Cloth diaper laundry update

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A few months ago, I ran out of cloth diapering detergent. The Bum Genius detergent that I had been using the past two years jumped in price from $15 to $40. Granted, the detergent lasts about six months. But I didn’t want to spend that much if I didn’t have to. I decided to try a new detergent.

I thought the new detergent was working fine. But then I realized that Clarissa’s diapers started to smell more. The diaper pail wreaked of ammonia. I figured it was because Clarissa stopped breastfeeding and was drinking soy milk now. But that wasn’t the only problem. Clarissa also started to get rashes. All the time.

I assumed that her body was just done with cloth diapers and tried potty training her unsuccessfully a few different times this spring. She just isn’t interested.

Then I started to wonder if maybe it was the detergent. I started doing an extra rinse at the end, in addition to the prerinse and the normal wash cycle. That didn’t fix the problem either.

I knew it wasn’t the food she was eating that was causing rashes because if I put her in a disposable diaper, the rash would clear up that day.

I was beginning to think that maybe I should bite the bullet and order the $40 detergent, strip my diapers, and start over.

Over the weekend, I started googling like crazy. And I came across an article from a cloth diapering manufacturer that really surprised me. They said that a lot of problems people have are from diapers not getting clean enough in the washing machine. They claimed that you should never need to strip your diapers and you could just use whatever laundry detergent on your diapers that you use on your normal clothes.

I decided that I would try just using my normal detergent and see what happens. Clarissa is almost three so her diaper wearing days are numbered (I hope). If I ruin my cloth diapers I can just switch to disposables for the next month or two.

I washed my cloth diapers in my normal detergent three times. I also did one wash with dawn dish soap to get off any buildup in the diapers (also recommended in the article comments). To my surprise, my diapers are fine! She has been using the diapers for four days now. They seem softer. And cleaner. They don’t smell. And she has yet to have any kind of rash.

So really, your diaper laundry routine should be this…

  1. Do a cold rinse of your diapers (my rinse cycle is only about 20 minutes. At least, I think it’s a rinse cycle. I can’t read Korean…)
  2. Wash your diapers with your normal laundry detergent. Make sure you use enough detergent for a full load of laundry, regardless of your diaper load size.
  3. I dry the cotton inserts and prefolds in the dryer for 80 minutes. When I do the automatic dry setting, they still feel a little damp to me. I do hang my covers to dry so the elastic will last longer

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