Monday, June 22, 2009

Hang your diapers out to dry!

It's a lovely day in Ottawa, the sun is shining, and there's a warm breeze to keep the humidity at bay.

Do you use cloth diapers? Then you know today is the perfect day to line-dry them! If you've never line-dried your diapers before you really should consider it. Cost savings aside, there are lots of great reasons to line-dry your diapers (or clothing in general):

  • the sun is wonderful for removing/fading organic stains -- those bright yellow breastfed poop stains won't last a half-hour in direct sunlight!

  • line-drying will help extend the life of your diapers and covers.

  • line-drying will help remove odors. When you take the diapers off the line, give them a good whiff -- people pay for scented detergents that recreate that fresh-off-the-line smell... line-drying will create that fresh scent for free!

  • The UV light in sunshine is a natural disinfectant... step away from the bleach (which you should avoid with most cloth diapers anyhow) and let Mother Nature work her magic.

  • Hanging your laundry outside gives you a great reason to get outside... let the kids play in the yard while you hang up the laundry... it's actually kind of fun, I promise!

I hung our laundry outside this morning at 9 am (our line gets full exposure in the sun until about 2pm), and as an experiment, I paid attention to the drying times of different types of diapers. Wanna know how long it took for our diapers to dry?

  • and the winner is... pocket diapers! Dry in just under 2 hours, both the shell and the microfiber insert. I do flip the shells inside out so that they dry quicker.

  • our prefolds (4x8x4) were dry after 3 hours in the sun.

  • a traditional AIO diaper (a couple layers of flannel sewn into the body of the cover, with a flannel doubler sewn down at both ends) was dry after 3.5 hours.

  • the losers in the race were a fitted diaper (bamboo, which isn't surprising, since it's so absorpent), and a stuffable AIO, which was a little surprising. The stuffable AIOs should, in theory, dry faster than a traditional AIO (due to the pocket), but I'm guessing the microfleece lining the diaper increases the drying time.

You may think that line-drying your laundry will take more time overall than continuously running your dryer, however, one of the advantages of line-drying is that after a load is finished in the washing machine, you can put it out on the line, you don't have to wait until the previous load has completed the dryer cycle. We have a "Top Spinner Rotary Dryer", (which is currently 25% off at Canadian Tire), it can comfortable hold two large-capacity loads of laundry. I can get all of our laundry done in less than 8 hours if I line-dry, since I'm constantly rotating items off on and off the line (in a household of six people. that is no small accomplishment!).

If you're worried about your diapers being stiff after you take them off the line, you can add vinegar to your washing machine's final rinse, it's a natural fabric softener. Using a detergent that washes out well (all of the detergents we sell are low-residue), and using a minimal amount of detergent, will also help (that crunchy feeling could be detergent build-up). Finally, if the crunchiness really bothers you, you could always toss the diapers into the dryer for 5-10 minutes after you take them off the line...

1 comment:

  1. I just bought my first dryer and I'm still figuring out how to work with it. Best results are achieved when you dry till your laundry is ‘not quite dry’ but not still damp. Once your laundry is totally dry, if it continues to tumble around in the heat, you will get static and you’ve wasted all that electricity on needless drying. There are also some awesome tricks how to cut your dryer time Up to 50% ! Here you can find more information -