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Laundry day!

September 29, 2011

What’s so exciting about laundry day? Is it the routine, the zen motion of folding fresh and clean cloth inserts, stacking them up or stuffing them inside gPants, ready to be used on your sweet baby? Is it the musical playlist you created to accompany you as you grab your laundry bag and get to it? Is it exciting because someone else does it for you? Whatever the reason, it is a ritual, and we as people (and mostly, we as parents) tend to take comfort in ritualized tasks.

photo by Amy Darling McDonald
photo credit Amy Darling McDonald
If you’re strictly using disposable inserts, or mostly anyway, your wash routine is going to be pretty simple. gPants only need to be laundered when they get soiled, or at your own comfort level. The snap-in pouch is the piece that will be swapped out most often. And since you’re mostly using disposable inserts, which get flushed, composted (wet ones only) or tossed, you don’t have cloth inserts to launder. So here’s your laundry list:

  • unsnap the pouch from the gPant
  • close the velcro tabs so they don’t come undone and snag other bits of laundry, (like that groovy mesh top you wore to last week’s 80’s day at the office)
  • machine wash on cold or warm
  • line or machine dry the gPants
  • air dry the snap-in pouches (they air dry in minutes)

Then grab that fresh-smelling pile of gPants and pouches, snap the pouches into the pants, tuck in a disposable insert to each and have them ready to go so baby can dirty them up again for you. (cause she most certainly will)

If you’re using gCloth inserts exclusively or mostly, the routine is going to be just a tad more involved. But not much. gCloth inserts are perfectly-sized to tuck into gPants, so there’s no folding required. Please bear in mind that caring for your gCloth will be a lot easier if you treat them kindly. No diaper creams, no bleach, no detergents with added softeners or enzymes. Pretty much if it will affect the cloth fibers, be cautious.

Here’s what one diaper therapist, suggests:

“There are a couple of different methods for storing your cloth diapers before laundry day.  You can use a wet pail, a dry pail or a wet bag.

In the wet pail method, all cloth diapers are placed in a pail filled with water. Storing the diapers in water (usually accompanied by baking soda) is said to help prevent stains from setting. When wash day comes, the water is drained in the bathtub or toilet and then the diapers go into the wash. This method has lost much of its popularity due to odor issues that arise from stagnant water, and the potential for messiness and mildew.

The dry pail method seems to be the preferred method (and the one I used). In this method, wet and soiled diapers are placed in a covered pail with no pre-soaking. Odors can easily be controlled by sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of the pail.  I used a 5 gallon bucket with a lid that you can purchase from any home improvement store.  It worked great!

A wet bag (or laundry bag) is a waterproof bag that you fill with your baby’s soiled diapers.  On laundry day, you can just put the whole bag inside out and wash everything in your machine (different bags have different care instructions, so please read the label).

We actually don’t recommend any specific detergent for the gPants.  You can use whatever you normally use.  However, if you are using gCloth you will want to use a cloth diaper friendly detergent.

There are a lot of factors that go into what you choose.  Is an “eco” detergent important to you?  Do you want something you can purchase locally?  Do you have hard water?  Is price a factor?  As you can see, it’s a personal choice, you just want to choose something that will be kind to your cloth.  We like to send people to the Detergent Chart at diaperjungle.com to see how detergents are rated for cloth diapers.

For cloth diapers, it’s a good idea to use HALF the amount of detergent that you would use in a regular load of the same size.  A little bit of detergent, hot water, and the agitation from your washing machine is enough to disinfect your cloth diapers. A second rinse cycle may help remove excess detergent, but isn’t necessary.  Using too much detergent will lead to detergent buildup and an inconvenient “stripping” process.” (more on that in another blog post)

Here’s what one diaper therapist has to say on it:

“Cloth is funny because everyone does it differently!
My routine with the gCloth I’m currently using on my son is:

From wet bag:

  • throw all cloth inserts in washer
  • throw in gPants (with pouches unsnapped) and pouches in a mesh laundry bag.  The mesh bag means no sorting- it’s all in there to be washed, but you can then remove the gPants and pouches easily if you choose to do a hot cycle for the cloth inserts (which isn’t necessary nor recommended for the gPants and pouches)
  • I do a cold or warm wash first with a tiny bit of cloth safe detergent (to help avoid stains)
  • pull out the mesh bag with the gPants and pouches and dry them (air or dryer for pants, air dry for pouches)
  • then follow up with a hot wash/rinse (no extra detergent) for the gCloth left in the washer to extra sanitize and make sure all detergent is rinsed out

*Hint for drying the gcloth in the dryer: throw a big dry towel in there too! It helps move the cloth around more and soaks up some dampness form inside the drum, so it all dries faster!”

