Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laundry. Ugh.

Laundry. The bane of my existence...or is it? I can only remember one other time I ever enjoyed doing laundry in my life, aside from when I started cloth diapering, and that was when I was pregnant and I washed the boys laundry before they were born. Folding and hanging all their little jammies and outfits would bring tears to my eyes. Of course once they started needing 17 outfit changes a day and their cute little newborn clothes turned into mud-covered 3T jeans I loved it just a little less! Yesterday I did a load of pants in my washer. It had been 2.5 days since I did the last load and I swear there were no less than 15 pairs of pants for one family of 4. Is there some kind of laundry gnome that enjoys torturing me with hundreds of pounds of dirty clothing I have to sort, wash, dry and fold? If I ever get my hands on that little guy I swear I'll...
That brings me to my cloth diaper laundry. This is something that can be extremely intimidating to the non-clothdiaperer. It's just another one of the unknowns that can easily scare a person off. So today I'm going to show you my laundry routine for my diapers so you can see how simple it really is.
Let me start off by saying that I really do love doing my diaper laundry. I probably sound freakish but I look forward to Reagan using enough diapers so I can get a load together to wash. I get excited about dirty diapers (weird, right?).  I usually do a load a day, although I could easily go two days without washing. One important thing to understand about washing cloth diapers is that everyone has their own way of doing it. What works for me may not work for you and getting diapers clean takes a little experimenting to get it just right.
I keep my routine very basic and simple. When there is a wet diaper I pull the insert out of the pocket and toss both pieces into my laundry bag. When I have a poo diaper I dump the solids into the toilet, use the toilet sprayer if there's anything stuck on, pull out the insert and toss both pieces into the laundry bag. The main point here is that I don't toss whole diapers into the laundry bag without taking them apart. Digging through a bag of dirty diapers after they've been sitting for 24 hours trying to take them apart is gross. It takes 3 seconds to deal with at the time and things stay relatively clean.

Here's my system once I'm ready to wash:

I deliver my laundry bag to the laundry room (I normally keep it in the bathroom with the toilet sprayer), unzip the bottom and toss the whole thing into the washer.

I then run a "rinse and spin" cycle on my washer. It takes approx. 18 minutes. This will rinse out any leftover solids.

Once that cycle is complete I add my detergent. I use 1 heaping Tablespoon of Rockin' Green Classic Rock and nothing else (Do not use fabric softener. Do not use bleach.).

I have an HE front loading washer so I set my dial to the whites cycle with an extra rinse and let it roll.

Once everything is clean I prefer to hang them out to dry on my clothesline. My dogs enjoy this as well...

A little sun to bleach out any stains...

If you don't want to use a clothesline you don't have to. The inserts are fine to tumble dry in your clothes dryer on low, but I highly recommend not putting the outer part of the diaper in the dryer. Before I had my clothes line I would lay mine out on my stair banister overnight to dry.

Please note that the following may be over the top for some of you but I'm a very organized person so this is how I like to do my stuffin':
I use many different brands of diapers that all have their own inserts so I typically will sort them all out and then arrange my diapers so all I have to do is grab an insert and stuff it. I hate sorting through a laundry basket to find all the right parts that go together.

It took me a total of 4 minutes 10 seconds (I didn't rush, don't worry!) to stuff the inserts in and snap them closed (optional!) 

It may seem like a lot of work to some of you, but for me it's much easier than running out of diapers at 3  am, and I find it enjoyable and relaxing. There's something inside me that feels happy when I look out my window and see cloth diapers hanging on my clothesline. 

As I said before everyone has their own way of doing laundry so feel free to use this as an example or change it up however you feel is best for you. Different types of washing machines will require you to alter this slightly as well. If you already cloth diaper, how does your routine differ from mine? I'd love to hear your story! 


  1. Next to the changing table I keep a lidded trash can that serves as a diaper pail. If her diaper is soiled, all I have to do is take a half step into the bathroom to dump the solids into the toilet. Then into the pail it goes! When the pail is full, I grab the laundry hamper and diaper pail, and head for the laundry room. I toss the diapers in with some dye-free, perfume-free detergent, with an extra rinse, and let it do its thing. I just throw it all in the dryer (we only use dye-free, perfume-free detergents and softeners for all our laundry, so I don't worry about anything in there getting on them). An hour later, I have warm fluffy diapers to stuff, and cute little clothes to fold:) I love doing Ginny's laundry...probably too much. I have to catch up on my own!;)

  2. Basically the same routine that I follow ;) I find that I, like you, hate laundry normally, but really enjoy doing the fluffy laundry! I am so pleased that we chose to have fluffy bottoms in our family!

  3. I love the Step-by-step Instructions (complete with photos) on how to Launder Cloth Diapers. You should really consider doing a Class in your local area for Pregnant Women that are considering Cloth Diapering, but might be afraid (as I was) to give it a try. You could really help a ton of Moms-to-Be make the Leap to Cloth Diapering! :) ~Charrise

  4. Thanks for you comments ladies! Fluffy laundry is the best!
    @Charrise - I've been planning a local workshop in the Antelope Valley. I was hoping to do it in June! I just put up a poll on my personal Facebook page to see who would be interested in coming. I hope I have a lot of people who would like to attend!