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December 15th 2010
archived under: Cloth Diapering, Family Life, gWhiz, Series

This post is my fifth in the gWhiz! gDiaper series. In this one, I’ll show you how I manage my diaper laundry. Everyone seems to have their own methods for handling diaper laundry, so this is just one valid way to do it. I figure if you’re not sure where to start, you might like to see how I do it, in detail.

First of all, a flash back to the anatomy of a gDiaper. Your laundry tabs are SUPER important. They make it so that the hook sides of the diaper’s aplix/velcro won’t grab on to everything else in the washing machine. If you don’t use your laundry tabs, you’ll end up with pilly diapers and baby clothes, and/or a long chain of diapers all clinging to each other.

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There are multiple ways to use your laundry tabs. I typically just fold them over on themselves, as in B. This way, when they come out of the dryer, I can snap a liner into the pant, leaving the laundry tabs closed until I need to put the diaper on my baby. Option C may be beneficial for reducing fading though, so that’s something to consider. (You know how many dark wash jeans tell you to turn them inside out before washing? Same theory… less abrasion = less fading)

tab options

Once the laundry tabs are secure, just throw the pant into your baby’s regular laundry hamper. The pants are washed just like clothing – in warm or cold water, with like colors, and tumble-dried. Some people hang them to dry to reduce fading.

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My diaper pail is just a tall skinny trash can. It’s lined with a Rainforest Babies pail liner, and I tuck a regular mesh lingerie bag under the elastic on one side, so that it’s suspended in the pail. The vinyl liners go into the mesh lingerie bag, and inserts, cloth wipes, and wet bags (inside out) go into the main bag.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed (no solid foods yet, no formula) have water-soluble poo and it can go right into your laundry without any extra work.

Once babies start having more … substantial poos… you’ll need to take one more step. Before putting a poopy insert into the diaper pail, you’ll need to spray the poo into the toilet using a diaper sprayer if you’d like, or swish the insert in the toilet to get the poo off, or use a flushable diaper liner on top of your cloth insert, which you can remove – poo and all – and flush.

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Until you’re ready to do laundry, you might notice some smell (not usually, and if you notice it too terribly you probably need to strip your inserts… but that’s another post). There are many ways to control diaper smell in the day or two before you do the laundry.

  1. I use a spice shaker (from World Market) filled with baking soda to sprinkle a bit of the odor-busting stuff into my pail now and then.
  2. Rainforest Babies pail liners come with a little fabric tab on the inside. This is so you can add a few drops of essential oils on the fabric, to make things smell nice.
  3. Rockin’ Green makes a pail deodorizer called Shake it Up! I haven’t noticed this working, honestly, but I got the unscented kind. Their website has several reviews of their “yummy smells” and that might be a better way to go.

But the baking soda is my favorite and seems to be the most effective. Plus, it’s cheap.

smell

When it’s time to do laundry, zip up the lingerie bag full of liners, then drop it into the pail liner.

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Take the pail liner to your washing machine, and flip the whole thing inside out into the machine. This dumps out all the inserts, wipes, wet bags, and liners, plus it gets your pail liner into position to be washed, itself.

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Add about 1/4 the normal amount of laundry detergent you’d typically use – really. You only need a couple teaspoons for a load of diapers. If you add too much, you’ll get soap residue and your inserts will repel liquids instead of absorbing them.

Wash on warm or cold – not hot, because that can harm the pail liner, wet bags, and gDiaper liners. I usually give it an extra rinse too, just to make sure I’m not allowing detergent to build up.

Diaper Jungle has a great chart for determining which detergents work best with cloth diapers (both for top-loaders and HE machines). We typically use All Free & Clear, or Up & Up (Target’s brand) free & clear.

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When the wash cycle is finished, you’ll need to remove the pail liner, any wet bags, and your gDiaper liners to air dry. I hang bags on the laundry room door knob like this:

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And gDiaper liners go on top of the dryer, or sometimes on Anneliese’s bed or anywhere really. They dry in less than an hour, so wherever they are, it’s not going to be very inconvenient. If they get a little stained on the edges (totally normal), you can hang them to dry in the sun, or lay them in a sunny spot near a window, and the sun will help remove any stains.

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Toss the inserts and cloth wipes into the dryer (along with a baby sock??)…

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And dry. We found out ours take 45 minutes to dry, but I plan to make a few wool dryer balls to see if that might cut drying time a bit. I’ll let you know how it goes once I give it a try!

