Okay, so it’s not dirty anymore by the time it’s being aired, and you still probably shouldn’t hang it on the sidewalk. But as a cloth diapering momma, I find a clothesline full of cloth diapers to actually be somewhat peaceful and beautiful. It gives me the same feeling as looking at the wind turbine fields.
Aren’t they peaceful?
I think for most people, the hesitation in cloth diapering comes from the issue of washing them. I mean, they’re SERIOUSLY dirty, but you don’t want to use really aggressive cleaners on them because they’ll be right back on baby’s sensitive skin (not to mention those cleaners will break down the fibers and deteriorate the materials). Your wash method will probably be different than mine as it depends on so many factors (your water, your washer, your baby, etc), but hopefully this can serve as a starting point or idea for someone out there!
I wash diapers every other day for a few reasons: smaller stash needed, smaller pail needed (I live in a shoebox, so space is a big [ha!] issue), easy to remember, and soiled diapers have less time to “set”.
I use a Diaper Champ as my pail because I wanted to avoid the I-just-opened-the-pail-and-got-smacked-in-the-face-with-stink experience, and I have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s pretty small, so we have to shake it around to make room by the end of day 2, and the part that flips back and forth is really persnickety. My sister had their older model which worked beautifully, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. I do love it when it works, though, which is why an older model is the only thing I would replace it with. I made a simple, elastic-top wet bag to use as a liner (any appropriately sized wet bag will work just fine); actually, I made two so they can go in the wash with the load.
I have a front loading HE washer, which I love, that makes washing diapers a little trickier. I just put the whole wet bag in the washer (I’m planning to design a wet bag that will make front loaders much easier; I’ll post the tutorial once I do it!) and carefully flip it inside out pushing the diapers out of it. Because it’s a HE washer and uses so little water, I do a 30 min pre-wash soak (not a true soak, it’s just a pre-wash that doesn’t spin at the end) on warm (to help loosen any solids in there) to make sure the real wash cycle has enough water in it. You need a lot of water for washing cloth diapers and because of their absorbent nature, that takes some finagling with a HE washer. Another option is to put in a soaking wet towel with the load, but that just sounds like too much of a dripping mess to me.
For your real wash cycle, you’ll need to make sure it’s at least 45 minutes long so the detergent has time to work its wonders. After much experimentation, I now use my machine’s Allergen setting (heavy duty, 90 min cycle, hot water, extra rinse, high spin speed) with 1.5 scoops of Charlie’s Soap. If I notice that my diapers don’t seem to be getting quite clean enough (usually the overnight diapers are the worst), I’ll add in a little washing soda for an extra boost. Since I moved to this setting, I don’t think I’ve had to do this.
hear the beep remember to get the laundry (why can your microwave beep every 5 minutes until you open it but your washer gives you one beep, and not always that?), it’s time to hang. During the warmer months, I hang them outside on the clothesline.
When it’s a real load to dry, I hang with the shells on the line closest to the neighbors, pretty side out, so they just get to see cuteness.
After a couple rainy weeks that resulted in indoor line drying…through the living room…I had Mr. Indulgent make a better solution:
The diapers dry even faster in here thanks to the heater being in this area and warming the air some.
Once the diapers are at least mostly dry (by evening if outside and the next day if inside), I toss them in the dryer with whatever load of clothes/linens I have going in to soften them up. And they’re done!
All in all, that took about 10-15 minutes of hands-on work. Not too bad in my book