Q & A on washing cloth diapers

Question one:
I was reading your last newsletter and wondering (and maybe this is a stupid question), but if my daughter has thrush but has not had a diaper rash, do I still need to worry about “treating” my diapers for yeast?? She has had a rash here or there for a day or two during the last few weeks, but they subsided w/just some CA baby calendula cream and she still had the thrush this whole time (in her mouth) so I didn’t think it was a yeast infection on her bum but maybe just the diaper being on for too long. Thoughts?

Our reply:
The mom instinct here is to say yes, they do need to be disinfected. If she is having reoccurring issues with yeast, even if it isn’t in the diaper area yet, it does mean it is a systemic inbalance in her for now (whatever the cause), and I would treat the diapers just to make sure the yeast isn’t present in them even if it isn’t causing any diaper issues yet. Do keep on top of treating her, yeast isn’t coming from the diapers, but for PUL diapers and inserts (anything but cotton print or dyed fitteds, covers or prefolds), bleaching certainly will not hurt them, and it may help you correct the yeast problem. If you have the above mentioned items, we can work on a more gentle way to disinfect (only since she doesn’t have diaper yeast issues yet, if she did I would say they do need to ble bleached as well), and see how she does while she fights the fungal infections.

Question 2:
You mentioned in the last newsletter that you had tips for washing in cold water. I was wondering what your tips are? My washer and dryer are located in a shed in my backyard and I have no hot water running to it. My washer is a regular top-loader. My wash routine is (all cold) heavy wash no detergent, heavy wash with detergent, and an extra rinse. I started out using powdered planet detergent for about 4 months, then tried rocking green, and am currently using original powdered tide. The tide seems to be working pretty well, but ocasionally I get some stink. The majorty of my diapers are BG 3.0 with some prefolds. When I can, I take them to my mother-in-law’s and wash them in hot there, and sometimes I have the time to boil a big pot of water to add, but it is kind of scary carrying it through my yard to the shed. Any help you can give is appreciated. Thanks!

Our reply:
First of all, kudos to this mama for doing cloth with this obstacle in her way to washing! I don’t like the idea of carying the boiling water, I can’t imagine the burns one would get from dropping something like that, so that needs to be nixed. There were two things I advised to this customer to help her washing situation. First, what will help her powder in the cold water, before she goes out to wash, in her house microwave a coffee mug full of water for about 2 minutes, then mix the powder in the water to dilute it. Essentially you are creating a “liquid” detergent, but since the powder will rinse easier than the actual Tide liquid, it is still a cleaner rinsing formula. Another option she has is to use an HE detergent form of detergent, it is safe to use HE in regular machines, just not regular detergent in HE machines. It will rinse easier with less buildup.

The second step, with any cold water washing we find that semi-regular use of bleach may be needed. Hot water is much better at rinsing out detergent, with cold water many customers have to use less detergent to prevent instant buildup from locking around old urine or feces, and when you cut bck on detergent, sometimes you do need a disinfectant. I advised her if the above steps with working around the detergent still proved to be smelly, she may need a capful or bleach every few washes to lower her detergent amount and still get the diapers clean.


May 14, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Wash routines.

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