Mailbox Mondays Washing

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 8/22/11 – Drying Cloth Diapers

drying #clothdiapers via @chgdiapers

It’s just another Mailbox Monday (oh-oh) I wish it was Sunday (oh-oh) ’cause that’s my funday (oh-oo-whoa) my I don’t have to run day, It’s just another Mailbox Monday!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…on Mondays, I answer questions readers have asked, and ask my other readers to weigh in too.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Erika says:

OK- since you said you were short on submissions, I thought I would ask you something I have been wondering about: the effects of dryer time on diapers.

Background: I live in a rental. We have an underpowered dryer- not sure if it’s because of age or what, it takes forever to dry clothes even on high heat, even with using 5 dryer balls. I am not allowed to hang dry clothes outside due to HOA regulations. I can and do sometimes hang dry inside, but the air conditioning is broken and not likely to be fixed anytime soon, and it’s terribly humid here- so to hang dry items completely would take days.

So- I put my diapers in the dryer all the time. Not the covers or pockets- just flats, cloth wipes, fitteds, Flip organic inserts, hemp doublers, and organic BG Elementals. I usually do 70 minutes on medium but then have to do another 30 minutes on high to get the heavy stuff- fitteds, BG’s, hemp- even close enough to dry that I can hang dry them the rest of the way.

My main question is, what’s more damaging to diapers- dry time or heat setting? I was wondering if I dry them 2 cycles on medium, or 1 cycle on high vs. my current 1.5 cycles on med/high- which is better/worse? Or am I choosing between 2 bad options since I already know drying wears out diapers?

Thanks for reading…sorry I am so wordy! 🙂

Hi Erika!

First off, if you haven’t already, I’d try a couple things to get your dryer working a bit more efficiently. If you can remove the lint trap screen, soak it in the sink with dish soap, and scrub with a nail brush. A lot of times, even though they look “clean,” the screens can be clogged with oils from fabric softeners, making the air unable to flow through as efficiently. While the screen is out, try to clean any fuzz that may have gotten down into the lint trap area of the dryer. I have a flexible brush that’s designed for this, but you can get creative. The same goes for the hose that leads from the dryer to the outside vent. That’s a little easier to remove and clean! If you can access the area where the dryer vents outside, clean that out as well.

As far as temp goes, I’d always choose the lower temp with a longer drying time. If you’ve ever opened the dryer while a hot/high cycle was running, you know that those temps are downright scorching! I’d be most concerned about the effect on your elastic (and aplix if you have it) on your fitteds and elementals.

I imagine whether you’re using coin operated laundry or just paying for the electricity, a longer cycle will cost you more than a shorter, hotter one. Despite what I’ve said, I know at least one Mama who has always dried all of her cloth diapers (pockets and all) on high, and has never had a problem, so I know opinions may vary!

So how about the rest of you? Would you choose longer dry time, or higher temps?

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • Fritter
    August 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Well, it is very clear to me that I have shrunk my BGs and FBs by using the highest heat setting. If I had the luxury of time (I have three kids in dipes a 2.5 yo and 10mo twins) I would absolutely draw out the time and lower the heat. My toddler doesn’t even fit in the BGs anymore so I had to buy him sized FBs which bugs me.

    • August 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Oh no! 🙁

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