At Green Bambino, we want you to have the information you need to be a confident parent or caregiver. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions in our shop.
To successfully cloth diaper a newborn full-time, you’ll need a minimum of 24 diapers and plenty of reusable wipes. Newborns can easily dirty a dozen diapers per day, so 24 diapers will get you through an every other day wash cycle. I recommend having 30 or so just to have a few to use while the others are in the machine.
A toddler needs fewer diaper changes. Plan on 8 per day, so in order to wash every other day you’ll need at least 16 diapers. Again, I recommend having a few more than the bare minimum for convenience.
Remember that the fewer diapers you have, the more often they get used and washed. They will wear out sooner than if you have a larger stash of diapers.
Rotate your stash so all of your diapers get used equally often – this helps keep diapers looking newer longer.
You should consider including the following in your cloth diaper stash:
- Cloth wipes – at least 2-3 dozen
- 2 wet bags for storing dirty diapers when you are out of the house
- 2 diaper pail liners for storing dirty diapers at home until laundry day
- Bottom spray for on-the-go diaper changes
- Cloth diaper friendly rash cream
- Flushable liners
Every manufacturer has their own recommended instructions for washing diapers, but Green Bambino believes it’s important to keep the wash routine simple. Here are our suggestions:
Prewash your diapers before the first use. Natural fibers such as cotton and hemp should be washed separately from synthetic fibers at least 4-5 times in hot water with a small amount of detergent. Dry natural fiber diapers for 20-30 minutes in between every second or third wash cycle. Synthetic fibers can be prewashed once in warm water with a small amount of detergent then dried in the dryer on low.
TIP: To reduce drying time while prepping your diapers for first use, throw a clean, dry towel or two in the dryer with the diapers.
Once diapers have been prewashed properly, all diapers except wool can be washed and dried together.
Regular Wash Routine: Using as much water as possible, run a quick cold wash or prewash with a very small amount of detergent or no detergent at all. Then run a hot wash (not a sanitize cycle) with the recommended amount of a residue free detergent or 1/2 the recommended amount of other detergents (1/4 the recommended amount if you use an HE front loader). Bleach can void warranties, but if you must use it, 1/8 cup is plenty. Either hang your diapers to dry in the sun or dry them in the dryer on a low to low/medium setting.
Tips: Don’t use anything with additives such as softeners, dyes, perfumes or enzymes. These can decrease the absorbency of diapers. Don’t overfill your washer with diapers. Diapers need plenty of room to swish around in, so use plenty of water. If you still see detergent suds during the rinse cycle, rinse again. If your diapers still smell stinky after washing, wash them again (some babies produce stinkier diapers than others). Stripping your diapers is rarely necessary, but we can tell you how to do it.
**This is the wash routine we used at home and that has proven to be simple and easy to follow. Before you use any additives, please check the manufacturer’s instructions. Green Bambino is not responsible for damage or injuries caused by following our suggested wash routine.**
If your diapers smell clean after washing – that is, they smell like nothing; no perfumes or stink – then the diapers are truly clean. Some babies’ wastes stain more than others. Stains will not impede performance, so if they don’t bother you, don’t worry. If they do bother you, lay or hang them in the sun for a while. Stains will lighten or disappear quickly and the sun’s rays also sanitize.
Bleach can be used, but be aware it can void some manufacturers’ warranties. It is best to bleach only synthetic material inserts. Take out any covers or unbleached organic cottons first. Then run a hot wash cycle with 1/4 to 1/2 cup bleach depending on the load size. Add the bleach to the bleach dispenser cup if you have one or to a full tub of water. An extra rinse might be needed to remove any lingering bleach smell.
If your diapers are suddenly leaking, but don’t seem saturated, or you are battling stinkies, it may be time to strip your diapers. Stripping your diapers will remove any built-up detergent residue that is holding on to odors and preventing absorbency.
Many websites suggest using original blue Dawn and LOTS of hot water to strip diapers, but after doing this several times ourselves, we’ve found an couple of easier ways.
1. GroVia Mighty Bubbles
Simply follow the directions on the package to strip your diapers.
2. Charlie's Soap
If you currently use Charlie’s Soap to wash your laundry/diapers, the stripping process is extra easy. Wash your diapers as normal, then use twice the normal amount of Charlie’s in a long, heavy duty hot wash. Soaking is rarely necessary. If you want to soak your diapers, limit the soaking time in the washing machine to about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Overnight soaks are not recommended as they can damage your washing machine and your cloth diapers.
Let the cycle finish, then run a short hot wash with no detergent to make sure the Charlie’s Soap is rinsed out.
If you don’t currently use Charlie’s Soap, you’ll need to use it to strip any residue out of your washing machine before stripping your diapers. A 5-load sample pack will provide just enough Charlie’s to strip your machine and strip your diapers. First-time user instructions are included in all Charlie’s Soap packaging.