One of the biggest issues cloth diapering families can struggle with is how to wash cloth diapers. I’ve even wondered myself once or twice about my own wash routine. As babies get older their output changes and sometimes your wash routine needs to change with it. Don’t worry, most issues are totally fixable. And I want to help you fix them!
So what is this big mistake?
Not doing a prewash! Or not using the right cycle for a prewash.
I guess this came as a surprise to me, but there are people not doing prewashes with their cloth diaper laundry. While there are a million different ways to get cloth diapers clean, the prewash is an integral part of any good wash routine.
Without it, you’re just trying to get diapers clean in filthy, poo filled water. I know that’s gross, but it’s true.
A good prewash gets the big stuff off and gives your main wash a nice head start. To get the most out of your prewash, here is what I recommend:
1) You want a prewash to agitate, spin and drain. The agitate part is the important part. It’s what will get the poo off.
Some machines have prerinse cycles that just spray water, spin and drain. That’s not what you want. If the machine can’t do a prewash that agitates, find a cycle to substitute for it. You may have a quick wash (many HE models have this option) that will work great as a prewash. Keep in mind the prewash needn’t be long. Try to use the shortest cycle available (that agitates) to save time and energy. If you are wondering what cycle to use, check your owners manual. If you don’t have it around anymore, just google your washing machine model number + manual (the number is usually inside the lid or door but can be on the back of the machine). When I help people with their wash routines in the All About Cloth Diapers Chat this is partly how I know what to tell them. :)
2) Use warm water in the prewash.
Yes, many people use cold with no issues. But it is my understanding that stains come out better in the temperature they were created. For pee and poo, that is warm water.
3) If your wash routine needs a little boost, you can add OxiClean, Bac Out or even a little bit of your detergent to the prewash.
This isn’t necessary for everyone. But if you find that you have an especially gross load of cloth diapers, a little boost might not hurt. For OxiClean add to the 1 line; Bac Out is 1/4 cup or three squirts around the tub; and detergent you could add the amount for a light load (usually the 1 line).
Make sure you do a prewash.
Use a cycle that agitates, spins and drains.
Use warm water if possible.
For added cleaning power add a little OxiClean, Bac out or some of your detergent.
Anyone have any other suggestions to get the most out of your prewash cycle?