Washing Cloth Diapers With Hard Water

How To Wash Cloth Diapers For The First Time

If you’ve decided to use cloth diapers on your baby, you need to learn how to prep them and wash them for the first time before you start using them.

I absolutely love using cloth diapers on my kids. Sure it’s a little more work but they are so cute, and they barely ever gave me problems with leaking. I used disposable diapers too as a new parent but I did like cloth diapers more.

The thing about cloth diapering is, that if you’re not caring for your diapers correctly, they can start to leak due to detergent buildup.

If you’re new to cloth diapering and have a tiny cache of diapers, you might be wondering if you need to wash them before using them for the first time.

Whether you bought them secondhand or new, you’ll want to “prep” them by running them through the wash at least a couple of times before using them.

If they’ve been used before, wash cloth diapers at least twice (as directed above) and sniff them to make sure there’s no stench behind. You’ll want to run them through the clean cloth diapers again if they still smell weird.

New cloth diapers should also be cleaned before being used.

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Why Do We Prep (Wash) New Cloth Diapers

Baby’s cloth diapers preparation, sometimes known as “prep,” is the process of making your diapers fit your infant. You should prepare your cloth diapers for two reasons:

  • Before placing them on your baby, make sure you have clean diapers. Because cloth diapers are worn against your baby’s most sensitive parts, we want to make sure they’re clean before you use them to prevent diaper rash. Cloth diapers are a manufactured item, and that process does not take place in your house, whether it is done by a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) or in a bigger manufacturing facility or diaper service. Any worries are washed away with a pre-wash.
  • Natural plant oils should be removed from natural fibers. Natural plant oils are retained in cotton, hemp, and bamboo textiles. Because natural oils restrict absorption, it’s critical to remove them from the cloth before using the diapers. Because plant crops change from season to season, the same fabric type may require more or fewer washes when you buy diapers from various batches. Natural-based textiles attain their peak absorbency after 10 washes, however, after 3-5 washes, they may typically be worn during the day.

Washing Your New Cloth Diapers

When preparing diapers, the first thing you should do is look at your product tags to see what kind of cloth you have. The kind of cloth in your diapers will dictate how you should prepare them.

  • Stay-dry linings and micro terry are both made of polyester. If your diapers are made entirely of polyester or a polyester-nylon combination, you just need to wash them once before using them. Although a polyester diaper does not need to be readied in principle, we recommend washing it before use for extra health and safety.
  • Put the diapers in the laundry with the recommended amount of detergent.
  • Run a hot wash cycle (110-140° F).
  • Rinse a second time to make sure all of the detergents are gone.
  • Alternatively, hang to dry.

Natural fabrics such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo take numerous washing to become absorbent. In general, the darker the fabric, the more washes are required to completely prep it. Some of the natural plant oils have been removed from whiter fibers during the production process. When preparing natural fiber diapers, please keep in mind that shrinking is normal and anticipated. Bamboo diapers can shrink up to 20%, but cotton and hemp diapers shrink 10-15%.

  • Put the diapers in the laundry with the recommended amount of detergent.
  • Run a hot wash cycle (110-140° F).
  • Rinse a second time to make sure all of the detergents are gone.
  • Dry on low heat in the machine. It is advisable to use the dryer until your diapers are fully absorbent since it helps make the cloth quilter softer.
  • Before placing the diaper on your infant, repeat the wash and dry cycle at least 3-5 times.
  • Diapers will be acceptable for daytime usage, however, peak absorbency will not be reached until after 10 washes. When wearing a diaper for naps or at night, it’s best to wait until it’s completely absorbent.
  • Bleach and fabric softener should not be used.

Tips For Washing Cloth Diapers

Put It Off Until Washing Day

And, while you’re waiting for laundry day, what do you do with dirty diapers?

We put our soiled diapers in a damp bag, but any container that can be closed (to keep the scent out) will suffice. The “dry pail” approach, which is simply a lidded pail with flushable liners, is popular.

You may put them in the dryer and forget about them until wash day. You don’t have to rinse excrement off the baby’s diapers if you’re exclusively nursing because it washes off readily in the washer.

When your baby starts eating solids, you’ll need a diaper sprayer to remove the poopy diapers solid waste before storing the soiled diaper until laundry day.

Add Everything To the Washer

Add in your diapers, wet bag, and everything from your diaper pail. If you’re using cloth wipes, the same rule applies. Just remember to wash your cloth diapers separately from the rest of your clothes.

