CD Wash Routine

I wrote a while back about having to strip our cloth diapers.  I may have mentioned that fabric softener is the bane of my existence, as well.  If not, you now how I hate hate hate it.  It messes with the diapers, it’s bad for the equipment, and it’s not good for your health, either!

Anyway, it seems that when you combine pocket diapers with HE washing machines you are just asking for trouble.  Pocket diapers tend to absorb smells a bit more because of the synthetic fibers, and HE machines use less water (1/3-2/3 of normal top loaders) so detergents have issues dissolving.  Between detergent build up, left over fabric softener from our neighbors’ laundry, and acidic toddler urine, the diapers started smelling of ammonia.  Gross!

One of the most confusing things to me has been figuring out a decent wash routine since our washing situation is not straight forward (i.e. we don’t have our own machines, the machines we use are coin-op and HE, and we have soft water).  I have googled ‘washing pocket diapers in HE machines’ to no end and have been working on tweaking our routine with what I found.  So, to save someone out there time, here is our routine:

Hot wash with 1/2 cup baking soda (in HE machines that only take liquid detergent such as ours, you have to throw the baking soda in the tumbler with the diapers; amount of baking soda is dependent upon size of laundry load) and 2 tablespoons of Country Save detergent (neither Purex F&C nor Planet were any good in our situation).  Throw about 1/2 cup of vinegar (equal to amount of baking soda) in the rinse to restore the ph of the diapers (since baking soda can screw with it).  Then, second wash (or just a second rinse if you have that option) with Cold water and throw a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the rinse.

If this sounds like too much trouble and you haven’t yet bought your diaper stash, stick with prefolds or fitteds made with natural fibers.

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Comments

  1. I love my pocket diapers and wouldn’t trade them for the world! Washing can be a pain, though. I am thankful to have my washing machine working again because I know it was difficult without one. I opted to go to a friend’s house with the diapers, and we just called it ladies night out, lol.
    Did you know you can strip your diapers in the dishwasher? I haven’t done it because I hate my dishwasher, but you can read about it on diaperswappers.com in the forums.
    I strip my diapers in the washing machine with Dawn dishsoap and hot water. I always double rinse on cold, then wash in hot with Dawn (about 3 big squirts) and then I rinse in cold several times. You could just do an entire wash cycle on cold to thoroughly rinse them. I put vinegar in the rinse, too. I love to add lavendar oil to my rinse sometimes too. It is great for sore skin and smells good and is a disinfectant.
    Sometimes I use baking soda for the wash cycle, too. But not while stripping the dipes.

    Do you know about all the giveaways going on this past week? There are still several open, and one is for prefold cloth diapers and a pair of babylegs! You can find a link to it on my contest blog http://qtpies7-goodstuff.blogspot.com, but all my diaper posts are on http://qtpies7.blogspot.com.

  2. I love my pocket diapers and wouldn’t trade them for the world! Washing can be a pain, though. I am thankful to have my washing machine working again because I know it was difficult without one. I opted to go to a friend’s house with the diapers, and we just called it ladies night out, lol.
    Did you know you can strip your diapers in the dishwasher? I haven’t done it because I hate my dishwasher, but you can read about it on diaperswappers.com in the forums.
    I strip my diapers in the washing machine with Dawn dishsoap and hot water. I always double rinse on cold, then wash in hot with Dawn (about 3 big squirts) and then I rinse in cold several times. You could just do an entire wash cycle on cold to thoroughly rinse them. I put vinegar in the rinse, too. I love to add lavendar oil to my rinse sometimes too. It is great for sore skin and smells good and is a disinfectant.
    Sometimes I use baking soda for the wash cycle, too. But not while stripping the dipes.

    Do you know about all the giveaways going on this past week? There are still several open, and one is for prefold cloth diapers and a pair of babylegs! You can find a link to it on my contest blog http://qtpies7-goodstuff.blogspot.com, but all my diaper posts are on http://qtpies7.blogspot.com.

