Washing Cloth Diapers in a Front Loader

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I anticipated much struggle.  I’ve read the bazillions of stories of moms saying they wish they had a top loader just for their cloth diapers. I went back and forth over whether to buy a TL or FL when my old-trusty died.

In the end, a FL made more sense (and they looked prettier :) ). I’ve followed the main “rule” and left the door open all the time.  I’m also quite particular about cleaning the rubber ring with a cleaning wipe. Very disgusting when you wash poopy cloth diapers. **eta: the rule I am referring to is the most fix for the most common complaint with front loaders: mold.  If you don’t leave it open mold will form on the inside and obviously causes some problems.  All the information I read (and my mom’s advice) said to leave the door open.  Easy enough for me.

I’m happy to say that after 2 weeks, I have yet to encounter a single problem.  My machine (Samsung Steam) does not have an option to add more water but when I watch the cycle run there appears to be plenty.  I do have a setting for an extra rinse + spin which I have used a couple of times.

I think the problem arises when you are not using a clean rinsing detergent.  If I were using Tide or another mass-produced store bought detergent the likelihood of buildup is much greater.  However, I have been using Clean B which is an all natural, low-sudsing formula. (Ingredients: sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium percarbonate & fragrance oils (if scented is chosen)).

I add 2 scoops of detergent and I am still running a prewash with Bac-out every wash.

Two weeks isn’t a very long test run so we’ll see how things look in a couple of months.

I’m also really enjoying my Buddha Bunz wool dryer balls courtesy of Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique! I have a review and giveaway coming soon!!


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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. Autumn enjoys writing but would choose camping with her family any day!

View all posts by Autumn Beck

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111 Responses to “Washing Cloth Diapers in a Front Loader”

  1. Morgan Says:

    Hi Autumn, will you revisit this topic sometime soon? We are moving to a FL and I would love to know the ins and outs of what we have to be aware of. You mentioned cleaning a ring?? and a few other details that I wasn’t sure about :). A complete FL washing routine would be awesome!!

    Thank you from a long time email subscriber,
    Morgan

    Reply

  2. shea Says:

    I have about 30 diapers and wash every other day to 3rd day. I drop the poop in the toilet (now that he is eating solids, but before, would just rinse in the shower with the beater setting on the shower head). I soak in a 5 gal bucket with about 3 gal water:half cup white distilled vinegar. I have a top loader, and when it’s time to wash,I just squeeze out the diapers and inserts and put into the washer (top loader). I use Tide free and a small scoop of Oxi powder. My washer has an extra rinse setting and then I still do another rinse just to be sure because I have soft water. After a few weeks, I sometimes have to do a strip with blue dawn dishwashing liquid…one cycle with it and then wash again like I normally do. The only time I have ever had a mildew issue is when we first started out and completely forgot about them in the washer…completely my fault! I had heard so many horror stories about front loaders so I decided to keep the old top loader and it works great, and I don’t have to do any extra steps!! oh, I do this all on cold.

    Reply

  3. Jodie Says:

    I have an LG FL washer and am thinking about switching to a TL. I’m surprised that no one is mentioning that the FLs have super long wash cycles! That is the worst part for me! This is the ideal wash routine for my washer: Cold Speedwash with high spin (to get out the pee and poo), another cold speedwash with no spin (this keeps the diapers saturated so that they weigh more for the main wash cycle), heavy duty hot wash cycle with Charlie’s Soap and extra rinse and water. I am thinking about adding another hot speedwash at the end to make sure they are rinsed well since I have soft water. So that is two 20 minute speedwashes, an almost 2 hour wash cycle, and possibly another 20 minute speedwash. 3 hours!!! Not to mention going out to the garage 3-4 times! Even with this wash routine, I have to take all the diapers over to my moms for a heavy duty soak, wash and rinse routine every month or so in her TL. I soak overnight with bleach (I was resistant at first, but then got desperate), then wash with soap and borax, and run 4 or 5 hot washes to rinse too. After washing in the TLer there is absolutely no odor! Ok, I totally just convinced myself that I am getting a TLer for my birthday! Ha

    Reply

  4. Kristin Says:

    I really looked forward to reading this article, but your pop up that floats all over the page as I scroll makes it absolutely impossible to read from a smart phone. Frustrating.

    Reply

  5. Kyra Says:

    I’ve been using a front loader for over a year and a half now to wash my cloth nappies – have never had any issues with it! In fact, when we’re staying at the bach for the holidays and are using the top loader we seem to run into more issues with smelly nappies. I never knew about leaving the door open to prevent mould will have to keep that in mind, although we do at least 1 load of washing every 2nd day so I suppose it’s never had enough rest time to grow mould!

    Reply

  6. April Says:

    Thanks so much for all your info on this sight. We’re very new to CDs and a little overwhelmed! I do have a front loader and am wondering how you put BacOut in your FL, which is what we have. I watched your video back when you had a TL and didn’t know if the amount you use now is different? And do you put it in the detergent loader instead of in the tub? I did pick up a spray bottle of BacOut today b/c I assumed it would be easier to spray on the diapers as soon as we got the poop off after changing my little one. But I noticed how quickly I’m already going through it, as I sprayed five of my BG to rid them of poopy smells. So maybe just stick with the squirt bottle?

