Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cloth diaper laundry - what worked for us!

We have now done about 6 loads of cloth diaper laundry (about once every 2 days) in our Frigidaire front load washer with Country Save detergent. Our loads consist mainly of the Bummis organic prefolds plus some Bummis covers, Kawaii snazzy minky pockets, AMP pockets and wet bag. For the first load, we followed the directions in the Bummis manual and the dipes seemed to come out OK. However about 2 loads later, we started to notice a bit of an unpleasant ammonia-y smell so obviously things weren't getting fully clean. During the next load, I added half a cup of vinegar to the initial prewash cycle and then continued with the Bummis instructions and there was still a bit of a smell. So I changed things up a bit further during the latest cycle and it seemed to work wonderfully - no smell! I also noted that the latest load was larger due to a few extra Kawaiis and microfiber inserts in the mix, so the washer would have used additional water which may have helped as well. Here are the full directions we will be following moving forward; I'll post an update if we find we need to make additional adjustments (e.g. when S starts eating solids.)
  1. Start with a large load of cloth diaper laundry. (If it's smaller, add a wet towel to the mix to get the washer to add more water.)
  2. Make sure inserts are removed from all pockets, one size diapers are fully unsnapped, velcro tabs are fastened and prefolds are "unbunched".
  3. Run a cold/cold delicate cycle with 1/4 the recommended detergent for a front load washer (this amounts to about 1/2 a tablespoon of Country Save).
  4. Run a hot/cold normal cycle with the same amount of detergent as the previous cycle. Turn the extra rinse option on.
  5. Run an additional light wash cycle on warm with extra rinse off.
  6. Remove the Bummis covers and wet bag and hang to dry (Note: we need a better solution for soiled dipes while the wet bag is drying. We're currently just setting them on dirty clothes in a laundry basket!)
  7. Dry remainder of load on medium heat. Do a full cycle then an extra 15-20 minutes to fully dry the prefolds.
In the summer, we'll probably hang dry the dipes to help sanitize them and remove any stains. In the meantime, we'll dry the occasional load on high heat to help with sanitization. We'll also likely replace the detergent in the cold/cold cycle with a cup of vinegar about once a month to help remove detergent build-up in the washer.

Now that we seem to have a good handle on laundry, my next mini-project is to figure out an effective solution for home-made baby wipes! This should save a few extra hundred $$s and also allow us to control the "ingredients" touching our little one's tushy! I'll post on our experiences here as well - stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I bought a Planetwise wetbag in the large size - http://www.bynature.ca/baby/cloth-diapers/cloth-diaper-accessories/pail-liners-tote-bags/planetwise-wet-bag.html. It is perfect for laundry day for storing diapers while the wetbags are drying, it is also a good size for overnight trips when our small zipper wet bags aren't enough. Plus it has a front pouch to store clean diapers (or clean clothes etc.). I would imagine it would also be good for going swimming and transporting wet towels/swimsuits.