Yesterday we talked a little about the different kinds of cloth diapers that are available, but today, I think, is the most important part of this series: how to wash your cloth diapers. I honestly think that this is what turns a lot of parents off to the idea of cloth diapers. They think washing these things will be disgusting and horrendous. I’ve had mothers ask if I have to hold my cloth diapers in the toilet while flushing. I’ve had other mothers ask if we keep the cloth diapers in a bucket of water and bleach.
Thankfully, we do neither. I would not appreciate a bucket of waste mess sitting anywhere in my house for any reason. Which is why I was so glad to discover that washing cloth diapers is extremely simple if you have a washing machine.
First, you put the diapers, covers, and diaper bag (the one that holds your dirty diapers until you wash them) in the washing machine. Set your machine on cold wash/cold rinse then select the option for an extra rinse. If you do not have an option for an extra rinse, you will just have to run two cold cycles. Use detergent only in this cycle.
In the second cycle, set your machine to hot wash/cold rinse. Use detergent and softener (if desired) in this cycle.
After your diapers are clean, you may either hang them to dry or you may put them in the dryer. If you have waterproof covers, do not put these in the dryer as it will put stress on the fabric and wear them out quickly.
Some extra tidbits:
Before baby gets any solid foods their solid waste is anything but solid; those diapers may be put through the wash without being dumped. Once baby starts producing actual solid waste, just dump the solids into the toilet to dispose of it, then wash the diaper as normal.
If you find yourself with stained diaper inserts, simply leave them in the sun. The sun will bleach the stain right out.
Use any detergent that you would use on your baby’s clothing. Dreft is a popular one, as well as All, Free and Clear. (For the record, I make my own detergent using Ivory soap, Borax, and washing soda, and I use that for everybody. Saves me on confusing detergents.)
It really is just as simple as that. If cloth diapers were rocket science, people wouldn’t have continued to use them for so long, and they sure as heck wouldn’t have returned to using them years later. I found that using them was much easier than I had expected; I even had Beard convinced!