    Reply

  7. julie T Says:

    Watch out…Bac-Out is not approved for use with all types of cloth diapers and can cause waterproof PUL outers to loose their waterproofing over time!

    Reply

  8. Jennifer P Says:

    Thank you for this post! I am researching washers and dryers and my head hurts from the amount of information out there. The more I read about FL v/s TL I think I meay go with TL – mostly because I am very forgetful and would likely end up with a door full of poop stink because I’d forget to leave it open. Plus I was extremely hard water with a very high iron content and just figured out a wash routine in my aging TL – I’m afraid to try FL and have to start all over again!

    Reply

  9. Janine Says:

    If I were to switch to Tide should it be powder or liquid? I have been having alot of stink issues. I have stripped, used less detergent, used more detergent and they still come out of the washer smelling like poop. I have tried Rockin green, country save and crunchy clean and still no better. I am about 1 wash away from going back to disposables. They actually smell so bad I just put them outside. I have hard water and just cant seem to find the right amount of detergent to use and I can sun them because I live in canada and this year we havent seen that big ball of fire much. Please help

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Either. I use liquid but many of my readers report they use powder. Possibly less chance of buildup if you use powder.

      Reply

  10. Hannah Says:

    Hi Autumn! I am gearing up to start cloth diapering (using primarily Flips) but am confused by my Frigidaire FL– I do not have a Rinse/Spin option. I do have an extra rinse option but that, I believe, just adds an extra rinse at the end of a wash cycle. Should I use the “Light Wash” option as a rinse cycle and the “Normal Wash” option for the actual washing ? I do have a Hot/Cold water option. Hopefully that makes sense! Thanks!

    Reply

  11. Lori Says:

    I guess this just seems so foreign to me as I have been brainwashed to use “CLOTH FRIENDLY” soaps. I have ran loads of diapers for about a week ( we arent using the diapers) to make sure I have no soap residue…. on hot clod cycles so I think I will start fresh, should I bleach or something first (I have never bleached) I only use gro baby diapers…. and am so scared/frustrated with my dilemma. We have hard water but have a softener system and like i said I only used Nellies for almost 7 mos… no stripping ever required then I switched to Rockin green after reading so many great reviews, and have had rash issues a stink issue and now im nervous about switching. thanks

    Reply

  12. Lori Says:

    When you guys say you use tide … do you use tide HE or do you use free and clear? I used to use Nellie’s and I tried RNG and have had nothing but problems since that fateful day. I have switched back to Nellie’s but am having major rash issues and stink, which I never had with months of using only Nellie’s. Im stuck, and frustrated.

    Reply

  13. Mariel Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    I am new to cloth diapering and I have been going back to your page for advise. I just have a question regarding washing cloth diapers and covers. Why do you have to wash them on hot water and rinse on cold water? We don’t have a washing machine as we prefer to handwash our laundry and line dry them. We get hot water by heating a pot of water on a stove. Does it mean that our diapers won’t get cleaned if we don’t wash them on hot water? Or is this just applicable with machine wash? Washing machines from this side of the planet are so expensive not to mention the cost of electricity. Sorry if my questions are somewhat funny.

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      In your situation you’d probably want to go with a prefold system or Flip. These are much easier to hand wash and hang dry. Most of the time heat is recommended in the rinse cycle to ensure the detergent releases from the diapers. Otherwise, buildup can occur. If I was in your shoes and could purchase Flip I would go that route. I’d then wash and rinse the inserts in normal water. Then boil water to do a second rinse. You’ll notice in the second rinse many suds releasing. Funny thing is your system will probably help you avoid many of the problems we have using machines!

      Reply

  14. Karen Moore Says:

    OK this may be old fashioned, but it really works. Two children, cloth diapers and not one rash ever! I put a mixture of water and Borax ( http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/) in the diaper pail so that they are soaking until I get ready to wash. Then I ring them out and put them in the rinse only cycle (hot water). Next I wash using a mixture of detergent and borax (dissolve the borax in the liquid detergent), drying, if you can in the sunlight. I also never add a softner of any sort, it cuts down on the absorption and can cause rashes.

    Reply

  15. Abbie Says:

    I have a FL Kenmore H3t. I’m relatively new to cloth diapers and use gDiapers with gCloth inserts. Here is my routine:

    Rinse/Drain (no spin) on cold w/o detergent
    Heavy Duty with prewash on hot/cold, extra rinse, extended spin with 2T RnG Classic Rock

    I just purchased some Bac-Out since I am anticipating some stinkies/stains as my LO gets older. My washer doesn’t have a prewash drawer to put it in. Any suggestions on if I should squirt it straight onto the diapers in the washer with my cold rinse or should I put it in the detergent compartment and actually run a cold wash cycle with just the Bac-Out before my hot cycle with RnG? Any ideas would be appreciated! I just don’t want my LO to get a rash from the Bac-Out seeing as he has very sensitive skin. Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I would add the bac-out straight on the diapers and do the rinse/drain. Then run the regular cycle.

      Reply

  16. Marcy Says:

    Ok, I have a question… I’ve been using cloth diapers in a front-loader for a few weeks now. So far I’ve been using Dropps detergent (got a big sample ages ago- http://www.dropps.com). It’s been working fine… then today I figured I’d try using some Bac-Out as well, so I rant a cold “quick wash” with a big squirt of Bac-Out in the detergent compartment, then when that was done I ran a normal hot/cold wash with the Dropps.

