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How to Wash Cloth Prefold Diapers

Diaper Odor, Diapers, Prefold Diapers

Many parents are now turning back to cloth diapers. Issues from the chemicals found in disposable diapers and environmental concerns are two of the main reasons cloth diapers are being used. The easiest style of cloth diapers to is the prefold diaper. This simple rectangle of fabric is low cost and low maintenance. A double win for cloth diapering parents.

The first step to washing cloth prefold diapers is to rinse off any excess wastes from the diaper. Often you can simply shake the diaper and any waste fill fall off into your toilet. For sticky and hard to remove waste you may need to soak the diaper in cold water first. Soaking a dirty diaper with a teaspoon of baking soda and vinegar will help loosen any waste stuck to the diaper.

There are also special flush-able wipes that can be used to line your cloth diapers. You need only remove the wipe and flush it, waste and all. These can cost a bit extra, but for parents who worry about accidentally getting their hands dirty it is worth it.

Most parents keep a wet pail or wet bag for the soiled and wet diapers. This is a special bucket or bag that holds dirty diapers before washing. Some worry about the smell of dirty diapers filling the room, however as long as you wash diapers often enough you will not notice a smell. If you cannot get to your dirty diapers soon enough a sprinkle of baking soda will eliminate smells and help in the wash cycle as well.

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When you first wash your cloth prefold diapers you will need to set your washer to the cold cycle first. This will prevent stains while still getting your diapers clean. Some parents feel a hot wash is more effective at cleaning waste from the diapers. However the hot water can bake the stains into the cloth, leaving them permanently discolored. If you have diapers that are heavily stained you can soak them in cold water for a few hours.

Try not to wash more than two dozen diapers together at a time. Even washers that are large enough to fit more in cannot get diapers truly clean if more are stuffed together. This usually means that cloth prefold diapers will need to be washed once every other day or every two days. However, if you have an older child who is not using diapers frequently do not wait until you have a full load before washing. Leaving diapers dirty can not only create an odor, the acids can destroy your diapers as well.

When washing cloth prefold diapers you cannot use just any laundry detergent. Many typical brands will leave a residue on your diapers that decreases their ability to absorb properly. This can cause leaks and diaper rashes later on. Powdered detergents are generally preferred over liquid ones as they have fewer additives in them. You should avoid any detergent that claims to whiten clothes or keep your cloth fresh longer. Both of these contain chemicals that are not good for your diapers.

Whatever detergent you use, you will only need one forth of the amount recommended. Excess detergent can build up in your diapers if you use too much. You should also be sure to rinse your cloth prefold diapers well. A tablespoon of vinegar added to the rinse cycle can help break up detergent and fully rinse it out. Some parents run their diapers through a second rinse cycle after washing. This is a good way to make sure there is nothing left in the diapers. If you are not sure if they are clean use the sniff test. If the diapers smell clean, most likely they are.

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Once your diapers are washed they are ready to dry. If you are using a conventional dryer avoid adding dryer sheets or other additives here. Again, these things can build up in your cloth prefold diapers and cause the diapers to leak and a rash on your child.

Washing cloth prefold diapers is not as difficult as it seems once you have a system down. Remember to avoid hot water, excess chemicals, and rinse the diapers well. If you can manage those simple steps you can become an expert at washing your cloth prefold diapers.