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How to Wash Cloth Diapers： A Simple Starter Guide
If your baby is solely breastfed, their poop is water soluble and technically doesn’t require any special removal. Some moms may opt to simply toss these soiled diapers into the pail or bag they’re using for storage as is, and that’s okay.
For formula-fed babies, or for babies who have had solids introduced into their diets, you’ll need to dump, drop, scrape, or spray the solid poops into the toilet before storing the diaper with the other dirties.
Some parents use a diaper sprayer (sprayers that attach to your toilet like mini-showerheads) while others swish the diaper around in the toilet’s bowl. Even using a spray bottle full of tap water will work. Just be sure to spray or swish until the poop is removed.
Okay, so you already know where you’re storing all dirty diapers in between washings, and you’ve removed the poop from this particular diaper using the toilet bowl or a water sprayer.
If you’ve gone to the trouble of rinsing, make sure the diaper is still wet, so wet that it’s nearly dripping when you put it in with the other dirty diapers that have yet to be washed. The diaper remaining damp until washing is the secret to your baby’s poop effortlessly washing out with little to no staining.
Pee diapers can go straight into the pail with no prep work.
Plan to wash dirty diapers every day, or every other dayYes, you read that correctly. This may feel excessive, but you’re dealing with water-logged, stinky diapers. You could maybe get away with 3 days, but waiting longer than a day or two can lead to mildew stains and often requires extra wash cycles just to get the diapers clean.
Wash no more than 12 to 18 cloth diapers at a timeYour baby will go through 8 to 10 diapers in per day. (Newborns will often go through more!) This means stocking up on at least twice as many cloth diapers as you’ll use in a day, especially if you already know that running a load of diapers through the wash on a daily basis is just Not. Going. To. Happen.
You don’t have to purchase 36 cloth diapers, but you may want to stock up on at least 16 of them.
Start by dumping the dirties into the washing machine and running a cold cycleUse a pre-rinse or “speed wash” cycle with cold water and NO detergent. This will help to loosen up any lingering muck. This also reduces the potential for staining. (Some people use a small scoop of OxiClean, others swear by opting for no detergent during cold, pre-rinse cycle method.)
Run the dirties through a second, warm or hot cycleUse a regular warm to very hot cycle and cloth-friendly detergent to get the diapers officially clean. Feel free to add a little scoop of baking soda to the detergent for a power boost. Baking soda will also neutralize acidic odors and remove protein-based stains.
If your machine has the option for an extra rinse, go for it! The more water running through the diaper, the better. More water means a cleaner diaper with less staining and potential residue.
Avoid using bleach, which by the way, can cancel any manufacturer warranties. Bleach is a harsh chemical and easily damages fabrics if used too often. Vinegar, like bleach, has a strong cleaning acid naturally and is sometimes added to laundry loads for the value of softer, fresh fabrics; but the cleaning acids are strong, so the smallest amount of vinegar, if any, should be used.
Don’t use fabric softeners (this includes many well-known baby detergents, like Dreft). Fabric softeners coat the cloth diaper’s fabric, cause buildup, and prevent optimal fabric absorbency.
The best method for drying cloth diapers is outside, on a line, in the sun. Returning to the pioneering days isn’t always possible for everyone, but it is optimal. The sun defeats bacteria with freshness and gives your baby’s bottom the very best results. It also reduces staining.
If you can’t line dry outside, use a clothesline to dry the diapers inside your home! You won’t get that same sunny fresh scent, but you can still reap the benefits of line drying. The main benefit is an extended lifetime for the cloth diapers. Just be sure to hang the diapers in a way that supports the elastic, so the weight of the wetness doesn’t compromise the elastic stretch.
Some cloth diapers are able to go into the dryer on low settings, but this will cause more wear and tear as time goes on. Using a dryer may also cause damage to waterproof linings, as well as any Velcro, buttons, and snaps.
Be sure to check the drying instructions given on the product or brand’s website, before putting your cloth diapers in the dryer. Keep in mind that higher heat settings on the dryer often cause the fabric to lose some of its softness.
THIS is what happens when you accidentally wash a disposable nappy
Now I know we are not supposed to WASH disposable nappies, that’s sort of the whole reason they were invented, but one just snuck into my machine, and oh Lordy. Please send help!
Here’s what’s happened and why I am blaming my laundry faux pas on ‘mum malfunction’.
When I opened the door of my machine this morning, with just five minutes to spare to hang out the ‘washed’ load before starting work, I was met with a sight. A sight that that would make any overworked mum (and who isn’t?) shudder.
Little, slimy jelly beads were all over my family’s clothes. Between pulling out my three-year-old’s favourite Paw Patrol hoodie and my husband’s stretched undies (which one of these days I will replace … when I have the time), I discovered the culprit:
A disposable nappy.