    When I looked in my washer 10 minutes into the cycle, the washer drum was filled half-way up with water and TONS of soap suds. I have no idea what happened… is there any way the Bac-Out could have reacted badly with the soap in the following wash and caused a problem? Does that make sense about why the washer was so full of water? Did my washer just malfunction? I’m trying to figure out what I did, and the only thing I can think of that’s different from the dozens of other wash cycles I’ve ran before, was doing the first wash with the Bac-Out.

    Anyone have a clue what happened here?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      that is strange. the only thing i would have done differently is to put the bac out in the prerinse area not the detergent area. since your diapers were wet from the 1st cycle it probably “tricked” your machine into adding more water (which is what many do by adding a wet towel). did you run another cycle with no detergent and see what happens?

      Reply

      • Marcy Says:

        Unfortunately ours doesn’t seem to have a pre-rinse dispenser (at least I don’t see one labeled). There’s just detergent, fabric softener, and bleach.

        I did run another hot/cold cycle with no detergent, along with an additional final rinse, to get all the suds out. I’m gonna keep an eye on the next few wash cycles to make sure it’s working ok. I’m totally confused by what happened… everyone says it’s from using a non-HE or powder soap, but the stuff is liquid and HE. Oh well…

        Reply

  17. Angel Says:

    What a great topic!

    So I just bought a Samsung 330 FL, and I’m loving it. The only thing is that since it’s new, it has that “new rubber smell” from the seal. That’s what my pocket diaper covers are smelling like if I press my nose into them, and take a hard whiff (I have an innate sense of smell – so maybe this is just me). The inserts don’t have the same smell, so maybe it’s the PLU holding the smell?

    Here is what has been working for me so far:

    I have a rinse + spin cycle only (cold water)
    Then I wash it on a sanitize cycle (hot wash, cold rinse) with a extra rinse cycle
    I put baking soda in the pre-wash section, charlies soap in the detergent area, and white distilled vinegar in the fabric softner area.
    Hang dry the covers in my laundry room (I’m in WA, and we have yet to see the sun this summer!!! That’s pathetic! When the sun does come out, I will hang dry in the sun hoping that the “rubber smell” will ease it’s way out), and throw the inserts in the dryer. I’ve had no issues with stains, icky poop smells, or ammonia smells. The only thing that’s lingering is the new smell of my FL’s rubber seal. What’s up with that anyhow?

    I also do wipe out the inside ring/seal with a cloth cleaning wipe to soak up the water, and I just throw those into the next load of laundry. For those who want an awesome cleaning idea too:

    Make cloth diaper wipes out of flannel (old shirt or sheet)
    Get a flip top container that seals
    Soak your cloths in baking soda, vinegar, and 10-20 drops of essential oil (I like to use peppermint) – google the recipe for exact amts
    Pull out, use, and toss them in a container till your next load of laundry

    It’s just like baby wipes, but you use them to clean! Works on EVERY SURFACE!!! Totally easy and environmental (vs. clorox cleaning wipes)!

    P.S. Autumn – Love your blog!

    Reply

  18. Carol Says:

    I have used a front loader (Kenmore He3T) for my diapers for 2 of my kids. I also have hard water and I use Tide. I never had a stink problem until I tried RNG a couple months ago. I tried it because so many people rave about it. I did the whole RNG soaking thing and it was okay the first few washes and THEN the stink on the diapers started. I striped and went back to Tide – no more stinks.
    I think that using a front loader can be done and that the right detergnt for each family can depend on the type of machine as well as the water etc. I am now an advocate of if it is not broken don’t “fix” it. lol!

    Reply

  19. Jana Says:

    I have the Kenmore HE2 plus…my question is, how do you really strip cds in a front loader? Or not for that matter I guess. I have serious stink issues and have from day one. I want to try some of the routine suggestions made here, but I feel like I really need to strip them well first and I am worried I don’t know how to do that efficiently. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      you could use the sanitize (or other high temp setting specific to your washer) cycle. or use RLR. or bleach. and use a detergent that breaks down minerals like Hard Rock or Clean B

      Reply

      • Jana Says:

        I’m sorry…this is all still kind of new to me…

        My issue is detergent build up. So I should use a different detergent to break down the detergent already built up? I use Green Mountain Baby because it was recommended for HE and for cloth diapers. I just ordered a sample of RnG so I am honestly hoping it will solve all of my problems. What is RLR? If I use one of these things, how much do I use? Sorry, I have been struggling with this for a while so I want to make sure I get specifics!

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          RLR and RnG both contain ingredients that specifically break down minerals and buildup. I don’t know how big a sample of RnG is but you’ll want to wash your diapers then soak them overnight in the RnG (or RLR). As far as how much. RLR is in serving size packets. RnG will have a recommendation on her site.

          Reply

  20. megan Says:

    Hi. I’ve been doing cloth diapers for 3 months now. I actually have 2 machines, TL and Fl. I prefer the FLer due to the extra spin which saves drying time soooo much. Have never had a problem with smell. I use Country Save which has absolutly no smell at all. I rinse the poop in the wash sink prior to putting in the machine even though “they” say you don’t have to rinse with breast fed babies. The idea of poop in the machine is kinda icky to me lol. Still trying to get my husband to hang the line outside which we bought 6 months ago. My diapers have some staining which I know the sun will cure. But their diapers which nobody sees so no biggy there. Good luck

    Reply

  21. yahyah Says:

    what if your having to wash them at a laundromat and cant do the extra rinse and all that stuff?

