February 24, 2012

Cleaning cloth diapers: New rules!

So I may have to go back on what I said in my previous post about cleaning cloth diapers.

I just had this nagging feeling that something was happening that wasn't getting them fully clean and ready to full absorb the next round of fire.

So my favorite online retailer (I get no compensation from them, by the way) is Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique. They always have a good selection, free shipping and give free samples. So when I qualify, I usually get the trial size of one of the cloth diaper detergents they carry. Mostly because they are great for traveling, since even if your host is gracious enough to let you wash baby diapers in their washing machine, you can't be sure that they'll have the kind of detergent you'd like to use... or if you have to hit up a laundry mat, you'll need soap. But also partly because I always secretly wonder if I should be using real cloth diaper soap.

Recently I requested a sample of Rockin' Green's Hard Rock, thinking this would be a great opportunity to 'strip' our diapers. Another sample we tried was a new cloth diaper-friendly diaper cream, CJ's BUTTer and after two uses we haven't needed again since it came in. Both of these products come in some pretty awesome scents, which is probably reason enough to use them, but if you read the reviews on the site, I bet you'll be sampling them, too.

And, full disclosure, we also moved recently and are using a different washing machine in our apartment. The new machine doesn't have an 'extra rinse' cycle, but it does have a 'prewash' cycle. So the new strategy is that I put detergent in with the prewash (warm) and then run a regular cycle with no added anything. 

I think somewhere among these three changes our diapers are getting really really clean now. And they feel more absorbent.

I honestly feel justified the switch for detergent when I did the math on Rockin' Green and how it translated to just about a penny per diaper per wash, and technically I was already paying for a detergent to wash them, albeit a slightly less expensive option. The diaper cream is pricier than the $2.50 tube of A&D we were using, but since we started using it, we have hardly needed it.

I felt like I had to share these changes with you, since I feel like I was a bit high and mighty in my previous post, thinking I didn't have to play by the cloth diaper rules. Now, I think these two products are worth the investment. And though I've said it before, we are now really feeling the effects after a conversation with a colleague having her third child and fearing the upcoming cost of disposable diapers. We have long since rounded the mark where our diapers have paid for themselves (about a year), so now we wash them and diaper our kid for basically free. And now that we are in an apartment, I am grateful for every trip to the trash room I can avoid.

All that said, our guy has been hydrating like nobody's business and has been going through some diapers. So many, in fact, that in one day he used all the ones at school and had to go to our disposable backups, and the one he came home in one was packed to the brink. Is this some sort of growth spurt-related event? Has anyone else's kid suddenly become a super-soaker?


  1. We use Grandma El's diaper cream. It is cloth diaper friendly and works amazingly on Felicitys horrible diaper rashes.

  2. I wondered how you were able to use the ALL when all the diaper sites said it wasn't "pure" enough.....

    1. Christine - I guess I wasn't able to. It seemed to work, but in my desperation to combat my supersoaker kid, I thought I should try something else, and now I do feel better using the Rockin' Green.

      What are you using to wash?

  3. Thanks so much for this post Jill! Although I have not actually washed any diapers yet, I read your previous post and was thinking the same thing as Christine - since many sites say not to use the All Free since the brighteners can cause buildup. I have been using the All Free for the baby clothes though. I cant wait to try out the rockin' green. I was also excited to find out that a local retailer in town sells it so I wont have to pay for shipping! They amazingly sell it for the same price (14.95, I think) that you can buy it online just no shipping. The package says that HE washers only need 1 - 2 tbs (instead of 3-4) so our washer should be able to get the full number of loads per bag. Thanks for all the advice!

    My only concern is that it is a powder. How does the fact that it is a powder not cause buildup or those white streaks that you normally get with regular powder detergent? Thats really my only concern since I have not used it yet.

    1. To combat buildup, I always round up on the size load I use. I am not familiar with how to do that for an HE washer, though.
      As for the streaks, I usually add the powder as the washer is filling , as/before I add my diapers, so that is has a chance to start dissolving first. Don't forget to prep the diapers before the baby gets here! Will you be going right to cloth, or waiting a bit?

      Glad you found the local retailer - its always nice to actually see and feel the products in person! And its nice to meet other moms, and take advantage of any classes or groups usually offered at those locations. I especially recommend hanging out there some as part of your first solo adventures with the baby! If they are ever out of what you need, SweetBottoms ships for free (except the Rockin' Green is heavy so they require a minimum purchase to get free shipping for it... when I need to hit a minimum I usually stock up on liners!)

    2. Thanks, Jill. I think I will just have to experiment with the potential powder issues. Our washer is HE front load, so you add the detergent in a compartment prior to starting and it adds it as it goes. You dont select a size of the load, somehow it knows how much water to add. I have never used powder with this washer so we will just have to see what it does. If it doesnt work well, I think that the Charlie soap comes in liquid which I have heard is okay to use with the diapers.

      Yes, I am planning to do the diapers from the beginning. For the newborn phase, I am going to do the prefolds with covers and then transition into the BG AIOs and pockets as baby grows into them. At least that is the plan and we will go with the flow. Very excited to start using the diapers though. It took me awhile to decide what I wanted to start with, so I still havent washed any yet. Waiting on the shipment to come in and then I will wash them all to get up to adsorbency.

      Thanks for all the advice!!