*Note that due to moving to a house with harder water and my son being older which means more waste my routine has changed a bit since this post was written almost two years ago.
There always seem to be questions on forums and Facebook groups about how to wash cloth diapers. This isn't such an easy question as people's water is different or their children may have sensitivities to one thing or another. I can tell you how I wash my cloth diapers to give you some ideas.
When we lived in New England we had soft to normal water and a regular, old school top loading machine so washing diapers was easy. When we got word that we were moving to CO I found out that we would have hard water. I got nervous. I heard all of the hard water horror stories and I didn't want to end up needing to adopt a complicated wash routine.
First, we had to buy a new machine because the old machine belonged to the old house. I chose the Maytag Bravos X because it had what I wanted for diapers - a top loading HE machine (I heard too many horror stories about front loaders and didn't want to go there), a bulky setting, and an extra rinse button. Not too complicated. I also love that it has a clear lid so I can make sure there aren't any bubbles left in the rinse cycle.
Second, I had to figure out what I was going to do about detergent. After a lot of reading, I decided on Tide because it supposedly blocks the hard water minerals and I wouldn't have to monkey around with Calgon and other stuff.
I rinse all poopy diapers with a diaper sprayer and put them in a large wet bag. When it's full (about 2 days worth) it's time to do diaper laundry. A typical load for me is about 15 diapers and this is how I wash them:
- Warm wash on the hand wash cycle without detergent. (I don't have a warm rinse option on my machine, but if you do that should be fine.)
- Warm wash on the Bulky setting with Tide Ultra powder to the 2 line or a little above
- I press the deep clean and extra rinse buttons
- Hang covers and wet bags to dry, dry inserts and wipes in the dryer
- On occasion I will add an oxygen bleach (like OxiClean or Biokleen) to the wash routine if my diapers are looking dingy during the colder months when sunning them is a bit more difficult.
That's it! Perfectly clean diapers every time and for the 5½ months that I have been using this routine I haven't had any issues with stink or had a need to strip my diapers. We have also had less rash issues that we had in CT. I don't know if this is due to my wash routine, a more modern machine, the switch to Tide, or a better handle on how to treat rashes at the beginning, but I'm sticking to it!