    Reply

  22. Esley Says:

    I have the Kenmore H2 also…Mine sounds like a train going by went it spins (I live by a train and guest always say is there a train going by)but I have found the express wash with a little soap and then I use Heavy Duty Xtra rinse. I love fL but would never own another Kenmore!

    Reply

  23. Tracy Says:

    I appreciate your review. We have had a Front Loader (LG) since January and I haven’t had any problems at all. We use RnG or Charlie’s powder. Both work really well. I prefer Charlie’s because I can buy in bulk. We wipe the ring after each wash cycle and leave the door open as much as possible. I also run a tub clean cycle every two weeks and drain/check the filter. No stink or mold problems. We have a moderately hard water and I haven’t had to strip my diapers at all since purchasing my FL. I was so worried about buying a FL with all the negative feedback with cloth diapers. I’m so glad I didn’t listen. I am happy to say that cloth diapering with a FL can be done!!!

    Reply

  24. rbenson Says:

    Great article. Let us know how it works out with a little more time.

    Reply

  25. Summer Says:

    Just an FYI – we have a top loading washer that acts like a front loader. We’ve been CDing for 2.5 months and haven’t had any issues with dirty diapers coming out of the wash or smell. We use the Whirlpool Cabrio and love it!

    Reply

  26. Annie Says:

    I’m just doing my research on CD’ing now – and have a FL washer – so I love this article. My concern is that most of the soaps/detergents that have been referred to seem to be granular, and I’m under the impression (from my husband who may be wrong) that we should NEVER use granular soap in our FL and only use liquid – is this true? If so, are there liquid detergent equivalents to the options you all are using?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I’ve never heard this. There is a compartment in the front loader (mine anyways) specifically for granular detergent.

      Reply

      • Agnes Says:

        Same thing here. We have a compartment specifically for powder detergents as well. Lately, I’ve been using Nature Clean, Wonder Wash and Rockin’ Green powder detergents without any issues.

        Reply

  27. Melanie Rogers Says:

    I meant to add: So Autumn, I wish I had read this positive article about washing with a FL a year ago, when I was looking in to CD the first time! :) Thanks for posting it!

    Reply

  28. Melanie Rogers Says:

    First, I just want to say that I got totally discouraged and didn’t try cloth diapers after the birth of my daughter last year due to reading really negative comments about front loaders on line. I was so excited to go with cloth…. but when I thought having a front loader would not clean my diapers, I reluctantly went to disposables.
    Well, after a year of dealing with diaper rash, I re-researched CD on line and found out I could wash with a FL! And I can wash very well! I wish I hadn’t let negative comments about front loaders keep me from CD for a year!!!

    Anyway, I do have a “water plus” button as well as a sanitary cycle, a baby cycle, and if I need to soak I just hit pause and off and let it soak. I also want to add that I would NEVER get a “regular” old fashioned top loader washer since I live in San Diego and water is very scarce. It is just as irresponsible to use a high water washer here in San Diego as it is to use disposable diapers.

    My two questions: I am surprised more people don’t use Soap Nuts (or Maggie’s soap nuts, or Eco Nuts). They are totally environmentally friendly, have NO suds, get my diapers clean, and will never leave a bad residue. Is there a reason they are not used more? I have heard I should still use something occasionally to “sanitize” or “disinfect” my diapers. Bio-kleen sounds scary to me since my daughter has a HORRIBLE reaction to the enzymes in Kirkland Free and Clear. Is there anything else I can use to treat my diapers while still mostly using soap nuts? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I did not like Soap Nuts at all. I think it’s just a personal thing :)

      Reply

      • Melanie Rogers Says:

        Oh bummer. Was their any specific reason you could share about why you don’t like soap nuts? Since I am new to CD, you have tried way more detergents on CD than I have, so I would love to know your experience.

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          I couldn’t ever get the bag to stay closed, pieces went in the laundry and the clothes never got clean :)

          Reply

  29. Elisha Says:

    And yes I always leave the door open. No moldy smells at least. : )

    Reply

  30. Elisha Says:

    I have a GE Profile front loader. I hate it. It was so expensive and pretty and I hate it. Not just the diapers either. But they are the worst. I have tried for over a year and I can not get rid of the ammonia stink. I have to use RLR all the time and that doesn’t even work. I am in TX too. And our hard water is so bad. I just ordered rockin green hard rock. Praying that it helps! But my machine is just bad. The dryer rocks. But I have to reclean all items all the time, its loud, shakes, doesn’t spin well. I think I got a lemon. I have had so many people come to “fix” it. Gah. I just bought the extended warranty for the piece if junk.
    So wish I bought a different brand..LG or Samsung maybe.

    Reply

  31. Molly Says:

    I have only used a FL washer for diapers. At first I was very frustrated and had a lot of stink and rash issues. Now I have found a solution, it is two seperate wash cycles:
    1. Cold wash, extra rinse, with one scoop of Charlie’s Soap. (This removes all the urine and soil from the diapers, cold water does not set in the stains.)
    2. Hot wash, extra rinse, with one ounce of Oxy-Boost oxygen cleaner (additive free oxygen bleach, like oxy clean). (This cycle sanatizes the diapers and helps rinse out any residual detergent.)

