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How to Wash Cloth Diapers - Front Loading Washing Machines and Cloth Diapers

May 25, 2008
How to wash cloth diapers.? This is the question everyone new to cloth diapering asks. Do you have to soak them in water? Do you have to use special soap. It can be kind of confusing and you may find a lot of contradictory advice online. Your cloth diaper wash routine will ultimately hinge on a few factors and your routine will eventually be your own.

Factors in washing cloth diapers:

Your water.

Is your water hard or soft? Does it have lot of minerals in it? This will make a difference in how much and which kind of detergent you can use on your cloth diapers.

Your washing machine.

What kind of washing machine do you have? If you have a front loader your routine for washing cloth diapers will be very different than someone who has a top loading washing machine.

The front loading washing machine uses a lot less water than a top loading machine. This is great for the environment, but makes washing cloth diapers a little more difficult. Here's how I wash cloth diapers with a front loading machine.

Front Loader ~ this is the kind of machine I have and here is how I wash my cloth diapers.

Short cycle cold wash cold rinse. Wash cloth diapers through one cold cycle to rinse them off and get any left over feces off of them. No detergent in this cycle

Hot wash/hot rinse. Wash cloth diapers on a long cycle with the stain rinse and an extra rinse cycle. Use a detergent free from dyes, perfumes and any additives.

Hot wash/hot rinse. Third cycle to make sure any detergent residue has rinsed free.

The discussion of detergents for cloth diapers is confusing at best. Make sure you get one that is free of dyes, perfumes and additives, but understand you may have to try a few different brands to find one that works well with your machine and your water.

If your detergent is leaving residue on your diapers you will know because one of two or both of these things will happen. Your diapers will start to stink or your baby will get a rash.

Best way to get rid of residue is to run your diapers through a few cycles in the washing machine with really hot water. If you see any suds at all in the water or on the machine run them through again. You can also use a cup of white vinegar with no other detergent and wash them for one full cycle.

I have suffered with residue problems. It's best to avoid the problem in the first place and washing cloth diapers with this process with a front loading washing machine has virtually eliminated the problem. I did find the detergents specially made for front loading washing machines worked much better for me. You can find these detergents free of dyes and perfumes as well. Having a front loading washing machine can make things a little more complicated, but once you figure out a system that works with your diapers, your water and your machine it will be easy enough.
About the Author
This is how I am washing cloth diapers in a front loading machine. It is a bit of a long process but it's what I found that works. If you want to figure out which detergents to use and find answers for any other cloth diaper questions stop by the cloth diaper resource center.
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