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Tips and Tricks

  • NEVER use oxyclean on gDiaper liners, wet bags, or pail liners. It will ruin the waterproofing.
  • Also make sure not to use vinegar in your rinse cycle when washing gDiaper liners, wet bags, or pail liners.
  • If you hand-wash your gDiaper liners (not recommended, but some people prefer to), the elastic may become “loose”… pop them in a wash cycle in your machine to fix that.
  • Some people choose to wipe any poo off of the gDiaper liners with a moist wipe before putting it in the wash. I don’t worry about it with exclusively breastfed poo though.
  • If your cloth inserts start to smell funky, once they’re clean, run them through another wash cycle on HOT with no detergent, vinegar in the rinse cycle, and an extra rinse. That will often get the smell out.
  • Or boil them in a huge pot on your stove for 30 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the pot though.
  • If that doesn’t work, sun them. Sun kills the funk, and removes stains too.

And in case all of that seemed too complicated, here’s a summary:

  1. gPants – close velcro laundry tabs, wash like regular clothing.
  2. gDiaper liners, wet bags, anything waterproof – machine wash, cold or warm, NOT hot. Air dry.
  3. gCloth inserts, cloth wipes – machine wash with a little bit of detergent, double rinse if you’d like, machine dry.

Simple!

I’m really excited to share about gDiapers, so if you have any questions about them, feel free to leave them in a comment here and I’ll try to address those curiosities in further posts.





Kathy (1 comments)

I’m on gBaby #2. With #1 all my plastic liners turned pink when I washed them with a new red gDiaper cover. This time, they’ve turned blue. I do wash on hot, but I’m guessing the color would have run on warm too. Can I get them white again, and how do I prevent this in the first place if I buy more covers? Thank you!




Emily Chapelle (242 comments)

I’m not sure why they turned colors! Mine didn’t do that… maybe if you have a new dark/bright grant, you could soak it in a vinegar water solution before washing to try to set the dye, and/or wash separately the first couple of times?

For the ones that are already stained, you could try sunning them… but for the most part, I wouldn’t worry about it. It doesn’t affect the way they function, and you don’t see them when the diaper is on. :)




MAria (1 comments)

Hi Emily!
I have been using medium gdiapers for about 2 months now, my baby is 9 months so he is on solids already.
My rutine is very similar to yours.
I also havehave a diaper sprayer.
So I have some questions about how do you manage gdiapers…
How do you manage the poop cloth diapers when you are out or if you have to leave your baby in a daycare? Or do you use the disposable inserts?
How do you manage to take the poop properly out of the snap liner with the sprayer?
Do you have any ideas how to get out the stains from the snap liner?
Do you have problems at night with the cloth inserts? My baby gets always wet so I have to use the disposable ones. I’m using another brand of cloth inserts, how do the gdiapers ones work?
thanks!




Lindsay (1 comments)

I’m a little late to post a comment but I wanted to thank you for a through post! This clears things up for me, I’m planning on using gDiapers with our baby due in April and this makes lots of sense.




Adi Tenne (1 comments)

Thank you for your full reviews about gPants! i was reading it and found it helpfull, where was it 3 months ago when i first got my gDiapers :).

Adi, Israel.




Chels (1 comments)

Now that you’ve had them for a couple of years, how’s your experience been with the Velcro? That’s my only real concern. I’ve heard many women complain that it wears out and stops sticking or isn’t all that great to begin with




Kim (1 comments)

Hi, I know this wasn’t directed at me, but I have been using g-diapers almost exclusively since my little son was born. Medium tends to be the size kids stay in the longest, and my 14-month-old has been wearing mediums for 9 months now. The velcro is still very very sticky, but I always hang them to dry and always use the laundry tabs. They still seem like new. I only wash the cloth covers about once a week or less (if I notice they are stinky or soiled, so that helps too).

My son wore size small for about 4 months and I did not take as good care of them as I have the mediums. I noticed a big difference in the velcro (plus, on the size small the velcro is not as wide). I washed them more often, too, because I didn’t know better.

I hope this helps!




Megan (1 comments)

Also, the company offers hook replacement kits, and the first one is free :) I bought several used gPants and replaced the hook (took about 4 hours for six start to finish)and now they are good as new! Apparently the loop side of the Velcro doesn’t need replacement.