    I hate the fact that I have to do two seperate cycles to get the diapers clean but it works! I figure I am still saving water over a top loader. My son never gets a rash, diapers smell great, and they rarely get stains. Since I have been using this rutine I almost never need to strip the diapers. I am sure other clean rinsing, non-additive detergents would work just as well as Charlie’s soap.

    Reply

  32. Melanie Says:

    How much bac out do you use? Is it concentrated or do you dilute it? Been having difficulty with my Whirlpool Duet, I end up running multiple wash cycles with no soap just to make sure that all the soap is out. I have been using RGreen with mostly BG diapers. Having some issues with stinkies and leaking sometimes.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      3 squirts concentrated. Another commenter mentioned that on the rockin green site she recommends 2 prewashes on cold and a heavy duty on hot. You could add about a 1/4 cup vinegar to the rinse also. Sounds like you have buildup issues.

      Reply

      • Nicole Says:

        My TL also just died and I switched to a FL. I used to put 3 squirts of Bac-Out in a cold rinse cycle before I washed the diapers – with the TL I squirted it right in the machine with the diapers. With the FL, should I squirt it right in the machine on the diapers or do you put it in one of the detergent sections in that little detergent “drawer”? Actually, I have hard water and I used to put some Borax with the detergent on the wash cycle also. Does anyone know if I should put this in the detergent “drawer” with my detergent or should I put it right in on the diapers? The washing machine manufacturers don’t have much direction in terms of washing the diapers and when talking to the salespeople at the store, they had no clue! Thanks!

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          Use the drawers for all additives. You should check out Clean B detergent. I use it in my hard water.

          Reply

  33. Angie Says:

    I have had my FL since November and have less stink issues now than I did with my old worn out TL. Actually, I would say I have NO stink issues now. I leave my door open on the washer all the time, or as much as possible (my 2 year old thinks it should be closed, so he shuts it when he sees it open). I use Country Save detergent and have really hard water too. I have thought about trying the Hard Rock samples just for the sake of trying them out…but we will see. I have a sanitize cycle on my washer, so I choose that along with the auto soak and extra rinse options, and then I choose the heavily soiled option too. I love my machine. The only thing I don’t like is that the hookups for the washer/dryer are in my kitchen…

    Reply

  34. Sonya Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    I have been using a FL for my diapers since the beginning and love it! I have a Kenmore something. We shake out our poopy diapers before putting them in the pail, but were still having some issues with poopies left in the rubber ring. I found doing a double rinse before the wash took care of this. So, our current routine (stolen mostly from the Rockin Green advice site), is a double rinse (cold) followed by a heavy duty cycle on hot. It has been working well. I agree with some others, though, that I still do not have a good routine for soaking in the FL. Has anyone tried starting a load and then hitting the pause button for an extended period of time?

    Reply

    • Amelia Says:

      Ha! I just posted about a soak cycle in a FL. I have a Kenmore something or other too. And, yes, you can do a soak by pushing in on the knob after it’s filled up and spun around a few times. It isn’t a true soak and I haven’t used it for diapers (yet!), but it works great for other nasty stuff. I got to this message board because I’m thinking of cloth diapering when the time comes and I’m worried about our FL and don’t want to use a communal laundry room (I wouldn’t want to worry about messing up their washers! Plus, I’m too spoiled with doing laundry in house!).

      I bought our washer and dryer used from a lady who had recently moved out of the same apartment complex. She said she used it for her kids diapers and it worked well enough but she had to use 2 full cycles every time. What I do for really dirty stuff is start with an extra rinse, then just 1 full cycle. My older kids can get pretty dirty, as can my husband working on cars and such and my Kenmore FL is tried and true.

      My trick regarding the extra rinse, since it’s not marked on the main cycle indicator knob, is to run a cycle with the extra rinse knob selected, then be observant to the machine’s cycle. When it gets closer to being done, you will notice the rinses starting. I took a dry erase marker and marked the beginning of each rinse on the main cycle knob. Then, after 3 marks, the washer stopped and I could tell that the last mark was the extra rinse. I tested it out by running the machine again, this time pulling out the main cycle knob and starting at the extra rinse (with the extra rinse knob also selected), and it worked. I now have a sharpie mark to indicate the extra rinse. I hope this helps!

      Reply

  35. Jessica Says:

    I was curious about the detergent you use. In the ingredients it doesnt list anything that is a detergent or surfactant. Does it suds at all? Does it get your diapers really clean? I love the scents they have listed, I would like to give it a try but Im wondering if it will get my diapers clean.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      It is a concern that I have for the long term use of Clean B. That is a reason I like Rockin Green so much, the surfactants. Without anything to really “wash” them I am anticipating some stink issues. I do use Bac-out though which I’m sure assists the non-surfactant detergents. When I am out of Clean B I use Mrs. Meyers. So until I am using Clean B full time I won’t have a good grasp on it.

