How should I wash my diapers?

TYPICAL ROUTINE

PRE-RINSING: A complete short cycle in cold or warm water with some detergent (the detergent is optional, but helps remove stains and is necessary in hard water).

WASH: A long, heavy-duty cycle in hot or warm water with ¼ or ½ cup (50-60ml) of detergent (the extra rinse is damaging in hard water and is useless if the inserts are still soapy and slippery to the touch).

DRYING: If you use the dryer, use a medium or hot setting, not cold and do not handle or stretch the clothing while it is still hot to prevent damaging the elastics and the PUL (polyurethane laminate). If you hang the clothing on a rack or clothesline, make sure that everything is very dry within 24-36hs to avoid humidity and the smell of mould. If this occurs, a ventilator or dehumidifier will help.

When doing a load of laundry, a pre-rinse cycle helps eliminate the greatest amount of dirt, and it is the most efficient with a good wash agitation. Doing a complete wash is the most effective, more so than the rinse and spin-dry setting. We do not recommend the pre-wash setting because it is usually followed by a drainage, not a spin dry, and the latter is essential since we want to get rid of the dirty water and wash with clean water.

In a traditional washing machine, make sure that you have an equal water/diaper ratio, which will give a “stew” consistency to your load, and not a “soupe” one, since the friction is a key element for an effective wash.

Can I effectively wash my diapers in a front load washer?

Of course! Do not try to “trick” your washer to use more water, since it is made to be used with little water, and washes well like this. So, do not play with the water level, but instead adjust the size of your load.

For an efficient wash, your machine must be at least half full, and maximum ¾ full of diapers (and other small articles like clothing, underwear, washcloths…).

If your washing machine is less than half full, complete the load with small clothes after the quick wash. As a general rule, 15 diapers should fill half of your machine.

Which detergent should I use to wash my diapers?

Detergent. Whether it is specialized, “green”, commercial, with or without scent, as long as it does not have softener or mentions 2 in 1 (because this will reduce the absorption of the diapers, making them impermeable).

Your load of diapers is probably your dirtiest one, so you need to use enough detergent: either the suggested amount for a large load, or for a very dirty load. One teaspoon, even of the most powerful and concentrated detergent on the market is not enough to properly wash diapers that are in contact with fecal substances. And if you use a weaker detergent, like the natural or baby ones, consider increasing the dosage.

Does my type of water influence my washing?

Yes. Contrary to soft water, hard or moderate water has a high or very high concentration of minerals, which can embed themselves in the material fibers. Over a short/medium time frame, this can result in unpleasant odors, redness and absorption problems if your washing routine is not adapted to your type of water.

If you are linked to the aqueduct system of your town, this will guarantee drinkable water, but not necessarily soft water; so it is important to contact them and ask for the total water hardness in milligrams per liter (mg/L), parts by milligram (ppm) or grains by gallon (gpg), or to do the test yourself to give you peace of mind.

Soft water:

  • Depending on your preference, you can choose a liquid or powder detergent.
  • You do not have to add detergent in your pre-rinse, and you can do an extra rinse if you want (although this is rarely necessary).

Moderate water:

  • Choose a powder detergent
  • You don’t always have to put detergent in the pre-rinse and it is better to avoid an extra rinse.

With hard water:

  • Choose a powder detergent, and add some to your pre-rinse.
  • Avoid any extra rinsing.

Moderate or hard water and liquid detergent:

  • You will have to add a water softener such as Calgon or Borax.
  • For Calgon powder, the required amount is ¼ cup or one cap (per load) if your Calgon is liquid.
  • For Borax, the required amount is ½ cup per load. If you have hard water, add an additional ¼ cup of Borax to your pre-rinse.
    • Very soft water: 0 to 17 mg/L or ppm or 0 to 1 gpg
    • Soft water: 17,1 to 60 mg/L or ppm or 1,1 to 3,5 gpg
    • Moderate water: 61 to 120 mg/L or ppm or 3,6 to 7 gpg
    • Hard water: 121 to 180 mg/L or ppm or 7,1 to 10,5 gpg
    • Very hard water: more than 180 mg/L or ppm or more than 10,5 gpg

How should I deal with poo?

100% Breastfed baby: the poo is hydrosoluble; there is nothing to do, even if it is an explosive one! Fold the diaper in 2 and off it goes into the laundry bag until your next load!

Commercial formula or introduction of solids in your baby’s diet:

  • Remove as much as possible of the fecal matters since they are no longer hydrosoluble.
  • Here, you have many options:
    • Use a disposable or washable liner, or rinse the diaper in the baby shower,
    • Use a spoon (or other cutlery) or toilet paper to remove as much as possible

How should I store my diapers between loads?

  • In a bucket or a diaper pail with a large bag made of PUL (polyurethane laminate), in a hanging disposal bag, or simply in an open laundry basket.
  • Leave as much of air circulation as possible, since this will reduce odors. If your storing method is closed, there will be urine condensation and this will release a strong ammonia smell.
  • If you prefer keeping everything closed, to minimize odors, you can apply a few drops of essential oils (or other products sold for this purpose) to a cotton ball and place it inside your diaper disposal.

Storing diapers in a bucket of water is not recommended since it is a hazard for drowning, and also because it may damage the elastics and PUL (polyurethane laminate) of your diapers over a medium/long period of time.

How often should I do laundry?

  • This depends on how many diapers you own, but you could easily wash every 3 days, or more if you master your washing routine.
  • If you have to wash every day, do not forget to include other articles to your load, so that you have enough clothes to ensure a good friction.

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