Friday, August 30, 2013

Simplify Your Wash Routine

Laundering cloth diapers should be simple. In my opinion, if your wash routine isn’t simple you’re not doing it right. Overcomplicating your wash and especially adding too many extras in with your wash can cause issues, especially if used over time. Smartipants diapers has made it pretty clear on what is ‘ok’ to use on their one size pocket diaper and what is not. Most of us know dyes, enzymes, fragrances, whiteners, and brighteners are all things you should avoid in your wash. What else should we avoid in our NORMAL wash routine? So, let’s go over some additives that can complicate your washing routine and eventually cause you issues.


Whether it be liquid softener that is added to your wash, or detergents with fabric softener included, this is something you want to avoid like the plaque. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER ON YOUR DIAPERS! I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. Fabric softener leaves residue on your diapers that will affect the absorbency. If you diapers don’t absorb then they aren’t doing their job! This residue on the diapers is also a magnet for stink! Steer clear, my friends!


Did you know vinegar is a softener? It breaks down minerals and is a natural antimicrobial, which is why you may hear about people using it often in their wash routines. Vinegar should be avoided in diapers that contain PUL. Vinegar will break down soft plastics, such as PUL and will wear on your elastic. Vinegar should only be used when absolutely necessary and with care-never too much!


Baking soda absorbs odor, as well as breaks down fibers. As you’ll come to find, many additives have pros as well as their cons. Baking soda can be helpful when you have stink issues, but on a normal basis should be avoided as an additive in your wash. Smartipants specifically recommends against regular use of baking soda. It should be noted that any diapers containing bamboo rayon should NEVER be washed with baking soda, since baking soda breaks down fibers it will destroy the bamboo rayon.


I would hope most know that adding chlorine bleach to your wash is a BIG no-no. This can break down your cotton fibers and ruin the PUL, as well as affect the elastic in your diapers. If you NEED to add “bleach” to your wash to help with stink or residue, choose an oxygen bleach. Oxygen bleach is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. Please remember less is more when it comes to additives like these and they should not be used in your regular wash routine.

A simple wash routine is your best bet to finding cloth diaper laundering happiness. The wash routine that has been working for our family for years is a cold rinse, hot wash with 1/4th the recommended amount of original powder Tide with a cold rise, followed by a 2nd cold rinse.

What wash routine is working for you?

Contributed by: Alex

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