After some trial and error, we have a cloth diaper washing routine that works great for our family. This post is intended as a guide, not a strict code. Feel free to try any or all, maybe something will work for you. But don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t, you just have different circumstances.
Right now I wash my diapers approximately every 3 days. Enough time that I don’t let the diapers pile up too much nor I feel overwhelmed washing all the time.
The routine starts with the diaper change. Wet diapers get liners pulled out from the covers and everything tossed into a hamper with a pail liner. Dirty diapers get the poop dumped into the toilet and I remove the liners, then put into the hamper. If they are really messy, I take the liners out and then swish the cover around the toilet a few times to get as much poop off as possible. I know there are fancy diaper sprayers and shields, but I personally find them unnecessary. Just another thing to spend money on and take up space in my bathroom. Check out this link for more info on removing poop.
Once I have enough diapers to wash (or I realized I am about to run out), I wash. I start by soaking them in hot water with a little tea tree oil. I set it a large load when soaking, this adds plenty of water and room for the diapers to soak freely.
Since my washer doesn’t have a soak cycle, I start it on a normal wash and stop it once it starts to agitate. I usually let it soak an hour…but a lot of times I forget and it soaks longer…maybe overnight a few times…no big deal.
I know a lot of people will say tea tree oil every time this is unnecessary to do every time and there are better oils for antibacterial cleaning. Or to not use oils at all (more info here). I find it makes a big difference in my diapers. They feel cleaner and come out with a neutral clean smell. I tried other oils and Oxyclean, but it wasn’t the same for me. I add maybe two or three drops at the most. I start the water and let it fill up a few inches, then add the drops to the cap and hold it under the running water. Then I start adding the diapers as it fills.
After the soak, I set the dial to rinse. It drains the water and gives it a good rinse. Next the actual washing. I set the machine to normal wash,which for my machine is a HOT/Warm/Cold cycle. I add 3/4 of a cap of free and clear detergent and the machine do it’s thing. Lastly, I do one final rinse cycle.
My dryer is kind of evil. It likes to eat clothes, especially diaper covers. No matter how far you push them back, they work their way to the front and get caught on the lip between the door and barrel. I have lost three snaps and got some weird black/red marks on several liners. It even tried to eat a hemp liner! So I never put covers in my dryer. And I check liners every 5 minutes if I put them in.
Michael made me a clotheslines so I hang them up to dry. Works great. I plan to sun them on the patio in the summer.
And that’s it. If I am paying attention, I can have them washed in 1-2 hours (including soaking). They are dry in the next morning on the line or in a few hours if I hang the covers and stick the liners in the dryer. Easy and works great for us.