      Reply

  36. Cloe Says:

    Great thread!
    I have only ever had a FL with my 3 years of CDing…I have 2 in CDs. I find that I have to wipe the rubber ring after EVERY load of laundry, not just diaper laundry. I keep a stash of cloth wipes in the laundry area just for this. getting the ring DRY as well as clean seems to help cut back on the mildew. My only complaint with doing a load of diapers in the FL is there is no “soak” option. I have 3 diaper pails, and as soon as one is full (maybe with about 15 diapers?) I will throw it in the wash. All of the poopy diapers are rinsed first with a sprayer…BTW, I have had no problems with leaks with my sprayer (again, in 3 years–I installed it myself while 8 months pregnant!)…but I must say that sometimes one is missed, esp. when DH is on duty ;-) I do a quick wash, cold/cold with Bac-Out and a touch (maybe a tsp.?) of the EnviroClean delicate wash. Then I will run a heavy-duty wash in hot/cold with an extra rinse, also with a touch of detergent. About every 4 weeks or so, I will “strip” the diapers with liquid Calgon. If it is sunny, I try to hang the diapers in the sun to dry. This combo seems to keep the stink out of the diapers, though some of the covers seem to hold the stink if used overnight…

    Reply

    • Amelia Says:

      Create your own soak option! My FL washer lets me stop the cycle by pushing in on the knob (as opposed to pulling out to start the cycle). So, if I want to soak something, I just let the washer fill up and run a few rotations, then push in on the knob. It isn’t perfect, but I found it works to get the smell out of my towels. No babies in my house, though, only big kids, so I haven’t tried it on cloth diapers. However, it also works well for oily (cooking) or super dirty rags, so I think it would work for diapers.

      Reply

      • melane Says:

        Unfortunately, mine never fills up with enough water to soak :( I have the LG WM2301HW…I’m still trying to figure out how to do a good strip with the RG.

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          bathtub :)

          Reply

          • melane Says:

            that’s what I just told my husband…I think I’m going to put them in the jetted tub and use the jets to get a good swish every once in a while. After 3 washes today w/RG, the one poopy diaper still has a faint poop smell. I have a bf baby that poops once or twice a week and it was washed the next morning. It is also a new diaper…Happy Heiny so not sure if their diapers might be the stink issue. All my other diapers are only ~1 month old, so shouldn’t be too bad yet.

            Reply

  37. Wendy Says:

    I struggled with my FL for washing cloth diapers from the time my son started eating solids until very recently (about 18 months total!) when I switched to Rockin Green (Hard Rock forumla because we’re on well water). I once even tried boiling my diapers for 10 minutes to get the residue/stink out. Now I have no more stink, no more problems period…I really don’t know what I ever did without it. I tried lots of other highly recommended cloth diaper detergents and nothing has even come close to being as effective as RG!

    Reply

  38. Terra Burgess Says:

    The gal I buy my CD’s from told me to throw in a wet towell with the diapers to trick my FL into thinking it has a heavier load (& using more water.) So far so good! She also sold me a CD safe detergent called Tiny Bubbles, which has been great. Thx for the rim wiping advice & the sunnng idea!

    Reply

    • Jodi Says:

      Thank you passing along the wet towel trick… I just added a wet bath towel to my washing cycle on my FL and it added more water as soon as I closed the door and continues the cycle! I also am using Tiny Bubbles detergent, but I am only on my first load of CD’s… so won’t know how it does yet.

      Reply

  39. Aimee Says:

    I have the Whirpool FL washer and dryer and love how they clean my diapers. I run prewash with no soap, hot heavy soil wash with 1 Tbsp Sensiclean, and an extra rinse. When you have a stink issue with diapers do they stink when they come out of the washer/dryer? I’ve noticed that my 9 month daughter’s pee pee diapers can smell pretty bad at times, and I’m not sure if it’s her pee that stinks or the diaper once it gets wet. I’m assuming it’s all the new foods that she’s been eating but keep wondering about this stink that everyone talks about. If you could shed some light on the typical stink issues I would really appreciate it. I do want to try hanging them in the sun to see if that helps. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      The smell will occur when the pee hits the diaper. The diaper can smell clean but once it’s peed in smells horrid.

      Reply

    • Morgana Says:

      I am so glad to find someone else with the same question as I have. I use prefolds and wash & rinse well, but after she pee’s in them they stink to high heaven. :) I was wondering if it’s actually from the PUL covers that she’s in, or if the diapers themselves are not as clean as they smell when I wash them. I am just now going to start using BG AIO’s so we’ll see what stink issue is created with them.

      Reply

      • Abbi Says:

        I am having the same issues, mainly an ammonia smell once they’ve been peed in. Any suggestions, anyone? I am not sure if I need to strip them or sun them, or what. This is my first child with CDs, and I don’t know anyone else that does it. I also have a front-loading washer, I’ve tried using vinegar, Borax, and RnG. I liv in a very small town, so there aren’t a lot of shopping options, as far as getting a wide variety of cleaning agents or additives. Thanks for any tips!

        Reply

  40. Adrian Post Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    I love the look of a FL washer, but after my TL washer broke a few weeks ago, I used my moms FL to do some laundry and it was just so weird to see almost no water in it. I just don’t get how it gets the clothes clean with out getting them soaking. I know it does, it just freaks me out for some reason. Although I did find myself watching my clothes go round and round. I am happily back to my TL and I love it. And I love my Clean B, the orange blossom smells wonderful. I can’t wait for my cherry almond to come. How are you feeling by the way? Do you have good pregnancies?

