Tag Archives: cloth diaper

flip Disposable Inserts – Restocked!

The popular flip disposable diaper inserts have now been re-stocked.

You can use disposable inserts in your cloth diapers easily! They are great if you are on a trip, or if you prefer not using cloth when you are out and about (but trust us, cloth diapering on the go is really easy so long as you have some wet bags)!

These rectangular shaped inserts feature a lower SAP rating, meaning that they are more environmentally friendly. And you can use a flip cover, or any other cloth diaper cover, as a waterproof barrier with them.

Happy Diapering!

Cloth Diaper Spotlight: Sometimes Simple is Beautiful {Prefolds}

snappibabyLast month, we asked our Parent Review Panel to get cozy with prefolds.  Many people love prefolds, but many shy away from them perceiving them to be difficult, messy or slow to get on a fast moving baby.  After hearing from our Parent Review Panel on Facebook and some of their responses and observations about prefolds, we hope that you now have a different view of these simple beauties!

What are prefolds you ask?  Here is the short & sweet 411.

  1. Prefolds are made from several layers of unbleached organic cotton twill.  They are sewn into rectangles which have three panels – a thicker panel down the middle and thinner panels on the edges.  They are flat so often folks want to know what’s up with the “pre-folded” name?  Those panels, they are pre-folded for you into thinner and thicker sections.  That’s the pre-folded part.
  2. They are very versatile and to some this can be overwhelming – too many options can cause fear.  We teach parents how to use prefolds at our Cloth Diaper Workshops Snappi them on or Fold & Lay.  Simple, simple, simple.  The Snappi Method requires a bit of practice at the outset but the fold and lay system is very easy and fast.  To get a good visual of how it all works, check out our tutorial in our Video Learning Series.

Based on our experiences as parents and “Diaper Therapists”, these are some recommendations about prefolds:

  • Newborn prefolds are tiny.  They don’t often Snappi on well as they are too small but they are great for keeping a trim bottom and fit perfectly under the newborn Super Brites.  Once they are outgrown, they can be used as extra absorbency inside of infant or baby sized prefolds or if you want to upcycle them into another use all together, the owner at Bummis told us they make great pads for moms going the reusable menstrual pad route.
  • For younger babies with runny poop, parents often love Snappi’ing them on.  These babies are often not yet mobile and are patient with parents as they get on their Snappi Groove.
  • For the ultimate in ease, the fold & lay method wins for older babies that have less runny poop and are on the go.
  • For younger babies we recommend having 3-4 covers per day, more with the fold & lay method, less with the Snappi method.
  • For older babies, we recommend having 2 covers per day.

Here is a picture tutorial on how to fold prefolds in many different ways addressing different wetting and functional needs of babies.

It seems that everyone is decluttering, downsizing, simplifying.  Why not try the same with your diapering collection.  Start or boost your collection with prefolds – they are beautifully functional and wonderfully inexpensive.

Check out Newborn, Infant or Baby Prefolds now.

Check out the infamous Snappi Cloth Diaper Fastener now.

Cloth Diapers Under the Tree? You Betcha!

christmastreeGift-giving can be one of the joys of the Christmas holiday and it’s always fun to discover just the right gift for a friend or family member.

In that spirit, we have put together a gift guide with a few ideas for the people on your list.

If you know soon-to-be new parents, parents of young children, or are a parent yourself, be sure to check out our list.

There’s something for everyone and for every budget!

We here at New & Green wish you and your families all the best during this holiday season.

 

Parent Favorites

 

easyfit

EasyFit All-in-Ones (+TiniFits for your favorite newborn!)

EasyFits are one of the perennial favorites among New & Green parents and the highest rated by parent reviews on our website. They offer a great fit, good absorbancy (bamboo and microfibre together make a thirsty combo!), stunning colours made from Oeko-Tex certified dyes, and high quality hook-and-loop closures. They’re also made by Tots Bots, a Scottish company that makes every effort for ethical and sustainable production methods.

