Washable diapers generally pertain to cloth or reusable diapers. Knowing how to properly treat, store and clean them can protect your baby’s skin, prolong the life of the washable diapers and ensure their cleanliness. It is pretty much the same as doing your regular laundry except for a few important points to note.
Readying a washable diaper for first use
Keep in mind that brand new cloth diapers need to be thoroughly washed and dried out at least 5 or more times before using them. This is done to improve the absorbency of your diapers and make certain they can be reused multiple times without a significant depreciation in quality.
Washing prior to use also removes chemical substances present in the diaper such as the natural oil buildup produced by washable diapers made of cotton. This process is called “pre-treatment” of your cloth diapers.
Also note that cloth diapers made of wool must be hand washed.
Storing baby’s soiled diapers before wash
Most moms do not wash diapers immediately after every diaper change. Considering the number of times your baby needs to change diapers each day, it would be inefficient and would take too much time for you to do so.
The two most common methods of storing dirty diapers are: (a) the dry pail method and (b) the wet pail method.
But before you get too excited and start dropping off those dirty diapers into your diaper pail, make sure that the diapers are free of any solid poop. You must shake off and flush solid poops into the toilet. The diaper sprayer is a useful tool especially for infant poop that tend to stick to the diaper and is hard to remove.
The Dry Pail Method
You will need the following materials before storing your baby’s dirty diapers:
(a)A dry diaper pail. A dry diaper pail simply means a pail or container with no water. You can use any container or laundry basket with a lid, a washable laundry bag, or both. Using both is convenient since you do not have to wash the pail every time you take out the cloth diapers for washing.
(b)Baking soda. Sprinkle a reasonable amount of baking soda into the pail or bag to reduce odor.
It is advised that you do the wash every 2 or 3 days. Keeping the dirty cloth diapers longer than that may result to stains that are harder to remove plus a stronger unpleasant smell wafting out of the pail when you finally get to it.
The Wet Pail Method
Using this method is essentially the same as the dry pail method except that instead of leaving the soiled cloth diapers dry inside the pail, you put water in it to soak the diapers.
The materials you need include:
(a)A diaper pail half-full with water. Fill the diaper pail with just enough water to soak the cloth diapers and avoid spillovers when you add more diapers in it.
(b)One-half cup of baking soda. Add the baking soda into the water to control odor.
Some moms who do not do laundry everyday use the washer as a pail to hold soiled baby diapers. You can simply drain the water and refill the washer with fresh water when you are about to do the washing or delay it for another day.
Washing baby’s cloth diapers
Here are the important steps that you may apply in washing your baby’s dirty diapers:
(a)Choose the right detergent. Avoid detergents with whitening enzymes, bleach, dyes, fragrances, or fabric conditioners. These ingredients break down the fibers of your cloth diapers and cause leaks and poor diaper absorbency.
(b)Pre-wash Cycle. It is recommended that you wash a dozen diapers at a time or as many as your washer can allow without causing much friction. After emptying your diaper pail into the washing machine, add fresh cold water and do one rinse cycle. This applies to both the dry and wet pail method. Doing a pre-wash can prevent stains from setting. You may add a half-cup of baking soda during this cycle if you wish.
(c)Hot Wash Cycle. Drain the water from the pre-wash cycle. Add hot water into the washing machine then put in your detergent which measures ¼ to ½ of the usual amount you use for a same-sized regular load.
(d)First Rinse. Drain the water from the hot wash cycle. Add fresh cold water and about a half-cup of vinegar into the washer. Vinegar restores the pH of the cloth diapers and omitting this may result to diaper rash on your baby’s skin.
(e)Second Rinse. This is the final step. Drain the water from the first rinse cycle and do a cold rinse cycle.
When the washing is done, you can throw in your cloth diapers into the dryer or leave out in the sun to dry.
If you observe diaper rashes on your baby’s bum after using the washed diapers, try boiling the diapers for 15 minutes after washing. This helps remove any germs or chemicals that may irritate your baby’s skin.
Learn more about infant pottying options and consider elimination communication so you and your baby can be diaper free sooner than later.
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