Cloth Diaper Column | Hassle Free Cloth Diaper Laundry Routines

Issue #06, September 2012

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Back to School

September signals the end of summer, and a return to more regular routines. Are you wanting to simplify your life? Fall can be the perfect time to establish new routines, too! Take it one step at a time, but keep on looking forward. Whether it’s housework, meal preparation, or your child’s sleep (I can relate with you on that, but I certainly don’t have the answer!), if you’ve been contemplating making changes, why not get started now?

Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.

-- George Evans

Even though my little boy isn’t in school yet, I always feel a powerful tug to get prepared for a new year when fall rolls around! Throughout our lives, we never stop learning, as we stumble across new ideas and different ways of thinking, and as we develop. And with back-to-school ads on the radio and TV, I thought this quote was a good reminder that we all learn in different ways.

This Month's Feature

After you started using cloth diapers, did you discover new ways of thinking and doing? I love learning about new brands and diaper styles! But the biggest area of learning for me has been cloth diaper laundry!

Want a Hassle Free Laundry Routine?

cloth diaper laundry detergent

If you’ve been cloth diapering for even a few hours, you’ve probably already discovered that laundry is the one area that everyone gets worked up about. Why? Because it’s so unpredictable. What works for one, simply doesn’t work for another. Routines that work well for months can cause major problems later on, for example when your baby starts teething.

Here are 5 tips that will help you avoid the trouble-shooting later:

Wash regularly. 2 days is ideal, but don’t push it beyond 3 days. The longer you leave it, the more those unfavorable scents set in. Ammonia can damage diapers, especially elastic. Plus, your diapers are at risk for mold and must.

Easy does it. You’ve probably heard that you don’t need as much detergent as you thought you did to get your diapers clean. It’s easy to measure out powder detergents such as Nellies, but if you are using liquid detergent such as Allens Naturally, consider putting it into a hand-soap dispenser. There’s always a chance of free-pouring too much detergent into your machine, and we found that a pump was one of the easiest and most reliable ways to meter out small amounts of soap.

Avoid fabric softeners and additives. Not only are these products expensive, they can also have an impact on the performance of your cloth diapers. Fabric softeners coat the fabric, leaving a soft, silky feeling. But if the fabrics are already saturated with softener residue, they simply won’t be able to absorb urine, which is the job you need them to do! Wool dryer balls are an excellent and cost-effective alternative to fabric softeners, and you can use them with every load of laundry, not just your diapers!

Stay with what works for you. This is important. New detergents can wreak havoc on a washing routine. If it’s not broke, it’s really important that you don’t try to fix it. There are a lot of great reasons to switch detergents, especially if what you’re using doesn’t work. Because I work full time, laundry detergents are an item I don’t have time to worry about – messing with it could simply be more hassle than it’s worth!! So for cloth diaper laundry, once you find something that works, stick with it until you have a need to change it. If you feel the urge to experiment, try a new brand or diaper style, not a new detergent!

Talk to other cloth diapering parents in your area. While it can be tempting to do a Google search and then go ahead with the first set of recommendations you see, water types vary considerably across the country. Whether you’re on well water or you use municipal water supplies in your city, the type of water you have will impact the results you’ll experience with various detergents. If you can, exchange notes with other local cloth diapering mamas, and find out what works for them. Your local cloth diaper retailer, mom and tot drop-ins or breast feeding groups can be great places to find other parents with similar interests, and we all know it’s fun to find someone to chat about cloth diapers with!

For more on cloth diaper laundry, check out the washing articles on our website. If you have a question or a tip to share, please let us know! I’d love to hear from you!

Have you heard?

News from the Cloth Diaper World

  • The Fall Fitted Event: every day for the month of September, my friend Chana from Adventures in Fluff is featuring a new fitted diaper brand. I’ve learned so much, and have even discovered a few brands that I’m now eager to try. Plus, if you’ve ever thought about making your own diapers, Chana featured a special tutorial from yours truly on how to turn a prefold diaper into a fitted! Stop by to learn more, and enter some of the great giveaways she has starting at the end of the month, too!

  • Until September 25, Steph at Housewife Mama is running a charity awareness event and fundraiser for Sweet Cheeks Diaper Kits. This wonderful charity is based out of North Carolina, and helps families who would love to save money with cloth diapers, but can’t afford the start-up costs. Read more here!

  • And on our Facebook page: We got a lot of feedback from you when we asked “Have you ever had buyers' remorse with cloth diapers? Where you ordered a diaper, and then you were disappointed with it when it came and it wasn't as awesome as you thought it would be?” Join us on Facebook to be a part of the conversation on this and other great cloth diaper topics!

Special Savings for You:

Last month, I told you about a new magazine I had discovered. I subscribed myself, and I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been really impressed with it so far! When it came in the mail, I was surprised (in a good way!) This magazine might just be starting out, but the photography, articles, and content are all top notch! I love the fact that it’s printed on eco-friendly paper, and that you can also get a digital subscription for your iPad or digital device if you prefer not to get the paper at all! It’s published 4 times per year, and it’s definitely a magazine I plan to renew!

Eco Parent has offered a special subscription rate to all Thinking About Cloth Diapers readers. For a limited time, save 20% off the cost of an annual subscription to Eco Parent with the code: thinkingaboutcloth.

Keeping Up

Tired of that never-ending laundry routine? Try not to handle dirty clothes twice! This has saved me a lot of time, and has the added benefit that we’ve had less mistakes of items being thrown into the wrong load.

We introduced a 3-section laundry hampers to our bedroom and the bathroom a few months ago, and it forces us to sort as we go. Now, I can simply grab the contents from the “whites” and throw them in the wash when that section gets close to full… no more sorting required.

Of course, if you buy a special sorter, many are labeled, but you can also play around to figure out what sorts make the best sense for you. For me, the sorts are white, dark, and special care (my dress clothes) in the bedroom, and in the bathroom - white, dark, and towels. I bought the sorters from Wal-Mart and I think they were around $25 each, but you can also make your own using laundry baskets. Check out my favorite source of inspiration – Pinterest – for all sorts of great ideas!

Keep in touch! If you have a question, or an idea you think we should share with other busy moms in an upcoming Cloth Diaper Column, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to drop me a line!

That’s all for this month! Thanks for hanging out with me!

PS – Have you discovered our weekly cloth diaper sales round-up? Each week, we save you time by publishing the best cloth diaper deals from our favorite retailers in one article. We’ve been publishing this fan favorite for a few months now, and what we’ve heard from readers like you is that a subscription option for this newsletter would be a welcome addition! If you like to save (and who doesn’t?) it only takes a minute to subscribe at the bottom of this page.

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