Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'll tell you my laundry routine if you tell me yours!

It took a while (six months!), but I've finally figured out a cloth diaper washing routine that I like. After replacing my beloved large capacity toploader with a handy-dandy new Samsung HE frontloading machine, my diaper washing routine required a little tweaking. Since my last update in July, I have further tweaked things, eliminating the need for a monthly stripping (the diapers, not me!). Drum roll, please!

1) I'm washing every 3-5 days (with the toploader, I would wash every 7 days).

2) I'm more vigilant about removing every speck of poop from Grace's diapers.

3) I've eschewed using a sopping wet towel to weigh down the load in favor of pouring extra water directly onto the diapers after I've loaded them into the machine. The plastic "Simply Orange" juice bottle is well-suited for this purpose, I pour three bottles of water onto the diapers, adding an additional five liters of water to the washing machine.

4) I do a pre-rinse (no detergent).

5) I pour three more bottles (another five liters!) of water onto the diapers.

6) I add detergent (a half scoop of Country Save at this particular point in time), running the machine's 'white' cycle, which is a hot wash, followed by a double rinse (cold water).

The pre-rinse in addition to the extra water has worked wonders, I was stripping Grace's diapers with RLR on a monthly basis (and that does work really well to remove stink), but not stripping diapers at all is nice

So there you have it. The frontloader and I are finally friends, cue applause!


  1. why the need for extra water and/or stripping? im new to cloth diapers. well i will be new in april when baby numero uno arrives.
    we just got a brand spankin' new front loaders. love them.
    theres a 'sanitary' cycle. im thinking id be doing a pre rinse with detergent and then the sanitary cyclewhich is the hottest hot.
    what kind of diapers do you use??

  2. Don't do sanitary, not necessary for regular washing (I would maybe consider it if your baby had a rotavirus, or if you were dealing with yeast issues). If you used the sanitary cycle every time you washed your diapers, your diapers wouldn't last as long (high heat will damage the PUL, elastic, snaps).

    The thing with frontloaders is that they weigh the load, and add *just enough* water... in the case of regular laundry, not a big deal, but when it comes to cloth diapers, the general rule of thumb is use more water/less detergent. If you don't use enough water, detergent (and urine) won't wash out well, leading to build-up (usually accompanied by stink). Stripping is a way to get rid of the build-up.

    I use mostly prefolds, with a sprinkling of pockets for daycare.

    susie ;)

  3. Just read this.

    With my front load washer I set the soil level to heavy (no kidding - right?), set it to hot water with cold rinse, run a prerinse and then the regular wash. I'm now using Nellie's but before used Tide Free and ran an extra rinse with it. I've never had diaper stink issues.

    However, I have had some of my other laundry start to stink. Nothing like your husband calling you from work because his pants smell like diaper stink. So every once in a while I use bleach with my whites load and that seems to keep away the stink and brightens my whites up too.

    I use prefolds with some pockets.

  4. Brige, you're actually supposed to clean your frontloader periodically, the machine itself is prone to mildew. We were advised to clean out the gasket surrounding the door after every load (ha, right, I'll get right on it!). It collects a lot of crud in that gasket, when I'm feeling brave, i give it a go, but it's gross!

    I saw a package of something at Home Depot specifically for cleaning a frontloader... remind me why we all have frontloaders again?

    susie ;)

  5. hmm interesting! thanks! i think we're using a diaper service (its a gift to us wooo!) for the first6-8 weeks.

    i heart my front loader as opposed to our top loader; becuase for our regular clothes it doesnt 'wreck' them and damage them like i felt the top loader did. pluswe dont have to handwash practically everything we own now.

  6. Ok, dare I ask, how are you removing every speck of poop from the diaper before you wash it? Are you using a diaper sprayer attached to the toilet????

  7. I love my front loader. No big difference than washing first 2 kids' diapers in top loader. We spray off poop then soak in vinegar and water and prerinse before adding wet diapers (dry pail.) Wash on Heavy, hot water, extra rinse, extra spin with Ecover detergent, hydrogen peroxide bleach and vinegar. Occasionally I put them through an extra wash without detergent.
    We hang to dry, outside whenver weather allows or inside.

    Using prefolds and motherease Sandy's, with one pocket we all loathe.

  8. I did cloth with all my three kids(for a total of 7 years!) with a Whirlpool front loader. They were actually Fuzzi bunz style pocket diapers that I made myself.
    After over 5 years of cloth diapering, I finally figured it out.... I washed every 2-3 days, diapers were only rinsed lightly if soiled before going in the pail. On wash day, they were put in the front loader with a cold rinse, then a "Heavy Duty" Wash cycle with 2 tbsp of Charlie's Soap. After I did that, I never ever experienced the stinky diaper smells that were most notable with the night diapers, they always smelled so clean. I did not need to strip diapers anymore. I use Charlie's soap for all my laundry, even to this day and my front loader never ever gets mildew or buildup.

    Good luck to all who are trying to get their diaper routine just right, I hope you'll figure it out faster than I did! ;)

  9. What does "stripping" a cloth diaper mean (sorry, am awaiting baby#1, so no diaper experience yet).
    For our front loader, to keep the mildew smell away, we leave the door open between loads to let the machine dry out. And the odd load with some bleach never hurts either (although in mine, it leads to blotchy spots on my not completely white items).

  10. I use a FL and pockets, have for almost a couple of years now. I've fiddled around with adding a towel to the load to balance it better and so it would "weigh" more to add more water...adding water to the load....and had to use either bleach or vinegar about once a month to get rid of smell build-up. Every 6 mo or so I would do a deep clean soak in hot water with lots of vinegar. I had to stop CD'ing at night because of the overwhelming ammonia issues.

    I was amazed how my stinky diaper issues dissolved when I discovered Tide He POWDER. (I was using Tide HE liquid up to that point, it was the best of all I tried.) With the powder I never add water, and I haven't had to use bleach or vinegar (hopefully those elastics will last longer now!!!) I still haven't ventured into the world of nighttime CD'ing....

    My routine is:
    spray diapers before tossing in dry pail
    cold rinse/spin
    hot wash with detergent (1/2 amount)
    hot wash no detergent.

  11. my washing machine drains out any extra water I add, even when I soak a towel. It's pretty finicky.
    Now I
    rinse and spin with vinegar (20 min)
    heavy wash, 1/2 recomended detergent and a few drops lavendar and tea tree oil in the rinse bin
    extra wash/spin cycle.(1:30)

    my husband:
    sanitize setting(1:50)
    rinse and spin(20)

  12. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.