 

bamboozle

Stretch Bamboozle Fitted Bamboo Diaper

The Bamboozle is touted among parents as one of the most absorbent diapers available and is popular especially for naptimes and nighttime. It’s also popular among parents who want natural fibres against their baby’s skin. Bamboo is a sustainable fibre and scrumptiously soft!

flip

The FLIP Diaper

The Flip is a popular option merely due to the variety of ways in which you can use it, as well as it’s a simple, no-fuss, well-fitting cover for babies of every shape and size. You get to choose either an organic cotton or microfibre insert or purchase it alone to use as a standard cover for other fitted diapers and prefolds.

ampdiaper

AMP Duo Pocket Diaper

The AMP Duo is manufactured in Winnipeg by a conscientious mom-run business. This pocket in particular is popular because of its high quality and its superb fit on both lean and chubby babies. The diaper is available in a small size for newborns up to 15 lbs and a one-size option for larger babies.

 

jules

BumGenius One Size 4.0

BumGenius diapers are one of the most recognized and well-loved diapers on the market today. These one-size pocket diapers come stocked with an adjustable full-size insert as well as a newborn insert that also doubles as a doubler to increase absorbancy for car trips, nap times, and nighttime usage. You can now also choose either a velcro closure or snaps, depending on your preference and what works best for your family. The stretch-to-fit tabs help ensure a great fit every time and the diaper can be used from 8-35 lbs.

 

aristocrats

Aristocrats Wool Covers

Wool covers are hailed as a wonder-cover for babies who struggle with diaper rash, for parents who want to use natural fibres, and for babies who need help sleeping through the night. (The breathability of wool allows moisture to evaporate off the baby’s skin as they sleep, thus not waking them due to the sensation of being wet.) Aristocrats covers are manufactured here in BC and so also satisfy parents wanting to buy local!

 

Great Options for Getting Started

 

prefold

Bummis Organic Cotton Prefold Kit

This diapering-kit-in-a-box provides parents all the basics needed to get started with cloth diapering. The kit includes 24 organic cotton prefolds, 6 covers, 3 rolls of Bio-Soft liners, 5 reusable stay-dry liners, and 1 large wet bag. That’s enough diapers for at least two full days of diapering!

Prefolds are a very easy and practical way to get started with cloth and are especially popular among parents who are budget-savvy.

 

wetbag

Large Fabulous Storage and Wet Bags

These brightly colored pail liners and tote-able wetbags will cheerfully hold several days of dirty diapers. They’re an essential part of setting up your diaper pail system and a must-have item for parents who are just getting started.

 

rockingreen

Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent

Rockin’ Green has revolutionized cloth diaper laundry and makes the chore… dare we say, an utter delight. It gets diapers truly clean while leaving no residue, it’s eco-friendly, and you have your choice of a number of yummy scents that don’t linger on the diapers. For parents who are just getting started, this detergent will help make the new routine downright enjoyable.

 

tankini

Bummis Tankinis

These oh-so-cute tankinis are perfect for your pool-side babe. They are designed to be paired with the ever-popular Swimmi swim diaper, and even if you don’t cloth diaper, this is a great way to be both sustainable and chic at the swimming pool all year round.

 

Great Options for Newborns

 

newbornpack

Bummis Organic Cotton Newborn Pack

Nothing fits quite as well as a diaper that is designed specifically with the newborn in mind – both for fit and for comfort. This pack bridges the gap between birth and one-size or small size diapers and parents have raved about difference it makes. The pack includes 1-dozen soft organic cotton prefolds and two perfect-size covers – enough for one day’s worth of diapering. This combo is one of the most cost effective ways of managing the early days when you are changing a lot of diapers!

 

kissaluvs

Kissaluvs+ Newborn Pack

Everything you need to get started from Day 1!

This package features literally everything you need to cloth diaper your newborn starting from Day 1 and features some of the best products on the market for quality, fit, and chic-cuteness. The pack even includes wipes, storage bags, and detergent! Talk about getting everything you need in one convenient package…

cjs

CJ’s BUTTer Spritz

Your baby’s poo in the first few weeks can get a little…. well, sticky, and this bum spray is a great way to keep your baby’s cheeks fresh and well-cleaned!

 

infantkit

BeautifulBASIC Infant Starter Kit

This box is a great way for parents to try out prefolds without investing in large quantities of diapers. The kit includes three organic cotton prefolds and one wrap cover – just tri-fold the prefold and lay it in the cover and voila! you have a lovely, absorbent diaper ready to go.

 

kissaluv

Kissaluvs Size 0 Cotton Sherpa Fitted Diaper

These tiny diapers are possibly the most popular diapers among parents who are cloth diapering newborns, as they keep all those newborn messes exactly where they should be. They feature a snap-down front to go around the umbilical stump and snug-but-comfy elastic around the back and legs to ensure a great fit.

