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Washing Instructions & Cloth diaper care Washing Instructions & Cloth diaper care
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How you choose to care for your cloth diapers will greatly impact the longevity and life span of your diapers.  Like any other garment, cloth diapers will have wear and tear over time, but using the right products and methods will reduce this, allowing you to benefit longer from your cloth diapers!  

A big component to a long life span of your diapers is how often you're washing/using them.  Having a 'daily' (only 12 for example) stash of cloth diapers might get you by, but they will wear faster as you're using them more.  An ideal stash size is around 36 diapers for ideal rotation.

This may be a 'bit of a read', but I promise its worth the 5 minutes to do so ... cloth diapering is an investment and understanding how to care for your cloth helps you to ensure your investment thrives!

Prep (preparing new cloth diapers before first use):
All diapers should be washed on warm/dried on warm prior to first use.  While I prep all fabrics in gentle, non-additive detergents prior to sewing, it is best to reduce any possible irritation risk to your little one by prewashing the new cloth diapers.

**Economy Sherpa Fitteds need to be fully prepped (hot wash/hot dry) three times before use - I do not prep the sherpa fabric prior to sewing due to lack of significant shrinkage - this helps me keep costs as low as possible on these diapers!

Regular Everyday Care:
1.  Spray or shake off solids into the toilet as they occur (exclusively breastfed babies will not need their 'solids' sprayed off as the poo is water soluble and will wash out completely in the wash).   

2.  Store dirty and wet diapers in a *dry pail* for no more than 3 days at a time, preferably only 2 days in high moisture or hard water areas.

Wash Routine:
1.  Cold prewash/pre-rinse with spin (helps to remove stains!), you can use a small amount of detergent in this prewash if you'd like.

2.  Warm - not above 140 degrees - wash with 1/4 - 1/2 the reg. amount of non-additive detergent (see detergent chart to see how yours measures up to cloth diaper use http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm)
**if you live in a hard water area, I *strongly* advise the use of 1/4 to 1/2 c powder water softener like Calgon or White King in each Wash cycle to help prevent build-up of minerals and odor in your diapers.  SPOKANE, WA is a very hard water area ... likely your wash routine will be the most challenging part of cloth diapering for you... use the water softener!

3.  Extra Cold Rinse

Hang to Dry and then Fluff for 10 minutes in the dryer for longest life span *OR* Tumble Dry Warm.  

Trick: Add a dry, full sized cotton bath towel in the dry cycle with your diapers to help with heavier fabrics (bamboo, hemp, etc.) - it pulls moisture from them to reduce dry time.

Washing Rules for best Practice:
While caring for your cloth diapers really is very simple, there are a few rules to live by - these are things that over time cloth diapers have learned, many the hard way, so take them to heart!  And remember ... you don't need extreme washing methods to properly clean a cloth diaper. 

*NO Bleach, Borax based detergents or products with "Oxi-" in the name - these break down the elastic and damage the PUL with repeated washings ... or if you feel you need them, use them VERY, very sparingly.  Sometimes you will have 'stinky skunk' issues and will need a bit of bleach in your wash cycle.  Just don't soak in bleach and use very rarely.

*Research your diaper cream before using!  Many diaper creams will not wash out of your cloth diapers properly (and there are healthier alternatives for your little one)... so if you choose to use them, please use a fleece liner.   Raw Coconut Oil is a wonderful, cloth diaper safe diaper cream, however.

*NO Fabric Softeners - these will reduce the amount your diapers are able to absorb over time

*NEVER use boiling water (or even some Sanitary cycles on your washer) on cloth diapers as it could easily warp snaps, damage elastic or even the fabric.  Water temperatures should not be over 140 degress.  
Dealing with the sickies or a yeast infection?  Yeast dies at 140 degrees.  Some flu virus/rotavirus won't die until upwards of 167-200 degree, which is not cloth diaper safe, so this instance is where you do use a little bit of bleach in your wash cycle!  Just don't soak in bleach and do several extra rinses!

*DO Wait until diapers are cool to fold and put away to give the elastic time to return to room temperature - this will help elastic last longer!  

*DO Hang in the sun to get stains out.  Simply take straight (clean & wet) from the washer and lay or hang in the sunshine.  Simply lay in front of a south facing window in the winter time, too... the sun is amazing!

*DO use a non-additive detergent.  The detergent you use makes a BIG difference in your diapers performance and lifespan, and using the proper detergent from the start will help eliminate buildup and need to 'strip' your diapers.  Use a non-additive detergent like Country Save. (plus the water softener if you're in a hard water area!).  Detergents that include enzymes:  enzymes are proteins put in detergents to 'eat' the organic matter.  In a cloth diaper situation, enzymes will likely 'eat' some of your fabric and elastic over time and, if not rinsed completely, can attack your little one's skin at the point moisture/urine is in the diaper and the enzymes become reactivated.  Not all babies will have this reaction to enzymes, but some will, so understanding the 'why' behind a no enzyme detergent is important.

*DO add a water softener in the wash if you live in a hard water area - here in Spokane, WA this tip has been our saving grace personally!  Hard water can cause a buildup of minerals in your diapers which, unchecked, can lead to a bad case of the stinkies and reduced diaper lifespan.  Water softener isn't expensive... locally, Fred Meyer often has White King for around $3.78 a box.

*DO wash touch tape/aplix/velcro diapers separate from others if they don't have functional laundry tabs as the hook portion on the velcro can damage other diapers, especially ones with Fold Over Elastic and/or serged edges.

*DO Hang Covers to dry Hang drying will give your covers the best lifespan, though tumble drying warm shouldn't directly damage them  (an occasional dry on HOT is a good thing for covers to help reseal the PUL) 


Repeated leaking issues with Waterproof diapers

1.  check the fit on your baby.  Are the legs snug, but not tight?  Any gapping at the legs or waist?    
2.  On bamboo/organic cotton AI2's check to be sure the leg elastic is rolling in so you can't see any of the bamboo or org. cotton.  The PUL rolling in is what prevents wicking at the legs!
3.  the soaker (absorbency).  Is it totally saturated?  Add more absorbency or change more often.  If not saturated, you may have buildup in your diapers preventing them from absorbing well.  Try a 'strip'.  The types of materials used in your diapers matters, too.   Email me with specifics if you're still having leaking issues :)


STRIPPING your Cloth Diapers
while there are many different methods out there to strip your cloth diapers, this is my preferred.   (Some people strip with Dawn detergent, others with bleach)

Step 1:  Wash your diapers (start with 'clean' diapers)

Step 2:  Wash with HOT water and add RLR
RLR by Cadie is not a bleach, blueing agent, or detergent. It removes dried-in mineral deposits and detergent residue from fabrics, pulling the deposits out of the fibers and suspending them in the water until they gets rinsed out. It is gentle and safe for all fabrics and PUL, and it is free of perfumes. Add one envelope to the hot wash
Step 3:  Rinse until you no longer see bubbles!

Tags: Primm n' Proper Baby, washing instructions, prep, prepping, strip, stripping, cloth, diaper, nappy, diapers, RLR
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