  3. I had no idea that fabric softeners and dryer sheets are so unhealthy! We use dryer sheets to get rid of the static in our clothes – but not anymore after reading the post you linked to. I’ve been slowly starting to switch to natural cleaning products, such as using baking soda and vinegar to clean our toilets. I guess it’s time for me to start looking at the detergent we use now, too.

  4. I had no idea that fabric softeners and dryer sheets are so unhealthy! We use dryer sheets to get rid of the static in our clothes – but not anymore after reading the post you linked to. I’ve been slowly starting to switch to natural cleaning products, such as using baking soda and vinegar to clean our toilets. I guess it’s time for me to start looking at the detergent we use now, too.

  5. Someday I might figure out how to get the stains out….

  6. Someday I might figure out how to get the stains out….

  7. Qtpies – my dishwasher isn’t the best, so I’d probably get all kinds of food bits on the diapers. 😛 Plus, now that I’ve got a routine worked out I should be good. The baking soda and vinegar seem to ward off any effects from leftover fabric softener.

    Holly – totally! I could go on and on about all the crazy unhealthy crap that is in our everyday lives. At least it seems a little more manageable when I focus on trying to keep Jack’s stuff healthy. I should email you a bunch of other tips.

    Dawn – have you tried oxiclean? Seems to work pretty well on stains, although I must admit we don’t have stain issues usually. Sun works really well to get stains out, too.

  8. Qtpies – my dishwasher isn’t the best, so I’d probably get all kinds of food bits on the diapers. 😛 Plus, now that I’ve got a routine worked out I should be good. The baking soda and vinegar seem to ward off any effects from leftover fabric softener.

    Holly – totally! I could go on and on about all the crazy unhealthy crap that is in our everyday lives. At least it seems a little more manageable when I focus on trying to keep Jack’s stuff healthy. I should email you a bunch of other tips.

    Dawn – have you tried oxiclean? Seems to work pretty well on stains, although I must admit we don’t have stain issues usually. Sun works really well to get stains out, too.

  9. I just came across this… i also have an HE machine, and i dont think it cleans very well. I wash every other day and i still have poop stains. I put them in the sun to get the stains out.

    Now, I just noticed the ammonia smell. Yuck! i’ve had my diapers about 1 month. is the routine you listed for stripping or your every-wash routine?

    Thanks so much!

  10. I just came across this… i also have an HE machine, and i dont think it cleans very well. I wash every other day and i still have poop stains. I put them in the sun to get the stains out.

    Now, I just noticed the ammonia smell. Yuck! i’ve had my diapers about 1 month. is the routine you listed for stripping or your every-wash routine?

    Thanks so much!

  11. Thanks for writing about this! Found you thru google and your instructions worked like a charm. Guess I’d better go and get the two-pack of 5gal vinegar and the 10lb bag of baking soda from Costco! I’ve found that my son’s happy Heiny’s don’t collect the ammonia smell, but my daughter’s bumGenius started to stink after less than a month (washing nightly). Must have something to do with the different types of fleece lining.

  12. Thanks for writing about this! Found you thru google and your instructions worked like a charm. Guess I’d better go and get the two-pack of 5gal vinegar and the 10lb bag of baking soda from Costco! I’ve found that my son’s happy Heiny’s don’t collect the ammonia smell, but my daughter’s bumGenius started to stink after less than a month (washing nightly). Must have something to do with the different types of fleece lining.

  13. I have Bumgenius diapers and an HE machine. I had stink problems right away, and finally found this works for us.

    I purchased a gallon of Allen’s Naturally detergent with 1/8 oz pump.

    I do cold wash with a prewash and a little bit of the 1/8 oz detergent. Then I do a whitest whites cycle (which includes a double rinse).

    The diapers have been finally smelling good right out of the wash.

  14. I have Bumgenius diapers and an HE machine. I had stink problems right away, and finally found this works for us.

    I purchased a gallon of Allen’s Naturally detergent with 1/8 oz pump.

    I do cold wash with a prewash and a little bit of the 1/8 oz detergent. Then I do a whitest whites cycle (which includes a double rinse).

    The diapers have been finally smelling good right out of the wash.

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