How do I care for cloth diapers?

March 29, 2010

One thing I really wondered about before trying to cloth diaper was how to wash and care for them. I mean, how did I get all the poop out? What did I need to wash them with? Where did they go – did they need to be soaked or stay dry? This article from Thirsties should answer a lot of your questions…

before wearing…

Wash all diapers at least one time before use. Washing and drying your hemp and natural cotton diapers at least 3 times before use will wash away the natural oils that inhibit absorption.
diaper changing station…
Shake solids into toilet after each diaper change. Store your soiled Thirsties® Cloth Diapers in a DRY diaper pail. A standard 52-quart garbage pail with a lid works great and can be purchased at your local department store. Be sure to line your pail with a Thirsties® Diaper Pail Liner to avoid having to clean your pail on every laundry day.
Stow your stash of Thirsties® Fab Wipes in an accessible location to your changing table along with some fresh water for wipe dipping. Toss soiled wipes into your pail along with your diapers.

pre-wash…
For optimum cleanliness, limit the size of your load to no more than 18 diapers and wash every other day. Use COLD water for the pre-wash cycle with 1/2 ounce Thirsties® Pre-Wash solution to help pre-clean your diapers. If you do not have a Pre-Wash cycle on your washer, a Short or Quick Wash cycle will work just as good.

wash…Choose a HEAVY cycle and wash on HOT for the main wash. Use 1/2 ounce Thirsties® Super Wash per load. Thirsties® Pre-Wash and Super Wash is HE safe and has been custom formulated for use on cloth diapers.
Avoid all soaps, many “Free & Clear”, and popular baby detergents. Most detergents on the market will leave a residue on your diapers that will affect the absorbency and will cause odors and diaper rash. Be sure not to use bleach or fabric softeners, either. OxyClean® Baby is safe for occasional use, but is not necessary when using Thirsties® Super Wash in combination with HOT water. Thirsties® Super Wash is uniquely formulated to naturally brighten and eliminate harmful bacteria.

dry…
Hang your cloth diapers to dry or dry in dryer. Add a dry towel to the dryer to speed the drying process. Drying in direct sunlight is the very best method for drying and disinfecting. Hang drying also helps to preserve the textiles of your diapers and is great at getting rid of stains. Cotton and hemp diapers will be somewhat stiff when hung to dry. One option to soften sun-dried textiles made from natural fibers, is to use the dryer for the last 15 minutes.

stripping…
Even if you follow all the rules above, you still might end up with occasional stinky and less absorbent diapers due to water mineral residue. Simply replace your regular detergent with 1/4 cup Calgon® water softener (found at your local grocers) or 1-2 Tbs Dawn® or Ivory® dish soap. This process is often referred to as diaper stripping. Strip your diapers as often as needed, but not at every wash as it is a bit harsh for your diapers and your baby’s skin.

Be sure to take the 30 Days of Thirsties challenge to win a cloth diaper started pack!

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