Sunday, July 1, 2012

So Now What do I Do? Prepping Diapers style and my Wash Routine

So you have been following my posts and have learned about what the pros and cons to cloth diapering are, what types of cloth diapers there are, and seen different examples of cloth diapering systems. You have perused  different cloth diaper stores and decided what to order.  Days of anxiously checking your mail box and your diapers have finally arrived.  As you sit staring at them, you are left thinking now what the heck do I do with these?  Oh and if you missed the earlier posts, check them out here:

Prepping Diapers
All brand new diapers must be prepped before use.  Microfiber and synthetic materials are easy enough to prep.  All you have to do is wash them once before use.  (Synthetic materials are PLU, microfiber, microterry, etc.)  Natural fiber products are a bit different.  To achieve maximum absorption capabilities, they must be washed numerous times before use. This gets rid of the natural plant oils that remain on them after manufacturing.   Most places recommend somewhere in the ball park of 5 times, but keep in mind that they still won't be fully absorbent until closer to ten washes.  (Natural fibers are things like cotton, hemp, bamboo.)

When I got my diaper stash completed, I prepped all my Bumgenius 4.0's and other synthetic material cloth diapers together.  To do this, I just washed them like I would normally.  More on my wash routine in a bit.  Natural fibers can either be washed 5ish times or boiled if they don't contain PLU.  Trust me when I say this, I love boiling things.  You just boil the inserts for 20 minutes.  Sometimes I will repeat this if the water seems to have a lot of oils in it.  But unfortunately for me, half of my stash was Grovia organic cotton snap in inserts with the TPU backing so they had to be washed.  I just made sure to wait until my entire stash was completed and did all the natural fiber materials together.  But make sure to not combine synthetics with natural fibers until the prepping is completely done.  

Washing Routine for Cloth Diapers
 This is my current diaper washing routine and how I prepped my diapers.  Oh and I have a top loading, non-HE washer and extremely hard water.
Step 1:  I do a warm wash/cold rinse with 20 drops of tea tree oil   and 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract Grapefruit Seed Extract.  (If you have an option to do just one warm rinse, do this but my washer isn't that fancy so I just run an entire warm wash.)  I usually wash about 18-24 diapers at a time (every other day, never longer than three days.)  This step is to rinse away an solid matter that might have been left behind on your diapers.  The tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are for yeast which Kai is prone too.  If he is having a particularly long stretch without yeast problems, I do occasionally drop this part of my routine.

Step 2:  I then do a hot wash cycle (normal or heavy duty) with a cold rinse.  I use 1 1/2 tablespoons of Rockin Green hard rock and a half a cap of Calgon since we have very hard water.

Step 3:  I then do a nother hot water wash (on the shortest cycle) with a cold rinse with another half a cap of Calgon.  No soap.  This step is just to further rinse out any detergent residue.  (I used to just do an extra cold rinse, but started having ammonia buildup problems as Destructo got into the dread toddler urine stage.)

I then line dry all my inserts and covers and once dry, toss the inserts into the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up.  Tada perfectly clean and prepped diapers. 

When changing Destructo, I rinse each diaper even if it was just a wet diaper with my diaper sprayer.  My hubby made mine, but I regret this because the store bought ones have different settings that control the pressure to avoid over spraying the entire bathroom.  I then put them in my wet bags.  I currently use Planet Wise hanging wet bag.  I thought it would be easier to not have a diaper pail taking up precious room in that bathroom because it is small, but unfortunately the diapers weigh a lot when you spray each one and the handles are ripping so I am going to be buying a Planet Wise pail liner and get a dreaded diaper pail.

I promise it isn't as intimidating as it seems when you are staring at baskets of brand new cloth diapers and thinking I just spent hundreds of dollars on these, if I screw them up my husband will kill me.  At least that was my thought.  I spent hours working up the courage to prep them.  I also spent hours scouring the internet to make sure I prepped them perfectly.  It was not a big deal at all looking back.  Just another first time mom moment I suppose.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have.  I promise to answer them. 

Coming soon to a blog near you:  Cloth Diapers:  The Betrayal which will focus on common cloth diapering problems and what I have found fixes them.

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  1. Interesting, I think I'm going to try your extra wash (+ rinse) method. Maybe it will help with our stink issue!

    1. Is it ammonia stink issue? If so, you might also try adding a tablespoon of Rockin Green Funk Rock into the prerinse. I still haven't perfected my wash routine. I have gotten rid of the ammonia in all my diapers except my overnight ones. Not sure what to do about that. I might try Calgon again.


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