All Cloth Diapers have to be prepped before you use them. Prepping is done for a couple of different reasons. One reason is that you have to get all the factory dust off but the main reason is so that you activate the absorbency of the materials.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what kind of diaper you’re using, you have to have a CD safe detergent. Typical detergents would completely ruin a diaper, and detergents that say “free and clear” are rarely that. Some examples of CD safe detergents are Charlies Soap, Rock N Green, and ORIGINAL powder tide (which they don’t sell in stores anymore).
Synthetic fibers done have to be prepped so much. Diapers that are made of fleece, PUL, microfiber, and micro terry are all synthetic and only need to be washed once, then tumble or line-dried and they’re prepped!
Natural Fibers like Cotton, Hemp, and Bamboo require more prepping, but they’re the best when it comes to absorbency! You can prep natural fibers by washing and drying 7-10 times (each time they become more absorbent) OR by boiling and washing.
Our prefold diapers are made of cotton, so in prepping them, I thought I’d photograph the process and explain it.
So first, The set up. I bought a large stock pot at walmart to use for the boiling process (I’ll do the diapers at least once a month, as well as use it to sterilize bottles and pacifiers). So I have my stack of diapers, my pot of boiling water, and a laundry basket lined with an old towel. I also put a tiny tiny squirt of dawn in the water to help bring out the natural oils in the diapers.
I added four or five prefolds to the boiling water at a time and I boiled them for 20 minutes each, stirring every 3 or 4 minutes. When they were done boiling, I pulled them out with tongs and tossed them into the laundry bin. When you wash prefolds, they shrink and quilt up, so this picture can show you how shrunken they were after the first boil.
Once I was done boiling them all, I put them in the washer and ran a hot cycle with two Tbls of Rock N Green detergent, and then two cold rinses. I dried them, then I washed and dried them a second time. After that they were all prepped and ready to go! The next two pictures are before I boiled and washed them, and then after they were all done. See the difference?
So now all my diapers are prepped and ready to go!
When it comes to regular washing, here’s what we’ll do:
Once we start solids, we’ll spray off all the diapers into the toilet before we put them in the diaper pail. But until then, we don’t have to do any pre spraying. We’ll throw all the diapers in the washer along with the diaper pail. I’ll run a cold prewash to remove stinkies, then I’ll run a “large load” HOT wash with two Tbls of detergent, and two cold rinses.
After that I’ll throw the All-in-One diapers, and the inserts into the dryer, and I’ll hang everything else to dry. =) Once everything is dry, I’ll stuff the inserts back in the pockets and we’re ready to go!
My next, and last post in my CD series is going to show how we’re organizing our diapers and changing area.