Everyone knows that front loading washing machines are more efficient, using less water and less detergent to do the job. So, if you plan to use cloth diapers (and wash them at home) you’ll want a front loader, right?
While some mamas manage to make front loaders work, everyone seems to agree that they make washing diapers a bit more challenging – precisely because they use less water. Think about it: you’re washing something lightweight that’s highly absorbent. The machine automatically gives the load little water, and the diapers suck it up, with only a bit left over in the wash. This can lead to stinky diapers, that aren’t fully clean, and detergent build-up, because of incomplete rinsing.
I cloth diapered with BumGenius Pocket Diapers for about 6 months, washing in a top loading machine. Then, I had to switch to a fancy, top-of-the-line front loader for about 9 months. I immediately smelled a difference! I tried using less detergent. I also changed from doing a pre-rinse before my full hot/cold wash to doing a full cold wash before my hot/cold wash. Neither change seemed to really make a difference. When I was able to switch back to my top-loader, the smell significantly subsided.
Well, I wondered if it was just me until I received an email from a customer who experienced the same smell-issue when she got a new front loading washing machine. After some research online at DiaperSwappers.com, here are some tips for washing cloth diapers successfully with a front load machine:
- Don’t use too much detergent – 1 tbsp is a standard, though you may need less
- Switch to Tide HE powder detergent – mom’s with top loading machines say they see an immediate improvement when they switch to this product (especially an improvement over natural detergent brands)
- Use options for extra rinse, extra water and presoak whenever possible. Anything that puts more water in the load will help avoid the stinkies.
- Do at least 2 full cycles (one cold, one hot – both with extra rinses). If you’re still having troubles, try adding a 3rd cycle. This can make a load take 3 hours to wash… which is why a top loader is more convenient.
- Tricks for “tricking” the machine to put more water in each load
- Use delicate or hand wash cycles, which automatically use more water
- Manually shorten the spin between cycles (and never use spin max extract), because the water left in will make the diapers seem heavier to the machine. The machine will respond by adding more water to the next cycle.
- Pour a few gallons of water into the machine through the soap dispenser during the wash cycle. This seems to be the last resort for those that are desperate!
If you have any tips to add, please share!