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So you want to cloth diaper but aren’t sure about the germ factor or the cleanliness of your washing machine? Many people don’t realize a vast majority of sanitization for laundry occurs during the drying cycle, not the washing cycle. Yes you can use water 120℉ to help but most of the germs are still going to be killed in the dryer. HOWEVER this isn’t necessarily true if you don’t have that dryer set to high heat, which most fabrics can’t tolerate, especially not PUL cloth diapers. *PUL is polyurethanelaminate which is what most diaper covers use to keep moisture in the pad, not leaking through.
So how do you get them sanitized?! Well there’s a few methods
- Solar Sanitization
This (and the next) is the method I use, even in winter. Hang your liners and pads on the line in direct sunlight and let them dry. UV sanitization is a great resource from our nearest star and it’ll cut down on your electricity. In winter, hang them on hangers clipped to one another and put in your sunniest window! Ta-da!
You can put your pads and wipes in the dryer on high heat, just not your liners. You need a minimum of 25 minutes of heat but my pads don’t dry that fast anyway. If you have all-in-one diapers you’re better off using anther method.
- Lysol Added to Wash
I have not personally tried this, but I if I smell bacteria build up I think I’ll give this a go over a bleach bath if the vinegar doesn’t do anything (vinegar hasn’t let me down before). First, verify that the Lysol you have is laundry appropriate. Then add 1/4 to 1/2 c to your laundry and wash like regular. For cloth diapers I would do this in your last wash so you already have clean diapers and the sanitizing can get in there and do its job.
This one is iffy with cloth diapers. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if you use bleach so do your research and be warry. You fill your bath tub half way with cool water, 1/2 c to 1c bleach, and CLEAN diapers. Stir them around and let them soak for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Then you drain the water and rinse with HOT water and put the diapers through another wash cycle. There’s lots of variations on this method throughout the internet.
One of my personal fav’s and a go to if my baby’s diapers start to get that stink caused from bacteria build up (it just sorta comes with the territory of cloth diapering until you get your wash routine down). I do my first 2 washes and then add white distilled vinegar to the fabric softener chamber until full. I set the setting to extra rinse with fabric softener and voila!
Always check your manufacturer warranty and what they recommend using. Also, cloth diaper groups on Facebook can be helpful when solving wash problems.
Also if you’re interested, we use these diapers and these diapers and here are the main pads we use, plus these heavy duty pads as our little got bigger. We use planet wise for wet bags and have NEVER been let down. Love them, love them, love them! Plus you can use the wet bags as swim gear holders and water protection when the kids are older!
Which way do you sanitize your laundry?