Thanks ladies. It’s really nice to have people around who’ve been there. And if you want to chat with either of our diaper therapists in person, just give them a buzz or send an email, info@gdiapers.com. 1.866.553.5874.

about the author Kelli Martinelli – Kelli has been with gDiapers since its infancy in 2006. She writes the gDiapers blog, email campaigns, web content, manages social media and customer service and supports PR. She occasionally takes a stab at her own blog It’s Me, Kelli, where she chronicles her waste reduction efforts and her stories as a single mama to two kiddos. Stay in touch on the gDiapers bloggoogle + and twitter.

22 thoughts on “Laundry day!”

  1. I am new to gdiapers. I use tide free HE for his clothes, bedding, etc. Is that safe to use on the cloth inserts? I know I need to use less than I normally would but how much? What if I just do a load for diapers?

  2. Oh my goodness…oh my goodness…oh my goodness! My husband googled me and this link came up! I had no idea my photo was even on here! That is so awesome! I took it for a photography class and I was hoping you would use it when I posted it on facebook! Happy gDiapering! :)

  3. After a wretched leave from cloth diapering (horrible morning sickness + needing to strip the diapers = my diapers say in a box for 6 months). Well I finally got them out this week and after talking to some mom’s about stripping decided to just soak my inserts in some hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and some essential oils (10-15 drops each Melaleuca and Purify). I decided to add vinegar of my own accord because we have started using it in all of our loads of laundry, but someone told me to be careful because it can ruin PUL (some fabric I guess). Anyway, since I’ve been using it in my regular loads (because my stripping method WORKED!!!) I just stuck it in with my diaper loads as well and am now concerned about the liners/pouches. Will vinegar affect their waterproof-ness?

  4. It’s funny, I am currently cloth diapering my 3rd baby and I never thought to use a mesh laundry bag for my little gpants! I wish I had read this years ago! Thanks for offering such great service and a great product gDiapers!!

  5. Nylon laundry bags are more durable and much stronger than the mesh bags. They may have pockets on the outside of the bag allowing you to place detergent and other laundry related items inside.

  6. I know to not use diaper cream with the gdiapers, but what about baby powder? Does the powder build up and ruin the diapers?

  7. I really wish the general washing instructions were included in the newborn package I purchsed. Would be helpful and quick and easy find. Like any clothing or garment care instructions are attached. But I understand if this is to keep costs down. In that case, the website should have a tab/page on care instructions, not a seperate blog. The blog would be for questions comments or other. Thank you.

  8. Hi! Just found this and totally agree with the last post of posting these care instruction in the care area not blog. Just started reusing g-diapers with my second child and totally had a mind block about how I cared for them. After sending email with no responds from the site I just did what some people suggested online. But the care for inserts prior to washing, such as soaking them or not totally made me go crazy until I found this. When you have a new baby the last thing you need is to be looking for the details about cloth diaper use. You should include this in the diaper box itself. Thanks

  9. Hi there! I hope you can help me with my questions about both types of inserts,
    Is the use of coconut oil for my infant butt safe on the disposable inserts? Or will it clog it?
    I read that you shouldnt use diaper creams on the cloth inserts, but can you do coconut oil?

    1. Hi Nidia, If you’re using disposable inserts you can use whatever cream or oil you want to guard against diaper rash. However, if you are using cloth inserts I would suggest using one of our cloth liners to protect the cloth from any sort of barrier cream or oil you are using.

  10. Hi and thanks for this article. We have a variety of cloth diapers, just started using a few GDiapers with baby #2. I typically put everything together in a dry pail and wash all together, taking out liners to air dry and drying inserts in the dryer.
    Will it ruin the Gdiapers if I don’t snap out the plastic liners each time? I like the idea of a separate mesh bag but don’t have that set up yet and have been leaving in plastic to decease steps of laundry. I am a bit worried this will ruin them as everything I’ve read says to separate before washing. Can anyone tell me what the risks are and convince me it is (or isn’t) worth it?
    We use mostly cloth inserts in the diapers and have several other types of diapers being washed at the same time so I’d prefer to keep the steps to a minimum as I’m already sorting and putting together a billion little pieces when I wash diapers anyway.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Noami! I would recommend following the instructions and unsnapping the pouches before washing. The reason you want to do this is otherwise, it will put undue stress on the snap tabs, and they could break away from the gPants. You can wash the pouches and gPants with the rest of your family’s clothing (machine wash cool or warm, tumble dry low, or air dry. No vinegar, no bleach) however, I would wash the cloth inserts on their own as they require a hot water wash for sanitary reasons. An extra rinse will ensure all the detergent has been rinsed out, but it’s not entirely necessary.

  11. Grandma here just started using them and I have no problems laundering, but was wondering if I have to “cook” them once a month?

  12. You missed a CRUCIAL Step in the dirty diaper in the pail part. Swish cloth diapers which have solid waste materials involved IN THE TOILET to remove the solids, BEFORE pailing or bagging the diapers!
    Believe it or not…SOME people do NOT!

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