 

Great Options for Toddlers

 

pottypant

Bummis Training Pants

Cloth trainers catch the dribbles and little messes that are inevitable while potty training, they help provide feedback to the child who is learning about wet and dry sensations, and they save parents money! Bummis pants in particular are easy for the child to pull up and down and offer a secure, comfortable fit.

 

fliptrainer

Flip Potty Trainer Package

Flip Potty Trainers are a unique pull-up, pull-down, snap-off, one-size potty training system made with replaceable one-size pads. Each limited edition Flip Potty Training Kit includes a one-size cover, in your choice of color, along with three one-size organic inserts. The replaceable, removable Flip™ inner pad made with ultra-absorbent organic cotton allows wet accidents to be changed without a whole new trainer, this feature is unique to Flip Trainers and translates into significant savings.

Must-Have Diapering Accessories (aka Fabulous Stocking Stuffers)

 

bumbalm

Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm Organic Diapering Salve

This fabulous diaper salve is hand-made right here in BC! Each batch is lovingly made with the highest quality, organic ingredients. This is a zinc-free diaper salve that uses naturals to gently soothe and heal your little one’s skin. It smells great too! We know toddlers who love it so much that they pack it themselves in the diaper bag…

 

organicwipes

Kissaluvs Premium Organic Cloth Wipes

Irresistible fashion prints in the softest flannel on one side and a sumptuous organic cotton velour on the other make these wipes Hip, Green and Gorgeous. Choose from a dreamy Mermaid, a yummy Two Scoops or a mod Lots of Dots.

 

whisperwrap

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap Covers

These covers in delightful prints have been popular among cloth diapering parents for several years running. They offer a great fit, high quality construction, and cover any fitted or prefold diaper. Very useful and multi-functional.

 

snappi-diaper-fastener-colors-250

Snappi Diaper Fasteners

Snappis are an ingenious little invention that make diaper pins obsolete. They come in a variety of colors and are made from a stretchable non-toxic material, which is T-shaped with grips on each end. These grips hook into the diaper fabric to ensure a snug-fitting diaper with enough natural movement for the baby. Pick up several to give to all your cloth diapering friends!

 

planetwise

Planet Wise Wet Bags

These zippered, toss-n’-go wet bags make going out with cloth diapers easy in a variety of sizes and prints. (They’re great for daycare or the swimming pool too!) The small size holds 2-4 dirty diapers and the medium one holds 4-6 dirties. These make great stocking stuffers because even if you already have a stash of wetbags, these repurpose well for carrying cosmetics, as gym bags, for travel, and so much more!

 

logo

New & Green Gift Certificates

Still don’t know what to get that special someone or just aren’t sure what would be most helpful for those soon-to-be new parents? New & Green has gift certificates available in any denomination!

 

 

 

Photo Credit – Wikipedia Commons

A Rash of Issues: Not So With These 6 Tips

Waaah!Occasional diaper rash is a normal occurrence for babies. When those sweet baby cheeks are inside of a diaper 24/7 for upwards of two-and-a-half years, you are bound to have a rash every now and again.

Some common reasons for rashes:

  • Staying in a wet or dirty diaper too long
  • Change in Mama’s diet (for nursing babies)
  • Change in baby’s diet (watch food introductions)
  • Teething
  • Sensitivity to detergent and/or buildup of detergent in diaper fabric

So with that in mind, here are six tips for preventing a rash or decreasing the incidence of rashes:

Give your baby diaper-free time every day.

Allow your baby’s skin to air out at least once a day for more than 10 minutes and preferably, expose the skin to sunshine. Rashes only flare up and proliferate in dark, humid, acidic environments – air and sunshine are the perfect antidote.

Cleanse your baby’s diaper area with just warm water and a cloth.

Make sure you wipe your baby’s bum at every diaper change, even if the diaper was only wet. While the urine itself on the skin will evaporate, irritating uric acid crystals will be left behind. By just wiping the skin clean with a cloth wipe and warm water, you’ll get rid of any residues, leaving your baby’s skin soft and irritant-free.

Make sure your baby’s diaper area is dry before you put on a fresh diaper.

Closing up wet skin in a watertight environment can be a recipe for a rash, so let the skin dry before you put on the new diaper.

These couple of extra minutes can be a really enjoyable bonding time between parent and child – often times newborns and young babies are alert at diaper change time and that’s when they’re cooing and looking around. Older babies sometimes love the routines that are associated with diaper change time – it’s the time when they get to play with a special toy or have a “conversation” with Mommy or Daddy. The minute or two that it takes for the skin to dry can become a lovely interactive time.

