January 14, 2011

{how i wash my cloth diapers}

One of the reasons why my husband was skeptical about cloth diapering Lukka was the washing (especially poopy diapers). Well, like I told him, I'm going to be the one doing the washing and I don't mind, AND (I've said this before) it's for a good cause various excellent causes.

Here's what I routinely use for storing, rinsing, prepping, and washing dirty diapers:
  • a white plastic trash pail with a flip lid (bought at Wal Mart)
  • anti-bacterial pail liners (I have two white Kissaluvs bought from amazon)
  • bac-out spray (bought either online at the local Whole Foods)
  • charlie's soap (bought from amazon with free shipping to Hawaii!!)
  • a used tooth brush
  • a sprayer that hooks up to the toilet (also from amazon)
Here's how I use these things:

After each diaper change I toss the dirty diaper in the pail. If it's a poopy diaper I close it carefully and throw it in the pail as well.
Right when I started using cloth diapers I would immediately rinse the poopy diapers using the sprayer, but Lukka was smaller and slept more, now it's nearly impossible to rinse right away. That's where the bac-out comes in.
Bac-out is a live enzyme product, cloth diaper safe, that kills bacteria, and eliminates stains and odors. Sometimes I can't rinse the poopy diaper the same day (Lukka poops twice a day), so the next day I rinse out the poop, and spray the diaper, and the insert with bac-out, then scrub it a little with the tooth brush, rinse it and ta-da, the stain is gone. If it's a nasty stain, after scrubbing and rinsing, I spray it again with bac-out and let it sit like that, no rinsing. Bac-out comes in either spray form or in a regular bottle. The spray is more expensive, so I initially bought two, and now I buy the regular bottle and switch the cap for the spray nozzle.
I carefully planned to have a stash of diapers so I could do laundry every other day and not run out of diapers for Lukka. Right when we started I had a total of 8 diapers, and I had to wash them everyday, in the morning, so I could get them to dry in the afternoon sun (I had no dryer). Now that I have a full stash of about 25 diapers I can wash them every other day, and I can do laundry late afternoon or even at night, after Lukka is asleep (I only once went two full days without washing, and I'm committed to not doing this again).
We recently moved to the North Shore (of Oahu), and I now have a dryer in the apartment, but the lanai (balcony or terrace in Hawaiian) doesn't have direct sunlight, which means I can't really line-dry the diapers - bummer! more electric usage!
For the washing routine I usually run a quick wash with cold water, no soap. I do this so stains don't set in, and also to remove the bulk of pee. If, for some reason, I wasn't able to rinse poopy diapers by laundry day, I throw them as-is in the washer, and add a half cup of bac-out to this initial quick wash (breastfed newborn poop is water soluble, did you know that?).
Then, I do a longer wash, with hot water, and I add the soap. I usually use 1 1/4 tablespoons of Charlie's Soap.
It's important to find what soap and what amount works for you. I started with the usually indicated "half of the amount of manufacturer's instruction" and it wasn't working for me. The diapers wouldn't smell so clean after washing. So I played around until I found the right amount.
I always do an extra rinse (sometimes I do another quick wash on warm) to eliminate all the soap residue.
Then I dry everything in the dryer. The pocket diapers aren't really supposed to go in a very hot dryer, just the inserts, but I put everything in because I usually do this at night. I'd really like to line dry the diapers every single time, but for now I can only do it when I do laundry earlier in the day.
A great thing to know is that if you put stained diapers to lay in the sun, the sun will remove the stains! I used to do this at my previous apartment, works great!

Like I said, it's important to find out what works for you and your family. And always remember to try and keep water and electricity usage to a minimum, I don't think there's a need to rinse diaper a hundred times after each wash. But also remember, if anyone does need to rinse a bunch of times, it's still less water than what they use to produce a disposable diaper - however, washing diapers means you're the one directly responsible for using and paying for the water, so let's be conscious about our environment and wallets!


  1. Lendo esse seu post fiquei realmente sem fôlego amiga! Uau! Realmente precisamos pensar bem, na escolha das fraldas, do jeito de levar e cuidar, e também é melhor pensar bem antes de ter filhos, né?! kkkkk
    Estou com muitas saudades! Te amo muito!

  2. @H�ber e Karen
    Pois eh, certos tipos de fraldas dao um trabalhinho. Mas aquelas de algodao do Brasil, cobertas com uma capa a prova de vazamento eh beeeem mais facil de manter (eh so lavar e pronto!).