If you've researched cloth diapers at all, you've probably run across dozens if not hundreds of suggested washing "routines." Some are simple, and some are so complex it seems like you'll be spending an entire day washing!
1. Rinse solids off in the toilet. I use a sprayer that my husband made from a kitchen sink sprayer. You could easily use a peri bottle, or just swish.
2. Put into either a 'dry' or 'wet' pail.
Wet Pail This is a bucket (with a locking lid) that you soak dirty diapers in until washing day. Some people add a pinch of baking soda. This requires a spin before washing to get all the extra nasty water out. This can be heavy and nasty to carry to the wash though. If you find that you HAVE to wait 3-4 days before washing (NOT recommended), use the wet pail method.
Dry Pail This is what most people do. They simply have a dry container for putting the soiled diapers in.
1. Hopefully you have already removed the solids- Whether you choose to swish, shake, or spray, remove as much solid matter as possible and dispose of this in the toilet.
2. Cold Prewash- Cold water will remove any remaining solid material without setting in stains. With front loading HE machines, run a standard cold/cold wash, with an extra rinse. If your machine will let you program to do a cold soak, do it.
3. Hot Wash- Hot water is required to sterilize the diapers and remove germs. Use a hot wash with cold rinse. Add detergent.
4. Dry- Line drying will prolong the life of your cotton, hemp, or bamboo diapers. Many people use the dryer on high heat. Some people recommend high heat for PUL fabric. This is up for debate though as it still breaks down faster using a dryer. Should you choose to line dry, the sun is an excellent bleaching agent and should help remove any stains.
5. Put Away- Or leave in a pile, in the laundry basket, or shove in a drawer. Whatever "method" works best at your house.
DO'S AND DON'TS
Cold prerinse & spin
Use store bought UNSCENTED liquid detergent
Hang in the sun to remove stains
Always include hot water and detergent in your wash routine
DO NOT Use any fabric softener
DO NOT Use bleach of anything made with PUL fabric
DO NOT Use Sportswash, Charlie's Soap or Bac-Out. These products can cause allergic reactions when used improperly.
DO NOT Iron you diapers (really, how much time do you have!?)
DO NOT Overfill your washing machine. Your diapers needs good water circulation to get clean.
DO NOT Soak in a wet pail without a LOCKING lid (this is a drowning risk!)
DO NOT Let your diapers sit unwashed for more than 3-4 days. They will develop mildew stains and will become incredibly hard to get clean.
DO NOT NOT NOT use a homemade laundry soap with felsnaptha. I learned the hard way not to do this. It actually puts quite a barrier on the diaper making it hold in stink, not get stains clean AND unabsorbent.