Change your baby often.

Leaving a wet or poopy diaper next to the skin for a prolonged period of time is a sure way to set off a rash. Although “prolonged” is relative – some sensitive-skin babies react to the presence of uric acid within minutes while others could go significantly longer before complaining. Regardless of length of time, however, the skin will flare up under these conditions, so it’s definitely in the best interest of both you and your baby to change the diaper as soon as possible once it’s soiled.

Create a stay dry layer.

If your baby seems especially sensitive to wetness, using a non-absorbent layer between your baby’s skin and the wet diaper can be a great way to minimize the skin’s exposure to all that dampness. Either choose a diaper that has fleece right next to the skin, such a pocket diaper, or add a stay dry layer by laying a liner in any diaper you use – fleece and raw silk are the most popular in this case.

Use wool.

If your baby is suffering from a rash and needs healing or in order to prevent a rash when your baby has to stay in his or her diaper for an extended period of time (ie nighttime), consider using a wool cover like the sloomb Knit Wool Covers. Wool offers the best breathability and allows moisture on the skin to evaporate, even when up against a wet diaper. We’ve heard it from parents again and again (and experienced it ourselves) – switching to a wool cover is the fastest, surest way to zap a rash when it starts.

Here’s to healthy, happy babies (and to all you mamas and papas who love them so well!).

~Photo Credit to Kyle Flood

Laundry Science: Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold – The Role of Water Temperature

hotcoldIf the topic of laundry fascinates you as much as it does us, make sure you check out our other Laundry Science posts!

C’mon, Baby, Do the Swish
Water Quality – Soft, Hard, or Somewhere In Between
Length of the Wash Cycle (Sometimes a Quickie Isn’t Enough)
The Role of Water in Washing Cloth Diapers

Today’s post in our Laundry Science series is about the temperature of your wash water.

Some may argue that cold water is best for environmental reasons, while others declare that hot water is required for diapers. And a common question at our Cloth Diapering 101 workshops is whether or not it’s required to use the extra-hot sanitizing cycle for diapers. What’s the real scoop? How does temperature affect the cleanliness of the load – and getting out stains?

First off, we should make sure we’re all familiar with the basic wash routine for cloth diapers – a rinse on cold, wash on hot, and rinse on cold. (We know, we know – for most readers, this is de rigueur, but we just like to make sure everyone’s on the same page…. 🙂 )

Of the three temperature settings available on most washing machines – cold, warm, and hot – each has its particular role and effect on your diapers. For example, cold is great for just getting plenty of water through your diapers while offering good environmental and budgetary savings, but if you’re wanting to get a fresh batch of stains out, you might want to change the first rinse to warm. Why? Because it’s recommended to remove a stain at the same temperature at which it was set, so for ice cream stains on a shirt, you’d want to use a cold rinse, but for diapers, you’d want to use warm, since they were created at body temp!

Also, keep in mind the temperature at which your water heater is set, as your hot wash will be at that temperature. (Although also keep in mind that the water may come out 2-4° Celsius cooler than what your water heater dial says, depending on how much pipe the water has to go through in its travel between the water heater and the washing machine.) Many detergents activate most efficiently between 55-60° C (130°-140°F), including Rockin’ Green, which is also the range at which most bacterias are killed, which is why it’s recommended to use a hot wash to clean your diapers.

But what about the sanitize cycle, which super-heats the water above 65°C (150°F)?  There are a few factors that come into play here. One, this high temperature tends to weaken synthetic fabrics, including PUL and elastics, so it’s definitely not recommended on a regular basis and may even void your warranty. (Check out the BumGenius site as an example.) It also adds a significant amount to your energy usage for washing diapers, which adds up on your monthly bill.

The only time we recommend a one-time extra-hot sanitize wash is if your child has had a serious bacterial diarrheal illness, such as rotavirus, or a severe, prolonged yeast infection. Even then, check with the manufacturers of your diapers before you do a super-hot wash if you’re worried about your warranty, as there are other ways to deal with lingering spores as well.

If you’re interested in finding the right balance between getting a good hot wash and not scalding yourself (and your children) at the sink, check out these tips from the City of Vancouver and BCHydro for saving money and making your heater more efficient.

