Most parents who have about twenty washable diapers will do the laundry every three days. It's important to avoid waiting a full week because diapers could rot.
With flat diapers, there is a soaking product that allows us to skip the rinsing cycle. However, these type of product should not be used for diapers with elastic bands because it could damage them. Therefore, for these diapers, and for flat diapers that you don't want to soak, you must first rinse them in the washing machine. The rinsing cycle can be done with hot or cold water, as you wish. Trying both methods will show you which is more efficient.
The washing cycle must be done with hot water. Choose a cycle that is long enough and make sure to have enough water. Many soaps can be used, just ask others on discussion boards or in specialized stores. If you choose a soap that is not appropriate, it may leave soap build-ups, which will make the diapers waterproof, and you don’t want that!
With certain bio-soaps, it is recommended to use essential oils to make the soap antibacterial. Lavender essential oils are the most used. You may use these types of oils even if your soap does not require it. The essential oils will easily deodorize the diapers. Pour a few drops of oil directly in the soap before putting it on the diapers. Never pour oil directly on the diapers for you could stain or damage the fabric.
Don't bleach the diapers. Bleach is a powerful product and it will reduce the longevity of the diapers. For stains, nothing is better than letting your diapers dry under the sun, even from inside the house, through the window.
To soften the diapers, you can use vinegar, but no liquid fabric softener since it will leave build-ups. Remeber that diapers build-ups are our number 1 enemy!
To dry the diapers, you can use the dryer, unless indicated otherwise, which is pretty rare. If you wish to dry your diapers outside, a little 5 minutes in the dryer will make them less stiff. For diapers with elastic bands, it is best to lay them flat to dry or to hang them by the middle section. You can use softening sheets in the dryer.
Creams and powders
When using creams for your baby’s bottom, make sure that it doesn’t leave build-ups in the diaper. Use creams that are made for washable diapers or place disposable diaper liners at the bottom of the diaper. The liners accumulate build-ups as well, but they are cheap to replace! For powders, white clay and corn starch are completely safe and appropriate for washable diapers.
Problems and possible solutions
The diapers stink.
To a certain extent, there is nothing to do! But when stinky diapers become a problem, here are some tricks you can try:
- Use a washable bag, well shut, inside your diaper dispenser. When closed properly, it will eliminate some of the odor.
- Try a new brand of soap.
- Add essential oils to your soap.
- Do an intense diaper scrub. Wash your diapers, but instead of using soap, use a spoonful of Dawn or Oxyclean, and then wash your diapers again.
They've got leaks!
- It is possible that the diapers are not correctly adjusted to your baby or that they are not adapted to your child’s body type.
- You may have a build-up problem. Change soap or do an intense scrubbing.
- Be careful not to use too much soap!
My baby’s bottom is red. I think it may be because of his diapers.
- Try a new soap. Look for one that is hypoallergenic.
- Try an intense diaper scrub. Build-ups can irritate babies.
- Stop using essential oils.
- Try using disposable diaper liners if the diaper’s fabric is made of natural fibers (like bamboo, cotton) and is in direct contact with the baby’s skin. The liner will get rid of the humidity on the baby’s skin.
Washable diaper users genrerally don't encounter many problems. When problems occur, the best way to figure it out is to use the “trial and error” method.