Cleaning cloth diapers could be one of the biggest hesitations in the diapering decision. Expectant parents might be nervous about coming so close to the contents of a dirty diaper. The thing is, it doesn’t matter what kind of diaper you use: as a parent, you will get used to your child’s bodily functions. It never becomes pleasant, but it’s definitely part of parenting.
For a dirty cloth diaper, it depends on the age of the child. For newborns and infants, any liquid poop can be rinsed off into the toilet with water. Stubborn poop can be scrubbed off with a scrub brush. For infants and toddlers eating solid foods, just shake the solid waste into the toilet. Then, put the diaper in a dry diaper pail.
When there are enough dirty diapers for a load of laundry, put the dirty diapers in the washing machine and wash with half your normal amount of detergent in cold water. Once the cold wash is finished, wash diapers in hot water with half your normal amount of detergent. Add another rinse, if needed. Once washed, simply dry in a dryer or line dry.
Just to clarify (although this seems pretty common-sensical to me): only wash your dirty diapers together. Don’t add the rest of your laundry in with the load.
Do not bleach. Cloth diapers should be washed with detergents without any whitening enzymes, soap products, fabric softeners, fragrances, or dyes. An online search for effective cloth diaper detergents can produce many suggestions. While I use my homemade detergent, brands like Rockin Green laundry detergent and Tiny Bubbles laundry detergent are perfect for cloth diapers.
How gross is it?
Probably every non-cloth diapering parent wonders about the gross out factor. Just how nasty is it to clean the diapers and then wash them in your home washing machine?
Personally, there are so many cleansing steps that I know the diapers get clean. It’s easy to disinfect the basket of the washing machine with hydrogen peroxide after a load is finished, but it’s not necessary. As for the diapers, they always look and smell clean, and the dryer heat kills any lingering bacteria.
Cleaning dirty diapers isn’t as bad as I imagined, either. The only time when they bothered me was when I was pregnant with our second child. I gagged when cleaning them, but then again, even opening the refrigerator made me gag.
Even though I had to frequently wash the diapers during the newborn stage – we’re talking every other day – it slowed to two or three times a week during the infant and toddler stages.
For the financial savings, I wouldn’t hesitate to make the same investment in cloth diapers and do all of the cleaning and washing all over again.
Check out Nurtured Family for cloth diapering and laundry detergent options.
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