I’ve been asked this a few times now, and I’ve been hesitant to share my cloth diaper wash routine. Hesitant because I believe cloth diapering is multidimensional and wash routines differ for everybody and even every baby.
On the Cloth Diaper Podcast, I’ve been asking about different routines because I want to share in that spectrum of possibilities. It’s been amazing to learn what everyone does different and works for them that may or may not be different than a certain massive group thought on cloth diapering.
Because I’ve been asking and sharing different wash routines on the podcast, I figured it’s time to share mine. Maybe, somebody will stumble upon and will find some help in my routine to assist them.
This is not an approved wash routine. It’s just what I do to wash my diapers. I consider everything good if there’s no stink or rash. Stains happen though. Seriously, my kids never have a rash unless they are teething and pooping. When they do, I use this stuff.
My Cloth Diaper Wash Routine History
This is my second washing machine. It is also my favourite. Before this machine, I had an old school (but new) top loader with an agitator. However, then a few of my cloth diapers died, and my clothes were beginning to get holes in them. We sent that machine to a new home, and my husband bought one of the cheaper machines at our local Lowes.
I didn’t do any research. I told him I wanted an HE machine, no agitator, preferred top loader. And I love my new washing machine. It’s everything and more, without being too much.
When I first started cloth diapering, I used Nellies (because that was the thing in 2015) without problem for 6 months, and then my kid started solids and it went downhill real fast. I played out with Gain AMT, and Persil before settling on Tide. I haven’t budged from my detergent in like two years.
I would really like to try a more environmentally conscious detergent because I don’t feel Tide is a good choice, but I am terrified. That’s the truth.
My Wash Routine
My Machine: LG WT1501CW 5.2-cu ft High-Efficiency Top-Load Washer — Here’s the link to Lowes. It’s a large capacity machine.
My Detergent: Powdered Tide from Costco.
My Water Hardness: Somewhat Hard?
I actually don’t know my exact water hardness. I know that’s a thing right now, but I don’t think its necessary. I think its overkill, and you can get an understanding of you water by using your water. It’s easy enough to make tweaks adjustments as you go along. You probably know if your water is super soft, or hard based on your sucess with washing things before diapers. Does it take forever to rinse shampoo from your hair? Or do rocks fall out of your water tap?
Pre Wash Game.
I wash my cloth diapers whenever I feel like it. When I had 2 kids in cloth diapers it was every other day, but now that I have one in diapers, it’s closer to 3-4 days.
I don’t use any liners. I just dump poop. I’m pretty lucky that I have ploppable poop from my kid, but before those beautiful days, I just swished in the toilet and washed my hands. #stayclassypeeps
I did have a spray pal with my first child, but it leaked everywhere and I took it off. I’m not sure if my connection was bad, or something. Anyways, constant leaking even when turned off had me ditching the Spray Pal.
My diapers live in either my Mother-ease pail, or sometimes I use hanging wetbags like the discontinued Funky Fluff, or the always fab Planetwise Hanging Wet Bag. I did try a system like Buttons with a pail liner, but I never found a pail I loved.
I also collect any dirty small clothes and wash them with my diapers. I keep those in my wetbags because that’s just a good place to put sticky, slimey, wet wash clothes from toddlers. It’s also a good place to put all my gross kitchen towels from cleaning up messes because we dont’ use paper towels. These are things I add to my cloth diaper laundry.
I start my load first thing in the morning because my goal is to start the second cycle by the time we need to leave for Preschool. This means, when I get home, it just needs to dry!
Assuming a full load – that my machine is 2/3 full. #lotsofdiapers – That’s like 36 diapers plus kitchen clothes. I do also wash smaller loads, but I do find I get the best results with a fuller load. That said, I washed 24 diapers for a few months with very few issues.
Dump everything into the machine.
Add 1 line of powdered Tide.
I set the machine to casual, water plus, and peace out. Water plus really helps if you have a heavily soiled load.
It’s about an hour cycle.
I return and try to remember to fluff off the sides, but honestly, I don’t 70% of the time. It does help.
I add a full scoop, line 5 of Powdered Tide. I follow the package instructions for a full HE load.
I set it to Bright Whites with hot water. That’s like an 1 hour and20-minutes cycle, and head out the door.
When that’s finished, I try not to forget it overnight. If I do, I smell test. If it smells stale, I’ll spin it around again. Otherwise, I hang my covers and dry my inserts on medium in the dryer.
If I’m feeling really energy conscious, I’ll hang everything, but usually into the dryer. Flats are my favourite thing to hang dry they are simple and easy, but often I just get in the bad habit of using my dryer.
Do I have wash problems?
Sometimes I get sloppy with my detergent amounts and I begin to have the stinky’s. I’m human, and my children are human, so things are in flex.
The good news is it’s super easy to fix problems.
That’s right, so if my kids have been pooping up a storm all week, and my diapers smell poopy because I’m not using enough detergent, then I just wash them with more detergent next time. This usually resets it and I try to be better next time.
Sometimes, my diapers also stink like pee. This happens to me when I’m using too much detergent. So, I wash like normal and do an extra rinse. I find that even with hard water, an extra rinse every now and then keeps the detergent from building up on my diapers.
If neither of those tricks works, then next time I do laundry, I toss in a Mighty Bubbles as per package directions and keep on my way.
I haven’t had a lot of struggles, and my detergent performs very well.
When I do have problems, I don’t stress about it because I don’t think the stress of knit picking my wash routine is worth the headache. I would rather use Mighty Bubbles every 6 months to spruce up my cloth diapers than analyze the crap out of my routine.
So ya, it’s not perfect because I need to do a gentle refresh more often than I think the scientists of cloth diapering would suggest. However, I don’t really care because it’s no inconvenience to me to add in the Mighty Bubbles when things go awry. Which, I usually think is more human error.
That’s my cloth diaper wash routine strategy. Let me know if you have any questions.