Photo Credit – HunterxColleen

Cloth Diapering Milestones: When to Move Up a Snap Setting on Your One-Size Diapers

 

As your baby moves from those tiny infant days to the big run-around toddler days, different size cloth diapers take care of all your cloth diapering needs. If you’ve chosen to use one-size diapers,  obviously you’ll need to decide when to change the snap settings to get the best sizing at every step of the way. If you’re at one of times, congratulations on this milestone in your baby’s growth!

Here are few things to watch out for to know it’s time to change to the next snap setting:

When the rise falls below the top of the hips, you know the diaper no longer comes up high enough to provide adequate coverage on the front of the diaper. The “rise” is the height of the diaper in the front – this often indicates the the back of the diaper is a bit short as well, so it’s definitely helpful to extend the rise at this point by moving up one snap setting.

When the leg openings become tight, that can also be an indication that the diaper is on the small side. Leg openings should be somewhat snug in order to keep messes where they belong, but if you can no longer fit one finger in between the leg elastic and your baby’s leg or if the elastic is leaving significant indentations in your baby’s skin, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

It should be noted, however, that tight leg openings can occur for other reasons, as well, so you should check out other fit issues before changing your snap settings. If you have a wonderfully chubby baby, the legs will probably become tight before the rise becomes too short, while if you have a long legged, lanky babe, the leg openings may never become too tight before it’s time to switch. Tight leg openings are merely a companion symptom. (Leg openings should never gap, however, so look for a different culprit if changing the snap setting results in gaps around

the legs!)

However, if the diaper is tight around the waist and difficult to get on, that’s a good sign that your baby is ready to move to the next snap setting.

bumgeniusonesize

bumGenius One-Size Guide

If pee regularly starts leaking over the top of the diaper, regardless of the rise, it may be time to change the snap setting. This can be due to a boy who tends to point upward or a girl who sleeps on her front – however, before you decide that changing snap settings is the best way to solve this problem, consider doing some “problem solving” by making sure to tuck your boy downward when you change him or by adding extra absorbancy to the front of your girl’s diaper.

The makers of BumGenius, one of the most popular one-size diapers on the market today, offer a helpful comment to keep in mind as well:
Remember, babies change shape frequently as they grow up. You may have times when your relatively young baby is using their one-size diapers on the largest setting. The same child may be on the medium setting several months later due to increased mobility.

FuzziBunz One-Size Guide

Also, one extra note for those of you who use Fuzzi Bunz One-Size diapers:

Even though Fuzzi Bunz’s version of the one-size diaper uses elastic instead of snaps to change sizing, these guidelines still apply. However, the elastics allow more settings than snaps do, so you may choose to adjust them more or less often, according to what works best for you and your child. If you ever find yourself trying to find the “right” adjustment for your child, use this handy chart to find suggestions that may work for you.

Here’s the best to all you fantastic mamas as your child grows and hits many milestones in the first few years of life!

Laundry Science: Length of the Wash Cycle (Sometimes a Quickie Isn’t Enough)

eggtimerIn our on-going laundry science series here at the N&G blog, we’ve looked at “the swish factor,” water quality, and how important it is to use plenty of water, but does it matter how long your wash cycle is?

Absolutely.

As you’ll remember from our discussion about why using plenty of water is important, part of what makes washing diapers different than washing any other type of laundry is that most of the dirtiness is on the inside, rather than just sitting on the surface. Obviously, it’s going to take extra time to get all that water through the diaper rather than just dealing with the dirt and grime on the surface.

Let’s take a look at the washing routine recommended by many diaper manufacturers and then discuss why they even make these recommendations:
*Rinse on cold
*Long wash on warm or hot
*Double rinse

Why Take the Time?

“Rinse on cold” – You need to have sufficient time to loosen and drain away any lingering nasties – you know, like the uric acid that’s been sitting on the diaper for two days and those little pieces of poo that remain after dumping the solids in the toilet. It’s sort of the same reason as why you scrape your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher – the more gunk the washer has to deal with, the more cycles you’re going to have to do in order to get them truly clean.

“Long wash on warm or hot” – You need time to activate and fully dissolve the detergent and give it time to do its work. Different detergents require different amounts of time to become fully activated. The length of time required for this will depend on the type of detergent, the temperature of your water, the amount of water, as well as the water quality.  Once it’s fully activated and doing its work, it needs sufficient time to fully bond with the grime so the grime can be lifted from the fabric and washed away.

