Monday, September 26, 2011

Laundering Your Cloth Diapers

Laundering Your Cloth Diapers

With ever growing popularity among cloth diapering parents, I have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback that the Laundry Tarts All Natural Detergent has received. Cloth diapering parents deal with some of the worst laundry stains and smells. With only 1-2 tbsp of detergent, the Laundry Tarts will sweeten your foul load leaving them clean, bright, and stink free and won't leave unwanted residues that can hamper your cloth diapers' absorbency! That being said, even the most experienced cloth diapering parent may experience undesired results from their laundry. Common problems include a diaper's sudden loss of absorbency, the inability to wash away ammonia odors trapped between diaper fibers, or the diaper seems to develop a general dinginess that might stir up the question, "why did I decide to do this again"?

Fear not! There is always a solution. Here are a few tips to get the best results from your cloth diaper laundering and prevent future disasters!

1.       The number one laundry sin parents are guilty of is overloading their washing machine. The best front loaders can hold up to 18lbs of clothes, but every machine is different. No matter what style of laundry machine you have, always check the manufacturer's maximum load size to make sure that you aren't overloading your machine. With cloth diapers, you probably don't want to exceed 80% of the max capacity for several reasons.

·         If you exceed the max volume/weight capacity, there won't be enough water to wash the nitty gritty stuff out and away from your diapers.

·         If you exceed the max volume/weight capacity, there won't be enough water to wash and rinse the detergent out of your diapers.

·         If neither the urine/feces nor the detergent are being washed out of the diapers, you will have one heck of a stinky residue caked into/onto your diapers!!!

1.       So long as the manufacturer doesn't specify any contraindications, adding a ¼ – ½ cup of vinegar in the softener slot will improve the water's cleaning ability and it will combat those strong ammonia odours caused by urine trapped in between tight fibres. I do this with all of my laundry and I have noticed that it fibres as tough as denim seem to be coming out softer from the dryer.

1.       If you can, try to always do a rinse and spin with cold water prior to doing a washing cycle. If you can make the adjustment with your machine, try to get a low or medium spin. If managed to loosen particles during your rinse, a low spin will keep those same particles from mashing themselves right back into the fibres.

2.       High Efficiency laundry machines are amazingly efficient, but I find that there are a lot of HE machine owners who forget that one of the reasons they are so popular is that the phrase "Less is More" is critical to the objective of the machine. Less water, less electricity, and less detergent!!!
I myself have only recently scaled back to 1 tbsp per load because I was accustomed to using more in the standard washer. It's amazing how much better my laundry results have been. They are a lot brighter and softer! With cloth diapers, it's best not to exceed 1 tbsp of Laundry Tarts. I recently had a client tell me she was able to clean 18 diapers with only 1 tbsp!!!

3.       HE laundry machines are not always friendly with powdered detergents. If you have reduced the amount of detergent you are using, and you find that the detergent still isn't completely dissolving, add a ½ cup of warm water to the detergent and let it sit for a minute.

4.       HE machines require maintenance on a bi-monthly basis. Manufacturers recommend running a self clean cycle with a cup of bleach (although using vinegar is just as efficient).This is meant to help breakdown residues that may build up in your machine. Your model may also feature a trap somewhere along the bottom of your machine where debris from pockets detergent and dirt residues will build up. This trap must be cleared out regularly as it can clog and backup much like a sink or a toilet. If it does, dirty water/residues will float back into the machine and onto your clothes/diapers.

Tanja Warren

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