    Reply

  41. Stacy Says:

    I have a Samsung and I use the Prewash with Rockin G and Bac Out then the Regular and Extra Wash button on Hot (w/ Rockin G). I use the Extra Rinse and Silver Clean button too. About 1x every 2 months or so I use the sanitize cycle. So far all my all-in-one thirsties have been fine. I’ve also had some BG Pockets that seem to be working great after 9 months. I hadn’t heard of the leaving the door open or wiping the rubber ring. Hmmm…will have to go try it out. Good luck. Love your site! Oh and I’m in North Texas so I understand the fun water issues!!

    Reply

  42. MieVee @ MummysReviews.com Says:

    For 15 months, our cloth diapers have been washed in an Electrolux front loading washing machine. They are clean and have no stink issue. We use a prewash, warm wash with little CD-friendly liquid detergent, rinse & spin. Then lots of sunning, which we get year round in Malaysia (tropical country).

    Reply

  43. Heidi Says:

    This is a great article! I will be passing it along to a few friends who have F/L He machine issues. Thank you!

    Reply

  44. Anonymous Says:

    I am one month into my new LG front loader and I love it. For diapers I use the sanitary cycle with an added pre-wash and extra rinse. Also 1 tbsp of rockin green soap. No stink at all, they come out clean and fresh every time.

    Reply

  45. Bernadette Says:

    I have a Kenmore HT2. I love love my FLer. I have been using it since day one with my son and he is 6 months. I have never ever had a stink issue. I have only recently started rinsing the big poop because, well, it’s gross. lol I use Country Save detergent. My wash routine is: Express wash w/ extra rinse. (no soap), then a Heavy Duty load with extra rinse. Both on hot/cold. I only use 1 tbs of soap. I have only sanitized them (stripped) twice, and only cause I wanted to. lol

    Reply

    • Emily Says:

      I have a front loader and am currently stripping my BG Elemental diapers because I’ve been having issues with the ammonia smell after my girls pee (though only in some of the diapers). I haven’t nailed down the culprit of the ammonia smell as we have soft water and I only use 1/4 the amount of Country Save recommended for FL washes. I’m thinking it’s because I have washed the diapers with the fleece inserts I made to use when we need diaper rash cream. That or my husband hasn’t fully wiped off the ointment my use on my eldest’s bottom with disposables at night due to her getting bad diaper rash from her poops.

      Anyway, my question is this. Should the diapers still smell like Dawn after stripping? I’ve washed/rinsed them multiple times in hot/cold (I don’t have a hot/hot or hot/warm setting on my FL) and have zero bubbles in the water. Does the smell of Dawn just stick around for a bit?

      Reply

      • Autumn Beck Says:

        if you don’t see any bubbles and they still smell like Dawn and ammonia is still present then I’d up the heat. Do you have a sanitize setting? Can you turn the hot water heater up?

        Reply

  46. Sherry Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    This is the first I’ve heard about 1) leaving the door open of the washing machine? and 2) cleaning out the rubber ring? I have a front loader and I wash poopy diapers…should I be doing this? PLEASE INFORM! What do you mean by leaving the door open all the time?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I updated the post in regards to leaving the door open ;)

      Reply

    • AnastasiaDenton Says:

      Don’t feel bad if you don’t “know” these things! I’ve been using a FL for YEARS & have never had issues with moisture getting trapped! Turns out I use the darn thing so MUCH the water never has TIME to grow mold. I only found out about the door thing when researching a issue with my MOM’s fl, lol!

      & I LOVE when company comes cover! Why do they wash clothes in my FL & it ALWAYS has black water on the 1st load? Everyone has to run the machine twice if they’ve been using a TL! & LINT! I get less lint with my fl & TONS when company washes their stuff!

      Reply

  47. Casey Says:

    Hi-
    Thanks for your great blog! Anyway, just wanted to add that we have a Samsung FL (not steam) & have been using it now for 2.5 years to clean cloth d’s. Works great. I use a pre-wash & sanitze cycle for the diapers w/ Biokleen & run a washer clean cycle occasionally too. No complaints here. We’ve never had an odor problem at all & are on baby #2 wearing the same diapers. We do have a bit of leakage & hard water, so I just ordered some Rockin Green- Hard to see if we can improve that. Otherwise my FL works great! Enjoy.

    Reply

  48. Theresa Says:

    I haven’t used a top loader to wash cloth diapers but I’ve never had a problem with my front loader. Once you get a good routine going it’s very easy!

    Reply

  49. boleyn Says:

    tfs

    Reply

  50. Stephanie R Says:

    I have a Whirpool Duet FL for 1 week and love how clean my diapers get. I do a rinse and spin only, then heavy duty (hot water and extra rinse are the presets). I don’t have to use an extra rinse after either. I use RnG to wash (low sudsing also) and vinegar as fabric softener.

    Reply

    • Kristin Says:

      How much Rocking Green do you use.. I have this same washer and I vary my washing routine cuase I just haven’t found what I like yet… it seems my MF inserts and the suedecloth pocket diapers are holding onto a lot of stinkies.. some poopy stinkies issues on the pocket diapers… all of my fitteds are just fine and never have issues…

      Reply

    • Andria Says:

      I like this tip about vinegar in the fabric softener compartment. That will help neutralize the stink too!
      A girlfriend on hard well water uses pool chemical litmus strips to check her diapers and then adds baking soda or vinegar to make them more neutral.