“Double rinse” – You need to allow time for the detergent to be completely washed away too. If you skip this part of the cycle, it’s easy for detergent residue to be left on your lovely fluffy fibres, which can cause leaks, diaper rash, and possibly even extra-stinky diapers because of a chemical reaction that happens when urine hits that detergent residue the next time the diaper is used.

These recommendations certainly apply no matter what type of washing machine you have, but they are even more important if you have an HE machine. Since you have to trick your machine into using enough water and there’s not much swish to have sufficient cleaning action, allowing enough time is absolutely crucial.

And of course, when you’re done washing, you’ve got lots of options for drying your diapershanging them on a line, drying them on a rack, or tossing them in the dryer. Just like the wash needs plenty of time to restore them to their glorious fluffy state, we hope whatever method you use to dry them will give YOU plenty of time to rejuvenate yourself as well!

Almost 1100 days – Changing Cloth Diapers

greatdiaperchallenge

April 23, 2011 Great Diaper Challenge

Parents all over the city, the province, the country, heck – the world are changing diapers.  And at an average (western) toilet training age of about three, this means parents are spending almost 1,100 consecutive days changing diapers and wiping bums.  For some parents, a chunk of those days are spent running to the store to buy more diapers that will end up in a landfill.  But for more than 5,000 parents on April 23rd, 2011, about a third of those days are spent washing diapers and re-using them; not tossing them!

Two months ago today, the very first Guinness World Record was set for the greatest number of babies changed into a cloth diaper at the same time.  5,026 parents from 127 locations in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, and Germany set forth to demonstrate that cloth diapering was a modern, effective and responsible choice.

In North Vancouver at Notable Kids Kindermusik studio, we sang, played, laughed and changed diapers together on the morning of the 23rd of April.  29 families demonstrated their committement to a more sustainable diapering choice for their families and we are all better off for that choice.

To each and every one of you, thank you.  It has always been and will continue to be my goal that New & Green not only provide the diapers to change but provides the information and support to change minds about the way we change diapers.

Take a peek at the official record and then pop over to facebook to have a look at the lovely little ones (and their parents) during the event.

With happy memories and a record to break next year,

Karen

Laundry Science: Diving in Deep – The Role of Water in Washing Cloth Diapers

babylaundryWhether you have a top-loading, agitator machine or a front-loading, high-efficiency machine, how much water you use is critical is cleaning your diapers thoroughly.

Partially because diapers are thicker than many other types of wash, partially because you’re specifically trying to get the “dirty” out of the middle rather than just the surface, and partially because the ammonia from urine is particularly good at clinging to fabric fibres, water is the only way to thoroughly and efficiently clean your diapers through and through.

In a standard agitator machine, the level of water is easy to determine, as the machine is designed to fill with water to your predetermined level. It’s important to have enough water to cover the diapers fully without filling so much that the diapers float about like objects in space – the diapers need to be able to rub against each other in the wash action and if there’s too much water, they sort of just float past each other. This is referred to as The Swish Factor.

In a high-efficiency washer, the amount of water is equally important, but more difficult to gauge merely because HE washers are designed to reduce the amount of water to just enough to saturate the fabrics. To make up for the lack of swish, the engineers extended the wash time (which is why loads in HE washers take f-o-r-e-v-e-r), which works well for most loads where the soil is on the surface of the fabrics, but not so great for diapers.

For diapers, an extended wash time alone just isn’t enough to get diapers squeaky clean – you still need as much water as possible in the drum. So, you basically just have to trick your washer into adding as much water as possible. Depending on your model, you can do a “rinse and spin” cycle with the spin cycle off or select the “prewash” setting. You can also add a wet towel or a pair of jeans to the load, as this will make the load heavier (the amount of water added to the drum is calculated by weight).

You can also find a handy listing of specific HE models and wash recommendations at the Rockin’ Green website – they are known as the Laundry Gurus for good reason!

What has worked especially well for you in making sure you’ve got enough water in your load?

Photo credit Ilya Haykinson

Laundry Science: C’mon, Baby, Do the Swish

Berlin, Deutschlandtreffen, tanzende JugendlicheHere at New & Green, we love diapers. This also tends to mean we love laundry. Not that it’s always been that way, but there’s something about clean cloth diapers freshly dried that is so… well, yummy-smelling and satisfying.