Thanks for the tip about the gentle care and infrequent washing of gPants, I don’t look forward to replacing the Velcro again! :P




Brianna (1 comments)

Our little girl is due in just a couple of months and your gdiaper series has been great! I was leaning towards prefolds with a cover for simplicity but a friend gave me some gdiapers she never used and now Im sold! I think I will use prefolds as the inserts also. Your laundry post was great! She was telling me not to dry the insert but I didnt see why you couldnt. We actually hang dry most of oour clothes when we can anyway but this has be great. Thank You! I plan on checking out the rest of your website :)




Laura (1 comments)

Thank you so much for the info! We gDiapered our first (now 4) and recently begun with our new baby (10 weeks old). I had never had a great handle on the washing, though. Used oxyclean the whole time!




Christine (1 comments)

How do you prep the gdiapers before using? Is there a certain amount of times to wash and dry them to ensure they are ready to go?




Jennifer (1 comments)

The package says that you need to wash the liners 3 times for prep. That’s what I did, and they work just fine.




Lrriggs (1 comments)

I love my g diapers, but just after a few weeks of using the gcloth they started leaking every time we used them. I know it’s not the way we put them on because when we use disposables, they don’t leak at all. We stripped them once that didn’t work. Any ideas??




Lora (1 comments)

My cloths leak too, but I think it’s just because they can only hold so much pee. I have learned to change my daughter after each feeding to make sure she is always dry. It helps. The disposable inserts hold more liquid, thus less chance of leakage.




Jessica (1 comments)

This is a fantastic post!! I started gdiapering my little princess at 4 weeks and haven’t looked back since! We love our gDiapers! My process and supply is incredibly similar to yours using gcloth and GMD cloth inserts. I have been soaking my snap-in liners in oxyclean before washing because it gets the yellow breast-fed poopnstains out really well. Had NO idea it ruins the waterproofing! Good to know!!! Also I’m now going to wash in warm instead of hot!!! A tip for diaper pail, I put one of those baking soda boxes for refrigerator/freezer in my pail, under the liner then sprinkle baking soda in the liner. Seems to control smell really well, but I’ll see how effective it is once baby girl starts eating solids :)) do you ever bleach your inserts? Every 3-4 washes I’ll add a little bleach (less than tablespoon) to help with stains and smell (instead of stripping the cloths). Love all your posts! I’m so happy I found your blog! You’re an inspiration!!




Hayley (2 comments)

You generally shouldn’t use bleach on cloth nappies, it can damage the liners. But you can strip occasionally with hot water/vinegar as above or use Rockin Greens Funk Rock to strip or put a bit in each load to control build up.




Christina (1 comments)

Thanks so much for this!!! I have been having diaper confusion since my son was born a month ago, and this really helped. Awesome!!




Toni (1 comments)

I was wondering if you recomend a wet or dry pale. I plan on using gdiapers for my first child. So this is all very new to me.. Thanks for your posts they are very helpful..




Emily (1 comments)

Hi Emily, I love your post! Where do you get reusable wipes??? Thanks for the tips about the diaper pail -I’ll try this for sure!
Blessings,
Emily




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

I made them! Look to the “cloth diapers” category and you’ll find that post too. :)




Veronica (4 comments)

Emily,

Thank you for all this info. We are going to embark on this journey :) I am a mac user and on my computer I cannot see any of the previous comments–the font is very very small in comparison with the text font for the post. Also, in your changing table post can you tell us how many of each you have stored? e.g. how many liners, prefolds, etc. Thank you so much!




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

the font should be fixed now. Sorry about that – it was a glitch that happened in my theme, but I didn’t have internet access during our move, so couldn’t fix it right away.

The changing table / dresser holds all of my diapers/liners/inserts except for what is in the pail or my diaper bag. For size medium, I think I have about 15 gPants, maybe 25 waterproof liners, and about 40 cloth inserts.




Meghan (4 comments)

I’m planning on using gDiapers with #2 arriving in September. Is there any reason why you’ve been using more of the gDiaper cloth inserts rather than the Green Mountain cloth prefolds?

Thanks!




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Yes! With the small size and when my baby was littler, she was peeing more often but not as much each time (since her bladder was smaller). So the preemie sized GMD prefolds were perfect and CHEAP. It was easy for me to have 2-3 dozen inserts at that price.

Now that she’s in medium (since she was 3 months old), she needs more absorbency. Also, the newborn size prefolds which fit in the medium/large gDiapers are a bit bulky compared to the gCloth. AND my husband was starting to get annoyed at having to tri-fold them, when gCloths just slip right in.

