and dye free soap. All of those additives can irritate the skin and some can react with the urine in the diapers and cause rashes. You only need about a quarter of whatever the usual soap amount is.
- Fill your washer to the highest water level so the diapers have lots of room to move and groove and get clean. Even if you don't have a full load of dipes. It's actually better to wash around 2 dozen at a time so they can really move in the wash. I have 2 kids in dipes so we usually do around 2 or 3 dozen prefolds at a time and the various covers and doublers.
- Do a last rinse cycle to be sure that all of the soap has been rinsed out and add vinegar to that last rinse. Vinegar neutralizes the urine and restores the Ph balance in the diapers. It also makes them soft and smell good. We use whatever vinegar we have on hand. At the moment we're using apple cider vinegar. Take out the dipes and smell them! So clean and fresh smelling right?!
- Throw them in the dryer and hold off on the dryer sheet! The dryer sheets can leave a film on the diapers that repels water. That's not helpful at all since you want to absorb not repel water. (Plus, they're not that great for your dryer, either.) You can dry the covers in the dryer, but the elastic will last longer if you hang them to dry. Plus, it doesn't take long to hang dry them. You may throw a towel or tennis ball in with the diapers to help them dry faster, but it's up to you.
- Line drying in the sun is also an excellent way to dry the diapers. The sun is a natural bleacher and will fade all those unsightly poop stains. I think it's also super cute to have all those wonderful diapers swaying in the breeze. I really feel like I'm doing something good for my children and the environment.