Below is some information to get you started on the not-too-gross and very economical road to washing your own diapers. If you have more questions just give us a call at 303.443.9416. We know way too much about cloth diapers!
New to cloth diapering? Here is a quick primer so that you can read the rest of this page and navigate the website like an insider...
Prefold diapers: These are big pieces of cotton cloth sewn up into a flat rectangular diaper. They go inside of a diaper cover.
Fitted diapers: These are absorbent diapers, usually made of cotton or bamboo and sewn up to go on like a disposable diaper with gusseted legs and a velcro closure in front. They go inside of a diaper cover.
Diaper covers: This is the waterproof shell that goes around a prefold or a fitted diaper. They fasten like a disposable diaper.
Pocket diapers: These are waterproof diapers sewn with a pocket in the back where you stick the absorbent insert. A pocket diaper comes with the absorbent insert and fastens on baby like a disposable diaper.
All-In-One (AIO) diapers: These are one-piece diapers where the absorbent lining is sewn into the waterproof diaper.
Your basic needs are just 6 diaper covers & 36 prefolds or fitted diapers OR 24 pocket or AIO diapers. Basically, the more diapers you buy the less frequently you need to do laundry. You need to use the right detergent, and we highly recommend our Charlie's Soap. Flushable liners, a waterproof diaper pail liner, and deodorizers are optional but make the experience more pleasant.
BEFORE YOU START
Wash and dry your brand new diapers at least once before use. Test your diapers by pouring a small amount of water onto one. If the water beads at all, you need to wash again to make them fully absorbent. If you purchase your diapers at Bundle, we will do this prep wash for you for FREE - just let us know you want this complimentary wash when you buy your diapers.
DIRTY DIAPER STORAGE
1) Remove dirty diaper…either flush away the liner or if you are not using liners shake off poop into the toilet. While your baby is exclusively breastfed you can skip this step, as the poop will wash out easily. 2) Put wet or soiled diapers in the pail. Dirty diaper covers can go in the pail too, or can be wiped off to be re-used right away. Note: Lining your diaper pail with a waterproof cloth bag makes transferring your dirty diapers into the washing machine much easier.
WASHING YOUR DIAPERS
1) Run a cold pre-wash or a short cycle with no detergent. This helps avoid stains, and you can add regular laundry into your load after a pre-wash if you wish. 2) Do a regular wash in hot water with Charlie's Soap or another zero residue detergent. 3) Dry your diapers either in the dryer or on the clothesline. The clothesline option is great because it uses no energy, (except yours), and sunlight is a natural brightener and disinfectant. Extra) Once a month, add 2Tbsp. baking soda to your pre-wash and 1Tbsp. white vinegar to an extra rinse cycle to keeo your diapers fresh and clean.
Stains do not mean your diapers are dirty! But if the stains are bugging you, remember: 1) A cold pre-wash helps to prevent stains from setting 2) Dry your diapers in the sun 3) You can add a small amount of oxygen bleach but… make sure it is well rinsed and do not use chlorine bleach.
If your diapers smell like urine either straight out of the wash or once your baby wets them the most likely culprit is detergent residue. Read on...
What: Detergent residue is a film left on fabric by detergent. It can build up on any item that you wash, but usually you will only notice the residue when you are washing a product that is supposed to be absorbent or waterproof (like diapers and diaper covers).
Cause: Detergent residue is caused by using a detergent that that has one of these additives: fabric softeners, natural oils, perfumes, dyes, UV brighteners, stain guard ingredients, or enzymes
Effect: Stinky diapers, leaky diaper covers, diapers that do not absorb properly, skin rashes, yellowing of fabric. Most commonly it will take a couple of months before you will notice the effects of detergent residue.
Solution: Use a zero-residue detergent - we recommend Charlie's Soap. Use this product from the beginning in order to avoid the problem altogether, but if you have a detergent residue problem you can use Charlie's Soap to strip your diapers of the residue. You can also have bundle do a one-time wash of your diapers to get your diapers back to working like new.
SHOULD I WASH MY OWN DIAPERS OR USE A DIAPER SERVICE?
Most DIY families love bundle's weekly delivery service when baby is brand new. This just helps to make life a little easier during those first few hectic months. As babies grow so darn fast, by waiting a few months to invest in your own stash of diapers, you can probably skip the infant size and get the larger size diapers, which will probably fit your baby for a longer time. One environmental benefit of using the diaper service is that our machines use much less water than a home washer due to the economy of scale and our state-of-the-art machines.
WHICH TYPE OF DIAPER SHOULD I CHOOSE?
Pocket AIO and fitted diapers are more of an investment upfront, but since they are likely to fit your child from birth through potty training are often the more economical choice in the long run. Some people find these diapers easier to use as well. Cotton prefolds come in several sizes and paired with diaper covers cost less upfront. The prefolds are also versitile and great to have on hand for burp cloths, changing pads, and even for wipes.
Confused? Can't decide? Call us and we'll talk! Or come see us and we will help you try all the options and then help you pick the best for you and your baby.