My wash routine has been adjusted a few times over the past 10 months of cloth diapering, but I think I have finally settled into what works for me. I wash my diapers on the evening of every third day. I like washing in the evening, because I can change my daughters into their night-time diapers and then wash everything without immediately dirtying new diapers (it's inevitable, but it makes me feel better!).
My Wash Routine
My Wash Routine
- Lug diaper pail to washing machine, empty contents into machine, take inserts out of pockets, and make sure all the Velcro tabs are secure.
- Cold Soak & PreWash to remove the nasties - no detergent.
- Hot Wash & Warm Rinse - 2 scoops Charlie's Soap Powder + 1 scoop Charlie's Hard Water Treatment (about every six weeks I also add 1/8th cup bleach).
- Short/Light Cold Wash & Cold Rinse - no detergent.
- Hang & Machine Dry.
- Restuff and put away clean diapers (usually the next morning).
There is a great chart of Diaper Safe (and not safe) Laundry Detergents over at the Diaper Jungle. We chose to use Charlie's Soap because of price (Amazon Subscribe and Save is awesome!), because it is available at one of our local stores, and because it works! We use it exclusively for all our laundry with great results. My wash routine is slightly different than the wash routine recommended for diapers by Charlie's Soap.
Extending the Life of Your Diapers
There are a few things you can do to ensure that your cloth diapers stay in good order for as long as possible. In order to help my diapers last (hopefully through 2+ children) this is what I do:
- Always hang dry any diaper/cover that has Velco, elastic,or PUL components. In a desperate situation dry these items on low heat and DO NOT stretch the elastic while it is warm.
- Use Bleach sparingly. Too much too often will eat away at your diapers and shorten the life of your PUL.
- Dry inserts and prefolds on medium heat. High heat damages fibers over time.
- Reuse your covers as many times as you can between washes. I only throw my covers in the pail to wash if they have nastiness on them. If they are just moist, I just hang them to air dry before reusing them.
- Use liners to protect your diapers from staining and make removing solids easier. I cut myself reusable liners out of anti-pill fleece (they are purple in the above photo).
So that is how I do it, and honestly how I do it won't necessarily work for everyone. Trial and error is a cloth diaperer's best friend! Good luck working out your own wash routine and happy diapering!
As always, there are many more links to cloth diapering information and my posts about cloth diapering on The Family Room page.