But if you’re battling diapers that don’t come out so fresh, that’s not so fun. In our new “Laundry Science” series, we’ll tackle various aspects of what laundry scientists think about when they’re designing detergents and machines designed to get your fibres clean.

Today, let’s talk about swish.

The lovely ladies over at the Rockin’ Green blog describe swish this way: “Swish or agitation is a very important component of any good wash routine. The diapers need to not only move around in the wash tub, but they also need to rub up against one another.  Think of how you wash your hands – do you run them under water to get lather, or do you rub your hands together?
With too many diapers in a load, they just rotate around the tub in a bunch. Not enough diapers and they swim around the wash basin blissfully (and dirtily) unaware of their neighbors. So if you have a top loader, load the machine to about the halfway point. For a front loader, you want to have enough items in the drum to where you can put a hands width between the top of the drum and the clothing.”

And don’t worry about this wearing out your diapers – they were designed to rub together in the wash. In fact, it actually “fluffs” them a bit, which makes sure excess oils that affect absorbency are removed, it creates more space between the fibres, which also increases absorbency, and it softens them.

So, now – here’s a bit of homework – next time you do your diaper laundry, look in the wash basin while everything is getting washed and see how all the fabrics interplay. We bet your next load will be extra fresh and clean.

Photo credit Christa Hochneder

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Over the past year, I have answered several thousand questions about washing cloth diapers. The funny thing is a portion of those emails aren’t even about our cloth diaper detergent. Many moms come to us asking for help with the detergent that they have on hand, and we are more than happy to help whenever possible. More babies in cloth is good for everyone! The most common question I get asked is about the “perfect” cloth diaper wash routine.
It seems like everyone has a “perfect” routine. They have a “tried and true” method on what works for them, and they are eager to share it with others. Unfortunately, as many of you have found out, what works for one person won’t work for another.  This can make a seemingly simple process very complicated!
But here at Rockin’ Green, we think of washing diapers as a math problem: 1 + 1 + 1+ 1+ 1 =5.

There are 5 variables that come into play in the wash cycle, and once you understand these variables, you can adjust accordingly to get the best results possible. Sometimes there are things that you just can’t change, so you have to work around them.

waterVariable #1: Your water.

This is something that we talk about A LOT at Rockin’ Green, and for good reason. Water is the first and the most important thing that goes into your washing machine. It dilutes and carries away soils, and allows the detergent to do its job. But tap water is never pure. It contains impurities like minerals that can bind with detergent, and actually make it more difficult to get a good clean. This is one of those variables that you don’t have much control over (unless you invest money in a water softener), so your best plan of attack is to know what you are working with and compensate for it with the other variables like detergent.

Variable # 2 The Swish.

washing-machineI recently had a customer who was battling the dreaded stink, and couldn’t for the life of her figure out why she had such trouble getting her diapers clean. Her wash routine sounded fine, she washed a small load every night, but still the stink endured. Then one day she got backed up on laundry and ended up doing 2 days worth of diapers instead of her usual one. And the diapers came out much better. She learned an important lesson about the power of the “swish”.  Swish or agitation is a very important component of any good wash routine. The diapers need to not only move around in the wash tub, but they also need to rub up against one another.  Think of how you wash your hands- do you run them under water to get lather, or do you rub your hands together?
With too many diapers in a load, they just rotate around the tub in a bunch. Not enough diapers and they swim around the wash basin blissfully (and dirtily) unaware of their neighbors. So if you have a top loader, load the machine to about the halfway point. For a front loader, you want to have enough items in the drum to where you can put a hands width between the top of the drum and the clothing.

Variable # 3 Temperature

thermometerMost machines have 3 settings. Cold, warm or hot….and as cloth diapering guru’s you should be pretty familiar with the basic cloth diaper wash routine. Do a rinse on cold, a wash on hot, and then another rinse on cold, but there are some variables even in that. First off, what is your water heater set at? This can have a direct effect on how clean your diapers are. Most bacteria die when the water reaches a temp of 130-140 degrees (and many detergent ingredients react faster in this temp range), so an adjustment in your water heater can make a big difference. Most diaper manufacturers warn against temps of 150 and over when PUL is involved, so keep your water heater set at around 130 for day to day washings. Note: It will usually come out of the tap about 10 degrees cooler
Disclaimer: Always check with your diaper manufacturer regarding recommended wash procedure and temperature thresholds, especially when PUL is involved.