We figured that since she’ll be in this size until she’s potty trained (even if she needs Large gDiapers, they use the same size liners and inserts), it’s worth the investment to get the “good stuff.” So we bought a bunch of gCloth – some gently used from other gParents, some one sale, and some full price.




Shelly (1 comments)

Thank you for the help! My baby came 4 wks early & we hadn’t yet worked out the gdiaper system – it’s nice to see how you did it – you’ve simplified things for me & being a new mom that means A LOT! :)




Minxxa (3 comments)

You know it’s been 12 years since I had a kidlet in diapers, and man have they come a long way! I was probably a first generation to have velcro covers, and I loved them dearly, but they are so much better now and cute, too!

I know back in the day I had a washer that did a soak cycle, so I’d soak them and rinse, then run through the wash cycle.

Still.. I’m really glad more people are doing that these days. Every little bit counts!




Janine (26 comments)

I love cloth diapers! And thanks for getting me into gDiapers!

Do you wash your inserts on hot? I wash everything together on cold rinse then hot and am wondering if I could just do it all on cold or warm only rather than washing inserts separately.




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Yay! And you’re welcome!
I just wash inserts/liners/wipes/etc in warm wash/cold rinse. :) Really nice to be able to throw it all in together.

If they start getting smelly i’ll wash the inserts again, by themselves, in hot only with no soap.




Bree Miller (9 comments)

I have to say I’m totally jealous of how cute your diapers are!




Stephanie (19 comments)

I’m planning on using gDiapers when our baby come so this is super helpful. Now, if only we didn’t have coin operated laundry…




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Yay! So glad you’re gonna use them too. :)
Stinks about the laundry though. :(




Whitney (14 comments)

Wool dryer balls are AMAZING! They cut about 15 minutes off of my dry cycle (and it takes about 30 minutes for dry diapers. If I use Flip inserts instead of prefolds, sometimes only 15 minutes)

I use four of them, and I toss them in with EVERYTHING. It pretty much eliminates the need to iron button down shirts, too.




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Awesome! Thanks for letting me know. :) I’ll have to make some when things settle after the holidays and our move.




Jess (4 comments)

So jealous of your short wash routine. Our water here is disgusting, so I have to do a gentle cycle with “funk rock” then a heavy cycle + prewash + extra rinse with All F&C, then a rinse cycle with a cup of vinegar! And if I skip a step, stink city.




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

wow, that’s no fun!!! How often do you do laundry? If I had to do all that I think I’d want more inserts so I could do laundry a little less frequently. haha.




Jess (4 comments)

I was every other day. We have 48 inserts, but this kid pees like it’s going out of style and loves pooping in a fresh diaper. ;)




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

haha I know that routine. I changed 3 diapers in quick succession this morning.




melissa valentine (2 comments)

Where do you purchase your cute covers for the most reasonable price? Where do you find you good prefolds? I’m about to start stocking up! We find out what we’re having in 3 weeks and I’ve officially decided on g’s!




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

I bought most of them from gdiapers.com (now for sale on diapers.com if you’re in the USA) when they were on sale.

Some of them, I bought used from other gDiapers mamas for a pretty good deal. (That’s a good way to get discontinued colors, too.)

I think THE cheapest way to buy them is to go to Babies R Us with a 20% off coupon and a $2 gDiapers coupon on a 2-pack. That way, they end up being less than $10 each. Plus, 2-packs come with a third liner (normally 6 for $20 when you buy them on their own).

I used prefolds from green mountain diapers (preemie size) when my girl was in small gDiapers. Now that she’s in Mediums, we’re using gCloth, which is more expensive than prefolds, but very trim and we love them!




Meghan (4 comments)

Why did you switch from the Green Mountain cloth diapers to the gCloth? We’re planning on using gDiapers for #2 coming in September and was just wondering why you switched when the cloth diapers are cheaper?




Cheryl (1 comments)

So you keep all the liners in the mesh bag during the wash too? I store mines in a mesh bag too that hangs on the changing table, but I never left in the bag. Are you doing it to not harm the elastic in the wash? I might start doing that too (plus mines a top-loader so I get soaked digging to the bottom collecting all the liners, lol!).




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Yes, I keep them in the mesh bag. They get perfectly clean, and I do that because they’re easier to pull out to air dry. Otherwise, I might accidentally toss one into the dryer with the inserts and wipes. Much faster if you don’t have to dig for each one.






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