Mailbox Monday 4/7/14 – Washing Cloth Diapers at the Laundromat
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A mom asked:
What are some tips for washing cloth diapers in a laundromat/coin operated machines?
Nearly 3 years ago, Alyssa wrote a guest post on how she washed her cloth diapers without a washing machine. I think combining a lot of her tips with flats/handwashing challenge experience can reduce your expense in washing diapers in coin operated machines. Sarah has a great post on the best diapers for coin-operated machines.
A successful wash routine is typically a rinse/quick wash (warm if possible) with no detergent, a hot wash with detergent, and a double rinse. With coin operated machines, the cycles are typically not very customizable, and of course, each wash costs money.
I’d suggest rinsing cloth diapers at home first, perhaps even as you take them off, before you store them. Especially if they are going to sit for several days before you make it to the laundromat. Consider using a detergent that is easy to rinse out to avoid multiple rinses. If you’re not in a hurry to get the laundry done, wash a load of your clothing using your cloth diaper detergent first, then wash your diapers in the same machine. This way you don’t have to worry about other people’s detergent residue getting onto your diapers.
Finally, though it is extra work, you can do an additional rinse at home in the sink or tub rather than paying for an additional cycle to rinse (or skip the additional rinse if it works for you.)
Do you have tips?
I have not used coin laundrymat machines for diapers but I have had to wash diapers in other peoples homes for a time. I found it easiest to do 2 hot washes and be done. I always rinse everything when I take the diapers off, and the second full hot wash eliminates the need for multiple rinses and seems to help if using a high efficiency machine.
We had to use laundromat for our first three years cloth diapering (we’ve only recently been able to wash in our own private apartment machine!). In order to save money (and to fit our very busy work schedules), we washed once a week. So that meant a large rotation of diapers to get us through the week (especially when we had two in diapers for the last ten months!).
1) Hand rinse everything in the sink and wring out before tossing in a wet bag (we would have zero smells all week this way, and it served as our pre-rinse/wash).
2) Use the largest washing machine available (this was necessary due to so many diapers, but it also made sure we had ample water for the diapers!).
-Be sure to pick a machine that doesn’t have soap buildup in the soap dispenser (much more common than I had originally thought!).
-If you have the time, wash a load of your other laundry in the machine first, to rinse out as much detergent, bleach, etc from the people who used the machine before you!
3) I wrote a guest article about this a couple years ago with more details, if anyone is interested! http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2011/10/saving-money-at-laundromat.html