Whether you do it to save money, save energy or reduce waste, you want to make your cloth diapers last. A few simple tricks will help keep your cloth diapers looking and performing like new.
Before the wash
Once your little one starts solid foods, you'll be dealing with more solid waste. Before you toss Baby's cloth diapers in the wash, you'll want to rinse off as much of the solid stuff as possible. Several cloth diaper manufacturers also make handy sprayer attachments that make pre-rinsing your cloth diapers a breeze. The sprayer attaches to the toilet's water line and has a convenient holder. You can also DIY your own sprayer with some inexpensive parts from the hardware store.
If you're using cloth diapers with Velcro, be sure the Velcro tabs are secured before washing. You want your cloth diapers to last years, and unsecured Velcro tabs will pick apart the fabric of the diapers as they tumble in the washing machine.
Although cloth diapers greatly reduce the occurrence of diaper rash, sometimes medication or other issues cause a diaper rash flare-up. When you reach for a diaper rash cream, be sure it's compatible with cloth diapers. Some formulas will cause staining and damage the diaper's fabric. Your best bet is coconut oil, a natural antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal moisturizer that helps create a skin-protecting barrier. You can also refer to this list for the best diaper rash creams and ointments to use with cloth diapers.
In the wash
Always pre-rinse your cloth diapers before a sanitizing wash. Then wash with gentle baby detergent according to the manufacturer's instructions. Do not use fabric softener as it could damage the diapers and negatively affect their ability to absorb moisture. Once a month, you can add a bit of bleach for extra disinfecting power. If you want to avoid the harshness of bleach (a petroleum product), add 10 drops of tea tree oil to disinfect without potentially irritating Baby's sensitive skin. An extra rinse at the end of the regular wash cycle will help make sure there's no lingering detergent, bleach or other laundry additives in the cloth diapers.
Dry according to manufacturer's recommendation, but the most energy efficient way to dry is on a clothes line or rack. Line drying has a couple added benefits as well: It helps the cloth diapers last longer, and if you dry them in the sunlight, the sun will have a natural bleaching effect on the fabric to help get rid of any stains.
Bonus time: DIY cloth wipes
If you're going to cloth diaper, you might as well make your own cloth wipes.
1. Start with some baby wash cloths. Get the thin ones with a simple stitched edging – this will help them neatly fold and fit inside a reusable wipe dispenser.
3. For a stack of 24 wipes, melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a glass container. Add 1 ½ cups of water and ¼ cup of liquid baby soap.