We're back on the cloth diaper train! That means, cloth diaper laundry. MMMmmmm yes, washing cloth diapers, again. I can't say I missed the laundry while we used disposables there for a few months. After crunching some numbers however, (and remembering how it felt to be sleep deprived, thanks to a 13 month old with a stomach bug) I had the horrifying realization of how much it was going to cost us to use disposable diapers for BOTH babies when bambino #2 gets here. YIKES! Also, it's one of those months where there might be a titch bit more month than money... and we're nearly out of disposables. :-) So, why let our beautiful cloth go to waste, hmmm?
My big hang up has been trying to wash my cloth in the AMAZING and GLORIOUS HE washer my mother-in-law left us when we moved in. Seriously, I looooooove that washer like a child or a pet. It's amazing. Our clothes come out clean and pristine, it takes SO little water and energy to run... and it's a work horse. I've used a lot of HE washers, and none compare. The only slight problem I've had with it, is that it made cloth diaper laundry a little harder. Tonight though, I FINALLY figured it out! ADD MORE WATER!
I attempted to wash my diapers, and to my horror... suds in the second rinse cycle. Sigh. I suppose that would explain the minor (very, VERY minor) repelling issues I've been having and "cloth diaper funk" I've been smelling. I wasn't sure exactly what to do. When I had a standard top loader, I'd just run a hot load with one tablespoon of original blue Dawn, and I'd be golden. I'm no dummy, I knew that would NOT solve my oversudsing issue in my front loader. So, I took to the Google. I found next to nothing helpful. So I applied all my knowledge of cloth diaper laundry and the ins and outs of my current amazing and glorious washer... and I made a bold leap. Surprisingly, it worked!
Here's what I did:
I started out doing something incredibly counter intuitive: I used a teaspoon of Dawn. I know, I know... probably sounds stupid. But I knew I had some diaper cream (homemade, cloth diaper safe) residue, and I knew that there was some other buildup too. I wanted to get it ALL OUT. I ran that load on the SUPER extra hot mega sanitizing setting. **disclaimer** This may void your warranty, if your diapers have one. Ours are out of warranty for age anyway, and I really had nothing to lose. Here's the other thing, I added water to my washer. I used a bucket, and added hot water to the drum until the diapers floated. Not enough to pour out the front, mind you, just enough so that they got enough water sloshing through them.
I then followed it up with a nice long hot regular wash cycle to make sure they were clear of suds... spoiler... they WERE NOT. Good thing I ran that extra cycle. I then did a cold bleach cycle, which our manufacturer recommends about once a month. Here's another tip: when I was in college, a microbiology professor told me that bleach disinfects best when it's used in cold water. Hot water doesn't help it kill germs, and can actually decrease its effectiveness. Your clothes will get white, but not kill off yeast and bacteria. I don't know about you, but I've battled a nasty yeast rash on my kiddo... I wanted that fungi DEAD. Cold bleach followed by hot dryer is the only way to go. Bleach breaks down the cell walls of the spores, allowing the hot dyer to be more effective at destroying them.
After my cold bleach cycle, I then did "quick wash" cycles (about 15-20 minutes) until there were NO SUDS remaining in the water. Took a couple cycles, and yes I kept adding water. Water, water, water. When you're battling suds, you need more water. I once heard that if you're having a problem with your cloth diaper laundry, the solution is usually one of three things: water, agitation, or detergent. More or less of each of those will usually fix any problem with cloth diapers, at least in my experience. :-)
Now, my cloth stash is happy again. No more diaper stank, no more sudsy wash water... Diapers that are clean, and scentless, and perfect. HAPPY DAY! :-)