I have taken such good care of my cloth diapers that they have lasted from my newborn son to now my newborn daughter-roughly over 2 and a half years of good use and still going.
What’s the secret? you may wonder.
The secret to keeping your cloth diapers in tip top shape is being conscious of what you do to them… and what you sometimes don’t do to them.
Here are 8 things that many new parents might not know about cloth diapering which may cause them to ruin long before it’s time to toss them out.
- Not stripping them. Over time your cloth diapers will build up ammonia from urine that gets trapped in your diaper covers and inserts. The classic way to find out if your diapers have ammonia build up is to smell them. Trust me, they will smell strong and putrid! To strip them, wash your diapers once in hot water with some Dawn dish detergent (the blue kind). Also, add up to a 1/2 cup of bleach in the wash cycle. This is key. Do a couple more hot water rinses with no detergent to completely rinse diapers clean.
- Not doing extra rinses. Most parents do not do extra rinse cycles. I personally do two! Why? Extra rinsing gets rid of the detergent from the wash since any leftover might clog your fabric which can cause leaking and bad smells. Also, a pre-rinse is a good idea to help sort of “clean” your diapers before you use detergent to clean them during the main wash.
- Using too much detergent. Too much of a good thing is never good and the same holds true when using detergent to wash your cloth diapers. If you use too much detergent, it will build up and clog the pores of your inserts which will lead to stinky build up and leakage. Not only that, it will kill the lifespan of your diapers! So use just enough to clean them.
- Using too little detergent. Just as using too much detergent can kill your cloth diapers so can using too little. How can you tell if you use too little detergent? Use the smell test! If they still smell like poo or pee, chances are that they are still dirty so try using a little bit more. I know you are probably wondering how much IS the right amount and to be honest that depends on many things such as what brand of detergent you are using, the brand of diaper, and how many diapers are in the load being washed at once time. This is just a trial and error situation where you will have to use different amounts to find the perfect amount for your load.
- Using fabric softener on your diapers. Fabric softener is always a HUGE no-no. It automatically clogs the pores of your diapers which will lead to leaking with next use. Also stay away from detergents with brighteners, fragrances, or any additives for that matter.
- Overdrying your diapers. Over drying your diapers can wear them down tremendously, especially the PUL liner inside the diaper cover itself. This leads to leaking! For the best results, hang dry your diapers and skip the dryer altogether or just use a gentle setting.
- Using straight bleach. Bleach is fine to use when you must strip your diapers, but some parents make the mistake of not diluting the bleach beforehand. Using straight bleach will eat away at the PUL lining in your diaper which will cause them to leak. It also hurts the fabric so always dilute with equal parts water if not MORE water.
- Using the Sanitizer cycle on your HE washer. The Sanitizer cycle on your washer is SUPER HOT. This will destroy the PUL lining inside your diaper cover so avoid this wash setting at all cost and just use HOT.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to ruin your diapers so you have got to be careful. However, don’t fret because most of these will become common sense to you as you get more comfortable with cloth diapering.