First, Do A Rinse

We do a fast rinse cycle with only cold water and no detergent before starting the wash cycle. It just takes 11 minutes to complete our rinse and spin cycle.

Before the main wash, a cold rinse helps to eliminate stains. If you miss this stage and proceed straight to a hot wash, stains may set in and discoloration may result.

Add Your Preferred Detergent

Nellie’s All-Natural Laundry Soda is a powdered detergent that is suitable for both cloth diapers and high-efficiency machines and has no harsh chemicals which make it a safe detergent.

It’s biodegradable, has only four components (no aroma! ), and dissolves quickly in cold and hot water.

Of course, you should start with the recommended amount on the container. I scoop the powdered detergent into the machine’s container with the pre-rinsed diapers because we use powdered detergent.

I would recommend skipping the fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and any other laundry additives to avoid detergent residue and buildup on the diapers which could cause leaking. I do like to use wool dryer balls in my wash routine.

Use Hot Water

It’s time to start a hot wash cycle in your washing machine. To kill bacteria, we wash our diapers in hot water for the main hot wash.

Temperatures should not exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, you risk ruining elastic or PUL (the waterproof covering on some cloth diapers or diaper covers).

I usually give them a last rinse to make sure they’re nice and clean. Make careful to smell them after washing! Toss them back in for an extra rinse cycle and wash them again if they smell nasty.

If the diapers continue to stink, chuck in a damp towel and run another wash cycle. Sensors in HE machines detect the fill level, and adding extra weight should guarantee that adequate water is used.

Dry Well

You may either line dry or machine dries them, depending on your preference.

We simply put ours in the dryer. I usually set it on low for 15-30 minutes, then remove anything with elastic or PUL and hang it to dry if necessary. On normal heat, I finish drying the pre-folds.

If you have the opportunity, dry the diapers in the sun to help whiten and disinfect them.

Washing Cloth Diapers With Hard Water

Do you have hard water? You’ll most likely need a bit of extra detergent. If you have a water softening system, you should theoretically be able to useless, but if you have hard water, you may need a bit more laundry soap.

Even if you have hard water, make sure to thoroughly clean them. Unfortunately, diaper residue can cause uncomfortable bottoms.

You can use an unscented hard water treatment if necessary. Before adding the detergent, dissolve the softener in the water and let it dissolve.

Because of the high pH, it should not be used in the rinse cycle.

You’ll have to experiment to see how much rinsing you need because there are so many variables.

How Often Should Cloth Diapers Be Washed?

Cloth diapers should be washed every two to three days, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s ideal to wait every other day, but life gets hectic, so it’s not the end of the world if you have to wait an additional day.

You don’t want to leave it too long between washing. Waiting longer obviously equals more stinking diapers. Bacteria will continue to multiply, and stains will appear.

How to Deal With Stains

Eventually, your cloth diapers will most likely discolor. It doesn’t always imply they’re not cleaning up after themselves (trust your nose!).

To be honest, I didn’t rinse off the poop from our newborn cloth diapers before throwing them into the wet bag. (If your child is solely nursing, you don’t have to.)

However, if you want to avoid stains, invest in a diaper sprayer to rinse them off and then toss them into the bag while they’re still wet – especially if your child starts eating solids.

Also, wash them every 2-3 days.

However, they may get dingy, which is where natural direct sunlight power comes in.

Vinegar & Bleach

While some manufacturers encourage using bleach on occasion, it may violate the guarantee of some kinds of diapers. The warranty shouldn’t be invalidated if white vinegar is used.

Personally, I prefer not to use bleach on my cloth diapers at all, even if it is thoroughly cleaned — but that is all up to you.

You’ll also want to be cautious with the vinegar because it’s rather potent! To avoid harming your diapers, use the minimum quantity possible and rinse well afterward.

Washing Cloth Diapers Bottom Line

It might be difficult to tell whether cloth diapers are properly prepared if this is your first time using them. After they’ve blown out a bit, you may use them during the day, although they may still need some time to attain optimum absorbency.

You’ll undoubtedly notice that they’re fluffy at some point and that they don’t become much thicker with repeated washes. You can then cease preparation and use the diapers for extended periods of time, such as overnight.

Cloth diapers are a great option for the environment, your wallet, and your kid. For many new parents, though, they are a fresh notion. It’s critical to understand the ins and outs of these items, which includes how to clean them.

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