WASHING CLOTH DIAPERS
Wash new cloth diapers before using them--this fluffs them up and brings them closer to their proper size (cotton shrinks 5-10%).
Since water in the diaper pail is a bother and may weaken the fibres in diapers, don't use any, but wash diapers every day to avoid odors - most experienced parents do this! You can buy diaper pail deodorizer disks that fit in the lid of the diaper pail.
Rinse soiled diapers in the toilet using rubber gloves. It is optional to rinse diapers that are only wet before placing them in the diaper pail. (Be sure the toilet bowl is kept clean! An alternative is to keep a bucket solely for rinsing diapers.) If the diaper has velcro closures, fold the hook half of the velcro back onto the loop half to prevent hooks from sticking to other diapers.
When laundering, 24 diapers is a recommended load.
1. Dump the contents of diaper pails into the washer and run a cold rinse cycle. Use hot water and the highest water level for the wash cycle.
2. Add detergent. Detergent is recommended because pure soap may leave a greasy film or form "curds" on diapers. If you prefer soap for ecological reasons, add 1/2 cup of washing soda. If using soap in hard water areas, rinse first with 1/3 cup of washing soda to eliminate soap ingrained from previous washings or a curd may form.
Bleach will whiten and disinfect diapers, but it will also cause them to wear out faster. Alternative means of whitening/disinfecting include using borax, or occasionally using chlorine-free bleach such as oxygen bleach or hydrogen peroxide bleach. Minor stains will not harm baby and will usually wash out eventually, but if you wish to hasten stain removal, just hang the diaper in the sun (the UV rays will also sanitize the diaper).
3. After the wash, put diapers through one extra cold rinse to remove any soap or detergent residues.
4. For the softest diapers, dry them in a dryer using the "Hot" setting. Don't overdry!! If your diapers have an outer waterproof layer - dry on "permanent press". Fabric softener should NEVER be used on diapers or baby clothes. It has been implicated in allergies and is not necessary if you don't overdry. Drying longer than necessary will make diapers hard and wrinkled and may damage the fibres. Hang drying is more environmentally friendly; you can put the diapers in your dryer for 15 minutes first to fluff them up if desired.
5. Finally, fold the diapers and stack them, or, if using no-fold diapers, leave them in a laundry basket near the change area.
Click here to read about "stripping" cloth diapers!