Temperature can also play a part when it comes to stains. Did you know that the best way to treat a stain is by rinsing it out at the same temperature that the stain was created? So leave the cold rinsing for ice cream stains, and move the dial to warm for poop stains. They were created at 98.6 after all!

Variable #4 Time fixes all

“Rock a Soak” has become a common cloth diapering term, and there is some science behind it. The amount of time that your diapers are in the wash will also help determine your outcome. The chemicals in your detergent have different reaction times that can be affected by things like temperature and water quality, so you may find that a longer wash cycle in some cases gets you better results, because it allows the detergent to actually do its job as opposed to being flushed down the drain. If you have really hard water, or a water heater that isn’t up to par….you can lengthen your wash cycle to compensate. Note: this is why front loader cycles take FOREVER because they have to make up for the lack of swish.

Variable #5 Detergent (You didn’t think we would forget that did you?)

photoAs a detergent manufacturer you would think that we would place this at the top of the list, but that just isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Rockin’ Green cloth diaper detergent rocks – but its one piece of the puzzle. Within that black and green bag, you have the tools to overcome things like poor water quality and hardness (which is why we have 3 different formulas based on your water type), but you have to find the sweet spot there too. Generally speaking you want to start off with 1-3 tbs, but you may adjust up or down depending on the other 4 variables.
Another tip: when it comes time to add the soap, try dropping down the water level in your machine.  This will increase the concentration of soap and the swish!  So in your initial and post rinses, you want to keep the water level high but in your hot wash with the soap try dropping it down to a medium water level. This should give you a better clean!

Ok….so seriously, just tell me what a “perfect” routine is already Kim!

By now, you probably know that there is no perfect routine. The key to finding the sweet spot is to look at every piece of the puzzle, and then adjust as needed. You may need to add a little more soap to make up for an overstuffed washer, crank up your water heater to make up for a lack of swish in your front loader, or lengthen the time your diapers spend in the washer to make up for hard water. And the list goes on and on….
I hope this helps some of you struggling with finding the “perfect” wash routine! Check us out at www.RockinGreenSoap.com for more wash tips and tools.

And be on the lookout for Funk Rock- Ammonia Buster – Coming Soon!

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48 Responses to “How to Wash Cloth Diapers”

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this! I always read your answers to washing problems but now that I know all the variables we can intelligently make changes! We are not using Hard Rock and should be and we don’t fill the front loader enough– we wash 8 diapers every night. We thought we were preventing stink doing that but maybe doing a load every other day will help!

  2. Monica says:

    Ooh Funk Rock… sounds like something I need! How soon is it coming?? I’m having stinky ammonia issues!

  3. Maria says:

    That’s the most common suggestion I get and I say pretty much the same things you do, LOL! I wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer!

  4. Missy says:

    Thank you for posting this. I have messed with a couple of different variables trying to figure it out, but there are a couple I missed.

  5. marie says:

    thank you! i’m having so much trouble finding the right wash routine with my front loader. this will help me tremendously!

  6. Emily says:

    Ooooooh, Funk Rock!!! I’ll be trying that out as soon as it’s available.

  7. Arice says:

    I really thought this was a personal note for me. I have been struggling with my new- not so new- front loader which we have had since Aug and still not getting it right. I am back to Motley Crue but thinking I need to venture into soft rock. So glad to have checked out you site. love the suggestions.

  8. Carrie says:

    I think this is a great post – When well-meaning moms share their “perfect” routine, and the moms with diaper problems can’t ever get it fixed, even using different “perfect” routines, it sets people up for thinking cloth diapers are too much trouble!

    Recognizing that an individual’s situation makes a difference in how one should wash is an important idea!

    I think, though, that even the variables you listed can have variance from the recommendation you put out. For instance: Washer capacity is variable, even in front loaders. I have a super capacity front load washer that has something like 4.6 cubic feet of drum space. This is more than most residential front load washers out there. If I were to fill my washer up till i had just a hand span between the top of the diaper pile and the washer drum, I believe that I would have more than 50 cloth diaper items (not including wipes). I would have to wait almost all week to have enough diapers, based on that criteria. I haven’t tried to fill the washer that much with diapers, but maybe I’ll have to give it a go, and see what happens!

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  10. Kim, I could kiss you! After reading this & adjusting my water level during the wash, my diapers smell fantastic again! No more lingering stinkies I could not get rid of! I am SO stinkin’ (not really!) happy! Thank you for writing this fantastic post that explains the logic behind washing preferences! Woo hoo!!

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