      Reply

    • Jana Says:

      I have what might be a dumb question…when do you put the vinegar in? At the same time as the detergent?

      Reply

      • Autumn Beck Says:

        In a FL there are compartments, so vinegar would go in the fabric softener one which is used during rinse. If you have hard water though watch out for using vinegar…I’ve discovered this causes more problems :(

        Reply

  51. cindi Says:

    humm….cleaning the rubber ring with a baby wipe. I hadn’t thought of that. Don’t have the pooh issue ;) but still have the hair issue and since you know me so well, you will remember that this triggers my gag reflex….aaaaach! :p

    To the store I go to buy wipes!

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I have been very grossed out by the things I’ve found.

      Reply

      • Tonia Says:

        The delivery guy that brought my front loader said not to pull on the ring and wipe it out too much because over time it wears and you have to pay $100-$200 for a replacment ring. I just make sure most “chunks” get in the toilet so I don’t have to worry about them ending up in the ring…nasty. Although, I do kind of pull back and just check to make sure no chunks are hangning around. I miss my top loader :-(

        Reply

        • Autumn Beck Says:

          I don’t pull it out (didn’t even know you could do that) I just rub a wipe around the groove.

          Reply

  52. Lori Says:

    I have a front loader. It does not work for cloth diapers. Even with alternative detergents. I followed all the rules and eventually I could not get them to quit stinking. No matter how many washes, rinses, etc. I just couldn’t get the stink out. It took about six months to build up the stink though. I bought a cheap front loader and hooked it up outside. One wash and the stink was gone. I wash the cloth diapers outside now. I hope it works out for you! Maybe washing in a top loader at a laundry mat or friend’s house once a month would help. I’m not sure but it sure didn’t work for me.

    Reply

    • Cloe Says:

      I understand about the stink! Have you tried stripping your CD’s with Calgon?

      Reply

    • Erin Says:

      Lori,
      I suggest using Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper Detergent. I have a front loader, I have never had problems with my diapers. However, many other ppl with stinky diapers have said that using the Rockin’ Green works great. With my front loader I do a hot/warm wash/rinse to start. I let it go all the way to the spin cycle, than I do a warm/cold wash with the detergent and some vinegar. Finally, if I am skeptical about any residue that may harm baby’s bum, I do an added wash/rinse of warm/cold. That might sound like over kill, I know, but I am new to the whole cloth diaper thing and just do all of that to protect baby’s bum. You can find Rockin’ Green on Facebook or google it. Good luck! :)

      Reply

  53. Apryl Says:

    Hi Autumn,

    I too have a front loader. Trying not to get discouraged, because the one thing my husband is leary about switching to cloth diapers is putting poop in the washing machine. Can u explain the rule about leaving the door open. I am new to this! Thanks!! Great blog. =)

    Reply

  54. Andrea Says:

    I hope that you continue to be free of problems with your FLer! I do think that the clean rinsing det. will help! Also Sunning helps keep away our stinkies as well. We have had the biggest issues durring the winter months when sunning isn’t an option. In WI i’m sure that time period lasts much longer than in TX! Glad you like your new washer and dryer!

    Reply

  55. sonja lange Says:

    Please keep us updated! I use a front loader and I agree that using the right soap is key, I use RnG and it has worked great for almost a year. My problem (I think) is the BacOut…if I don’t do an entire extra wash after my regular wash, my LO’s bottom is red and rashy.

    Reply

  56. Katie Says:

    What do you mean by the “rule” of leaving the door open all the time? I have a front loader and some diapers that don’t want to let go of their stink, so if there’s some piece of wisdom that’ll help me out, I want to know! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Andria Says:

      The Leaving the Door open is referring to when the machine isn’t being used. It helps it dry out because the seal is ‘so good!’ I started doing this after noticing moisture still in the machine a week later when I went to wash another load. Now and again, I’ll take the last diaper from a load and soak up the excess water at the bottom of the gasket to ‘dry it out’.
      Love my front loader and struggling with stink too. Watched a rinse cycle and still saw bubbles! Need even less detergent!

      Reply

  57. Shannon Ropp Says:

    Is there a reason you are using Clean B over Rockn Green? I have a front loading mashine also and hard water. I have not got to try the new Hard Rock detergent yet, I’m using Classic Rock. But am still not totally satisfied with my washing. We still have some stink issues (not as bad as before ). I can’t use bacout. when I used it once I even ran the diapers though an extra wash and they still gave my DD a bloody rash.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Shannon, I received Clean B from Melissa to try out and review. The scents have me hooked. My clothes smell amazing and my husband loves it too.

      Reply

  58. Agnes Says:

    How many diapers do you wash at a time and what cycle do you choose on your machine? Also, how much detergent do you add?
    I’m still trying to figure how to wash my daughter’s diapers a few months after purchasing a GE front loader :( It’s driving me insane that I don’t have the rinse only and extra water options.

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I usually have about 15 diapers in a load. I wash cold/cold heavy duty. Every couple of washes you may want to do a second wash cycle with hot water and no detergent (and maybe a little vinegar in the rinse).

      Reply

    • Jenna Says:

      Ive been going crazy with my front loader as well. I just figured out that if I do a 20 minute soak it adds a bunch of water and doesnt drain. I then start my wash cycle and theres seems to be plenty of water now. The stink issues seem so much better!

      Reply

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