Let's start with detergent. Many of your regular detergents leave residues after washing, and these residues can build up on your diapers causing them to repel rather than absorb. Here is a fantastic article on choosing a detergent for your diapers. I personally use Charlie's Soap on my diapers and now on all of my laundry. I chose it because it is sold at my local Whole Foods, so I do not have to special order. I have been very pleased with it's performance. For an easy to read chart that rates detergents, click here.
Here is my wash routine....
- Rinse on cold
- Wash on hot
- Double rinse
It's as simple as that! Some people add baking soda, vinegar, OxiClean, etc, but I do not add anything, and haven't had any issues.
For drying my diapers, I either line dry or tumble dry on low heat depending on the weather. Of course, line drying can make the diapers a little crunchy, but not too bad. They can always be fluffed in the dryer a few minutes to soften them back up.
The first time I washed my diapers, I was a bit horrified at the bright yellow stains left on them. Don't worry! The sun takes care of these. Here is a picture of a diaper that I just washed earlier today.
And here is the same diaper after an afternoon in the sun. The results are truly amazing!
A few other tips I can offer...
- Do not use regular diaper rash ointment with cloth diapers. It will cause build up and repelling. I personally use the California Baby brand that I purchased at Target. It's great and no buildup.
- If your diapers are repelling or smell even when they are clean, they probably have build up. You will need to "strip" your diapers to remove this buildup. Here is a great link on how to do this.
Next up, cloth wipes and homemade wipes solution! As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment.