Conservation Tips: Washing Cloth Diapers at Home
A home washing system can be made to be even more conservative than a diaper service (which, because they aggregate diapers, is actually quite green already). Here are some keys to conserving resources and money when washing diapers at home:
- Do full loads, either by removing the poop beforehand and mixing with other clothes or doing full loads of just diapers.
- Avoid harsh cleaners (especially chlorine bleach and fragrances) and only use a small amount of a gentle laundry detergent to prevent stinky buildup. Consider a laundry ball, wool dryer balls, soap nuts, or one of the many cloth-diaper-specific laundry detergents. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can ruin your cloth diapers.
- Use cold water and line dry as the routine (domestic hot water doesn’t get hot enough to sanitize). For occasional sanitizing use a few drops of tea tree oil or some oxygen-based whitener in the wash, do a special pre- soak in boiling water, put them in the dryer on high heat, or hang them to dry in direct sunlight. Driers use a lot of energy and it is easy to toss the diapers on a line for at least part of the drying time. Less time in a tumble drier means your diapers will last longer, too.
- Whiten diapers by using a few drops of lemon in the wash or an oxy- gen-based brightener. And line dry in the sun as often as possible.
- Consider a front-load washer if you are in the market to buy a new one. It will greatly reduce water and energy use.