How to Wash Cloth Diapers in Hard Water

14 Dec

When I first decided to cloth diaper I was told that I had to use special, gentle detergent on the diapers or they would irritate my baby’s skin.

Okay. Fine. I’ll use Dreft, I thought.

BIG mistake.

My daughter Evelynn immediately broke out in a NASTY diaper rash.

And so began my several month long quest to find something that worked for us on our diapers. I had no idea what I was in store for.

First, you should know, most of our diapers are Kawaii baby (or very similar).

The first thing I did was strip my diapers. The liquid Dawn and then rinse, rinse, rinse in HOT water works well for us as far as stripping goes.

Then we tried every different detergent under the mutha-fracking sun and nothing seemed to work.

I tried fancy cloth diaper detergents, I tried pure & free detergents, I tried Rockin Green…no matter what I did we had problems.

Either the diapers would stink coming out of the wash (when I used cloth diaper detergents) or they would have to be rinsed 7 or 8 times to get all of the soap out (free & pure detergents) or they would smell like ammonia when my kids peed in them (no matter what I tried).

After a whole lot of trial and error and a whole lot of research on the internet I finally found out that our problem is hard water. And then after a whole lot more research and a whole lot more trial and error I finally found a system that WORKS!

I did finally get the Rockin Green to work for me and I like it, but I like Country Save even better only because I can buy it locally in a health food store and I’m not so great at planning ahead to order the Rockin Green off the internet before I run out. Plus, I think Country Save works just a TEEEEENY bit better.

If you have hard water you *must* use a detergent made for hard water (Country Save, Hard Rock by Rockin Green, etc) on your cloth diapers OR you must add a water softener such as Calgon or Borax.

This is what I finally found that worked for us.

(I have a top loading machine. If you have a front loading HE machine you’ll have to adapt this.)

1) Put the diapers in the machine, crank it up to the setting with the MOST amount of water and rinse

2) Make sure your water is set to HOT. And I mean HOT. (I turn my water heater up as high as it will go before I wash my cloth diapers.)

3) Change the setting to the lowest amount needed to just barely cover the diapers and add soap (if you have hard water you need to use EXTRA soap. I know everyone says go easy on the soap with cloth diapers but if you have hard water, use about 1/4 more than you normally would with cloth diapers.)

3) Allow it to agitate for a few minutes and then stop the machine.

4) Allow the diapers to sit in the soapy water for a few hours. Yes. HOURS. It takes the soap at leat 30 minutes to start to work and even longer the harder your water is. I usually try to wash my cloth diapers at night so they can just sit overnight.

5) Switch the machine back to the highest water setting and fill it up with HOT water.

6) Rinse.

7) Rinse again.

8 ) It is usually better to line dry your covers and dry the inserts in the dryer on high. I’m not going to lie though, I usually dry all of mine together on low. Your diapers will last longer the more you can avoid the dryer, however.

So that’s it. After months of tearing my hair out trying to find something that would work for us and the solution turned out to be pretty simple. My diapers look and smell awesome now and I am one happy momma!


3 Responses to “How to Wash Cloth Diapers in Hard Water”

  1. Ashley December 15, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    How much do you love Kawaiis? I have my cart loaded with them and I just can’t decide if I want to hit buy yet 😉 And I mean that literally lmao! We’ve cd’d with Gdiapers and cloth inserts. Do your girls wear them at all? Addie is totally day trained, but not night. So I’ll need something she won’t soak at night. She’s a VERY heavy wetter.

    • MrsLala December 15, 2010 at 11:12 am #

      I do like them. I really do. In fact, I like my Kawaii dipes better than the few BumGenius I have floating around (*gasp*). I have found that the BG tend to leak where as I have never had a problem with the Kawaii Baby ones unless I forget to double stuff them at night.

      I noticed that they have “heavy wetter” dipes for sale but I have never tried those. I just double stuff the regular ones and we are all set.

      I did try Gdipes when I first started CDing and I, honestly, hated them. I hated the velcro because the kids would pull them off. I didn’t think they held up well (i.e. they fell apart) and I felt like they were super messy to change. Not my thing.

  2. Katie December 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Hey there
    I think I am one of the ones who suggested using Country Save, although we have switched to using Rockin Green on our dipes. I don’t think we have hard water, thankfully. As for our smell issue, I have started using Tea Tree Oil in the rinse cycle – the dipes come out smelling awesome!! (We do a 30 min soak, rinse, hot wash, and another short cold wash to rinse, where I sometimes add the tea tree oil)

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