I use cloth diapers. I feel that using cloth diapers is the best decision for my children and the environment. The initial investment of cloth diapers can be high but it truly pays off in the long run. I have used many different cloth diapers and have found that Bum Genius one size with snaps are my favorite.
I have found a few things that will help to extend the life of cloth dipaers. Many of my diapers are actually on their second child!
1. Use the proper detergent. I use homemade laundry detergent. Make sure that your detergent is free of phosphates, enzymes and optical brighteners. Do not use bleach. Bleach can wear down the fibers in your diapers and can be harsh on your baby’s skin. If your diapers are showing stains sunshine works wonders!
2. If you use diaper creams or treatments place a barrier between the treatment and the diaper. For diaper rashes I typically use coconut oil or neem salve. If the rash is particularly bad I place some lansinoh lanolin on her bottom. When I do use a treatment I place a flushable diaper insert, I do not flush them, between her bottom and the diaper. The reason for this is because many diaper creams have ingredients that will break down the fibers of the diapers over time. The creams or treatments can cause issues with the absorbancy of the diapers.
3. Line dry your diapers. My husband installed a clothes line when we first bought cloth diapers. I now use if for most of our laundry. As I said before, the sun is great at removing stains!
If you do use the dryer. let the diapers cool before you stretch them.
4. Buy the cloth diapers with snaps! The first batch of diapers that I bought had the velcro hook and loop closure. They wear out, even if you line dry. I bought some with snaps and converted my velcro diapers to snaps. The process was lengthy but very well worth it!
5. Every few months I find it necessary to strip my cloth diapers. You will know when this is necessary because of the yucky ammonia smell that is present even after washing. Stripping cloth diapers removes the buildup of detergent, oils, or mineral build up from the water.
To strip your diapers you will need: vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, hot water, and sunshine. Soak the diapers in a bucket of really hot water, cup of white vinegar, cup of hydrogen peroxide, about 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak your diapers for an hour. Ring out your diapers and place them in your washing machine for an extended agitation cycle on hot with your safe detergent. I always include a second rinse. Hang out to dry in the sun. You now have super fresh smelling diapers!
I am so glad that we made the decision to use cloth diapers.
If you have any more tips for extending the life of cloth diapers I would love to hear them!!