Friday, September 9, 2011

Cloth Diapers & The Front Loader

I have a on off relationship with cloth diapers.  I'm okay with that.  When I first started to use cloth diapers I loved them.  I am pretty sure I drove my friends batty with diaper chat.  I found other cloth diaper companions in church and with "old" friends across the miles.  We were the few...the odd.

I was on again off again with them.  Morning sickness pushed me over the edge with Miss A and this one that I didn't want to deal with any sort of diapers really.  We are at a point that I am loving them again.  Not to the point where I can barely contain myself when new ones come out or I am always trying to figure out a way to justify some new diaper purchase.  I am pretty happy with what we have and I was "gifted" some cloth diapers for the newest addition in newborn sizes so we'll see how it goes when she arrives and once again I have two in cloth.

I think my biggest struggle has been fine tuning our wash routine.  Cloth diapers wash up beautifully in a traditional top loader.  It can be more of a trick in a front load washer, which is what we have.  I had our routine down pretty well in our old house where the water was soft.  Now we are in a place where the water is fairly hard which doesn't always let the soap do what it needs to be doing.  And while front loaders save on water I need more water in with my diapers.  What's a mama to do?

Awhile back I had bookmarked a page on the Knickernappies website that had several videos of different women and their wash routines.  I guess there really is a video for just about everything on YouTube!  I watched them all and finally came up with something that I think will work for our family.  Maybe this will help you?

FYI:  We wash about every third day, small load or big load.  That will probably change to every other day when #3 arrives.  I have mentioned this before but generally, when I am doing cloth my regular laundry routine gets better, too.  I am still working on that this go round.  HA!

  1. I toss in all of our diapers and wet bag.  I set the washer for a regular wash on cool.  I then set my kitchen timer for about six or seven minutes.  This lets the diapers get nice and wet and tossed around a bit. NO DETERGENT.
  2. I turn off the cycle and the water drains without a spin cycle.  This will trick your machine into thinking that it has a bigger load and will add more water when you start the next step.
  3. I add 2 TBS of Rockin' Green laundry Detergent to the soap container.  Select Heavy Duty cycle (never Sanitize as the machine increases the temp of the water which may be too hot for PUL), Hot water, add the extra rinse/skincare rinse, and press start.  I set my kitchen time for about another six or seven minutes.
  4. When I know that the washer is done filling I grab a pitcher from cupboard and get the water as hot as I can from my kitchen sink.  I fill the pitcher and pour this into my washer manually through the soap dispenser.  Depending on the size of the load I will do this 2 to 4 times.  You want enough water in there that they swish around but not too much where they are just hanging out in the water.  If you are trying this for the first time I recommend to pitchers of water, wait 5 to 7 minutes, and then look in your wash bin and evaluate from there.
  5. After the cycle is finished I usually pull out my wet bag (as it can hold water sometimes) and hang it up to dry. (Sometimes, not always I repeat steps 1 and 2 here)  I then set my washer for another regular hot wash, NO DETERGENT, extra rinse to make sure all was rinsed well.
  6. Hang everything out to dry in the hot Phoenix sun.  The sun's UV rays help to kill odor causing bacteria, will help to remove any stains or discoloring, it's cheap, and even the thicker diapers dry uber fast.  Even in the winter here I try to do this as often as possible.  Other wise inserts and prefolds (and sometimes fitteds) go in the dryer, AIO's and pockets are hung up in the girls bathroom.
There you have it.  So far so good.  It seems to be holding the ever popular microfiber stink at bay.  With each wash it gets better.

Do you have a specialized routine for your cloth diapers and a front loader?  Tips?  Tricks?


  1. wow. that's a lot of work! But thank you, because even though I don't have little ones around I have been wondering how to bleach a fabric in a front loader. You essentially need the same effect of water and I need to add lots of bleach mid cycle and I wasn't sure how to do that! Goes to show you never really know who your blog audience is ;-) LOL! thanks!

  2. Well, I remember you saying that my washer was good for washing cloth diapers. There is a small possibility that I may get a new washer, not sure yet. Would you want mine for your diapers?

  3. How funny...this is on my to write about list for my blog, too. I am writing up a whole bunch of information for one of Jon's co-workers and figured if I was already writing it, I should post them as well.

    We actually have a setting on our washer where we can do a rinse cycle with no spin so that works out fabulously as the pre-rinse so they get all nice and soaked before doing the actual wash. I don't ever add water to mine...I just do the heavy soil and max rinse which is longer than just an extra rinse. :) Then another quick wash or rinse at the end. Clear as mud, right? ;)