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Budget Friendly Cloth Diaper Care

First and foremost there are a couple big no-no's when it comes to cloth diapering.  A innocent mistake can cause leaks and unwanted damage.  

1.  Only use cloth safe diaper creams.   The wrong kind of cream can clog fabrics and cause leaks Coconut oil is excellent and a cheap.  You can also mix in essential oils for added benefits.  A&D and Vaseline are definite no-no's. 

1.  Fabric softener is a big no.  The residue can build up and cause leaks and reduced absorbency.

What do I wash with?

You will find this subject hotly debated online.  However I will keep it simple.  It may take a few cycles to find out what works best for you.  Not all detergents are ok to use.  I have personally used Sun Free, All free and Clear, and Tide Original.  Tide was most effective for me.  It's more expensive so I buy a small bottle and keep it just for diapers while I launder my clothes with a more budget friendly brand.  Also you only need a fraction of the amount that you would normally use for a regular wash.  1/4 to 1/3 of the cap is fine.  Too much detergent can lead to build up on the diapers.  I should also mention that there are specific detergents for cloth but they are usually more expensive.  Also a lot of moms make there own detergent and that can save a few coins as well.  In the end If you ask 10 moms you will get 10 answers.  Find what works for you.

Machine Washing

Once you find you detergent you are ready to wash.  Again mommy chats break out into war over the correct way to wash.  I will give a basic routine and I will let you take it from there.  If rising utility bills are a concern I suggest a cold rinse and soak in a large bucket a few hours before the wash.  This cuts down costs by eliminating a rinse/soak cycle.  Next wash in hot or warm.  I prefer hot.  I had smell issues when I washed in warm.  Some people do an extra rinse cycle and some don't.  There are plenty of wash routines on the web and if this doesn't work for you one of those will.

Hand Washing

So you don't have a washing machine available for diaper laundry or maybe you want to keep your costs as low as possible.  Hand washing is a great alternative.  Many parents swear by this method.  A large utility bucket and a plunger is all you need.  There are plungers especially designed for this and they run about $20 or if you are handy you can cut a few holes in any standard plunger.  Soak and rinse diapers.  Then add diapers, water, detergent and swish.  Another economical option is a portable washing machine.  They can be purchased on Ebay or Amazon for as low as $40 and they can be used in a kitchen, bathroom or nursery.  Since it's weird I included a link for a video on the plunger method, so click the picture.

Drying the Diapers

My preferred method is to dry my inserts and prefolds in the dryer for 30 min on medium.  I always hang dry my cover and anything else with a waterproof fabric.  Some people machine dry everything.  Just make sure if you do to tumble on low.  I found it easier to invest in a $10 drying rack from K-mart and hang the diapers.  Also if you are able to set up the rack outside in the sun every once in a while this will help sanitize and remove stubborn stains.