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If you have an infant in your home, washing his cloth diapers and other clothes will become a part of your daily routine. Many parents choose to use reusable cloth diapers these days as they are eco-friendly and not expensive. But it is important that you wash these diapers properly to save your little one from any infection. So, here are some tips to wash your baby’s cloth diapers the right way.
Preparing Dirty Diapers Before Washing
If you are using washable cloth diapers for your baby, you will need to prepare the dirty diapers before washing them. First, dump the solid waste into the toilet and rinse out the diaper with a sprayer or under a tap. Next, put it into a wet diaper bag or pail and store it until there are enough diapers collected for a machine-wash cycle. You can also soak the dirty diapers in soapy water for an hour before washing. This helps in removing the stains.
Neutralizing Diaper Smell with Baking Soda and Vinegar
Dirty cloth diapers stored in a wet diaper bag can smell really bad. Here are some tips to neutralize the smell:
- You can store the diapers in a pail filled with water and mix a tablespoon of baking soda to get rid of that smell.
- You can also add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to prevent the foul smell.
- Make sure you empty this liquid into the toilet just before you wash the diapers.
- Add 1/2 cups of baking soda or 1 cup of white vinegar into your washing machine while washing the cloth diapers to get rid of the foul smell.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers
Here is how you can clean reusable diapers in a washing machine:
- Wash the dirty diapers separately. Do not mix them with your regular laundry.
- Check the washing instructions before washing the soiled diapers.
- Make sure you do not overload the washing machine. This will prevent the diapers from getting cleaned properly.
- Choose a good detergent. It should be mild, without any additives or strong fragrances. These can irritate your baby’s skin.
- You can add some baking soda or vinegar into the washing machine to eliminate the bad odour.
- Another alternative is to add a lid-full of an antiseptic liquid that is safe and gentle on your baby’s skin. These are commercially available and affordable.
- If the diapers are badly stained, soak them for a few hours in water mixed with a cup of oxy-bleach. This will not be too harsh on the baby’s skin and is effective for removing tough stains.
- Begin with a cold-wash and then do a normal wash and rinse in warm or hot water. However, the water should not be too hot as it can damage the cloth diapers.
- Ensure that the diapers are absolutely detergent-free after the rinse cycle. The diapers should smell fresh, once you take them out.
- If using a dryer, follow the drying instructions from the manufacturer for temperature settings.
- However, the best way to eliminate odour and bacteria is drying the cloth diapers on a clothesline in the sunlight.
Here are some tips to wash cloth diapers by hand:
- Empty the solids into the toilet and spray off whatever remains using a mini-shower, sprayer or faucet.
- Rinse off the dirty diapers under a tap and soak them in a bucket of cold water with mild detergent in it for an hour.
- You can add liquid antiseptic, vinegar, or baking soda to the water to eliminate odour and bacteria.
- Once the diapers are soaked, use a cloth brush to gently brush the inside portions that are soiled.
- Rinse the diapers until they are completely detergent-free.
- Dry them out on a clothesline in sunlight.
Drying the Diapers
Once the diapers are washed, you will need to dry them. Here are some tips for drying the washed cloth diapers:
- Check the drying instructions on the cloth diapers for temperature settings before using the dryer.
- The best way to destroy bacteria and get rid of the odour is to dry the cloth diapers on a clothesline in the sun. The sunlight also whitens the diapers. This is also an eco-friendly option.
- If the sunlight is too much, it can make the diapers stiff. Dry them out in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is a bit mild.
Mistakes to Avoid While Washing Cloth Diapers
Avoid making the following mistakes when washing cloth diapers:
- Do not put them in the washing machine without removing the solids.
- Avoid the used bleach, fabric conditioner, whitening agents, or strong detergents. They can cause the clothes to deteriorate and also irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
- Do not use dryer sheets if you are putting the diapers in a dryer. Dryer sheets can reduce the absorbing capacity of the cloth diapers, and they may contain chemicals that may give rashes to your baby.
- Do not dismiss sun-drying as an option. Drying the diapers in sunlight on a clothesline can reduce stains and odour and kill the bacteria.
- Make sure the diapers are rinsed well and do not have any soap residue left in them. This can cause rashes on the baby’s bottom.
- Do not overload the washing machine with too many clothes, as the diapers won’t get cleaned properly.
- Avoid mixing regular laundry loads with soiled cloth diapers. Wash the diapers separately.
What Product Should You Use
While selecting the products that you plan to use for washing the reusable cloth diapers, make sure you check the ingredients thoroughly. Choose a mild detergent that is free of strong fragrances. You can use baking soda, vinegar or antiseptic liquid along with the detergent to remove germs.
What Product Should You Avoid
Avoid detergents that contain harsh chemicals, dyes, enzymes, and lightening agents that can cause an allergic reaction on your baby’s skin. Avoid fabric softeners or conditioners as they can leave a residue in the cloth diapers that may irritate the baby’s skin. Avoid using strong bleach as this can damage the fibre in the cloth diapers.
How Often Should the Diapers Be Washed
The diapers should be washed every other day. On an average, a baby can go through 10 to 12 diapers a day in the first month. Babies between 2 and 5 months require changing around 8 to 10 diapers a day and babies between 6 and 12 months of age need at least 8 diapers per day. This means that it would be ideal to have between 20 and 24 cloth diapers in stock and wash them every alternate day.
Cloth diapers are beneficial for babies as they are gentle on the skin and allow the skin to breathe. They also reduce the occurrence of diaper rashes in babies. Washing reusable cloth diapers is very simple if you follow all the tips mentioned above. This will keep your baby’s skin healthy and save you a lot of money and are also environment-friendly.