When laundering cloth diapers, there is a list of detergent additives that are cautioned. This is due to the effects they have on your cloth diapers or baby’s skin. Some may be fine for your regular laundry, but not always for cloth diapers. The additives to look out for are:

Brighteners
Chlorine Bleach
Dyes
Enzymes
Fragrance
Softeners

How are you supposed to remember all of that? You don’t have to. Simply follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Our Customer Center and FAQs should have all the information you will need.

For those of you who like to know the Whys, I would like to explain the reasons why these additives are not recommended. This is my fifth and last post on the issue, with this one addressing Softeners.

Fabric softeners work by coating your laundry with oils and other ingredients that stay on the fabric, leaving it soft and static free. But it also leaves a water-repelling residue and possible carcinogens on your laundry. Fabric softener will also deposit on the inside of your dryer or washer; so if you use fabric softener on your other laundry, the softener will deposit on the cloth diapers when they are washed and dried. The residue can make your cloth diapers less absorbent, as well as possibly deteriorating any water-proof laminate. The residue can usually be removed, but damage to laminate is irreversible.

To remove residue, try running three hot wash cycles with a cloth diaper safe detergent followed by a warm rinse. You can also strip the diapers. Prevention is the best option, helping you to avoid frustration and wasted money and resources. There is another option to keep your laundry soft when using the dryer.

Use Wool Dryer Balls!

In the quest for a non-toxic solution to save resources and avoid fabric softeners, the wool dryer ball was created. The wool dryer balls work by bouncing around in the dryer and “beating” the contents, allowing the warm air to circulate into the fibers of the laundry. This can reduce the drying time by 25-45%!

Wool is a natural material that has zero toxins. These dryer balls are fragrance free, non-toxic, and naturally anti-bacterial. You will typically need from 4-6 wool dryer balls for your dryer.
Here are some great made in the USA options:

Here is a link on how to make your own: http://www.ehow.com/how_5151381_make-wool-dryer-balls.html

The use of the wool dryer balls will save you time and money as they are known to reduce drying time, and have no cost after the initial purchase.

Note: I have used the plastic dryer balls, and they did work. However I prefer the wool dryer balls, as they are sustainable, natural, and do not make as much noise in the dryer.

For those of you who use communal machines, I would hang to dry if possible, unless you know that the other users do not use dryer sheets.

You can find detergent rating charts at the following sites, which are a great help in choosing a detergent:
http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd.htm

If you have any questions, please send to support@thirstiesbaby.com. I will get them there!

Written by Sonya Choron 3/29/12