It had become so huge from absorbing all the water that it exploded! Little bits of whatever that ‘super absorbent’ chemical in the inner layer of nappies is, sprayed EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere. After picking out clothing item after clothing item, each coated in the slippery beads, I discovered my poor old my washing machine drum was slimier than wet play dough left out in the rain. Yuck.
Now, I can deal with socks that mysteriously go missing each time I do the washing (I mean, that’s a given, right?), and also tissue disasters that happen more regularly than I’d like to admit. But this? Well, this was the ultimate laundry mishap.
The thing about a disposable nappy in the washing machine is that it not only wreaks havoc and is a pain to clean up, but it is also proof that you are a scatty mum. I mean, how the heck did I even do that?
I think I know. The reason why a disposable nappy found its way into my machine and made a scene bigger than my little one melting down in Coles, is simply that I was trying to do too much at the same time.
I was suffering from a condition that all mums have: multitasking overload. And as a result, I wasn’t thinking clearly this morning.
In between getting my boys breakfast, I quickly scooped up the dirty clothes that needed washing, including a pair of cute penguin PJs my youngest had worn last night, that happened to still have his soggy nappy inside the legs. I had a toothbrush hanging out of my mouth as I shoved the clothes into the machine. After racing past my boys, stopping to squeeze A LITTLE honey on their Weet-Bix (because they can not be trusted to do that themselves), to the bathroom to spit out the toothpaste and quickly tie my hair into a fashionable greasy mum bun, I was in ‘get everyone dressed and out the door’ STAT mode.
As a result, my ‘doing it all at once’ mum robot suffered a little multitasking breakdown. And now I am cleaning up the mess.
If you ever make the same disposable-nappy-in-the-washing-machine mistake that I have, here’s what you need to do to clean up the mess:
Pull out each jelly coated item and give it a good shake to remove the beads.
Then put the entire load in the dryer so the beads get sucked up by the lint filter.
Clean your washing machine drum by removing as many of the beads as you can. Then put some vinegar in the fabric softener drawer and run a cycle.
Wash clothes again in the clean machine if you wish and then do the vinegar trick again using a rinse cycle.
What to Do If You Wash a Disposable Diaper
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AKA: Reason #847 that I’m glad I (usually) use cloth diapers.
We just got back from our road trip to Santa Fe and, of course, there was a ton of laundry to be done. One of the first things I did when we got settled back in was to throw a load of laundry in the machine.
There were a few things in there already, so I added our vacation laundry to the few things that I threw in there before we left. This included the pair of pajamas that Dub was wearing the night before we left for the weekend.
I get the load going and don’t think anything more of it until the rinse cycle. I went to the laundry room which is also a bathroom and since our machine has a glass top I happened to look in to see how things were going. That’s when I saw that I had washed a nighttime pull up that was never thrown away before Dub threw his pajamas in the laundry pile.
I love that the little man was being helpful with the laundry, but you’ve got to be kidding me! The last thing I ever thought I would do is accidentally wash a disposable diaper since I’m usually a cloth mom. Besides, who washes a diaper?! From what I’ve read, plenty of people and now I know how easily it can happen.
The beads from the inside of the diaper were all over the clothes and the washing machine. What a mess! I also may have sworn when I realized how big of a mess this was. I may have sworn a few times, even. Maybe. I won’t confirm or deny it. (I did).
After my initial panic, I sprung into action to get this mess cleaned up. Of course, as most of us do these days, I turned to Professor Google to help me out. As usual, he came to the rescue.
First of all, if you do wash a disposable diaper, don’t panic! Really, it’s easier to clean than it seems like it will be. Trust me.Pull the diaper out as soon as you see it then complete your wash cycle.
Put the clothes in the dryer, shaking out every item as well as possible before putting it in.
Dry as normal. The beads will either disintegrate or end up in your lint filter.
Wipe as many of the beads out of the washing machine as possible with a damp paper towel. Don’t worry about getting everything. I have a top loader and I’m short so I was only able to get the biggest clumps out.
Run a wash load with as much water as possible, detergent, and salt. I used the bulky setting, a cup of detergent, and 1/4 cup of sea salt. The salt may not be necessary, but I saw someone suggest it so I tried it.
That’s it! My machine was clean after this step, but I ran a clean cycle with Affresh afterward just to be on the safe side.
With one wash, my laundry and my machine were good as new again. I don’t plan on having this accident ever again (who does?), but if I ever do I know not to panic. While it’s messy and looks like an absolute nightmare to clean, it’s actually quite easy.
You may also like:Baby Necessities You Probably Won’t Get at Your Baby Shower
Washing Cloth Diapers Part-Time
I Breastfeed Because I’m Lazy
All You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers
notebook making machine how to clean a diaper out of a washing machine