Putting It All on the Line

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.


Occam’s Razor Cloth Diaper Washing

Cloth Diaper Prayer Flags

Cloth Diaper Prayer Flags

When I first started, I used a complex system of swishing in the toilet, wet pails, and expensive, but Rocking, laundry soap. Things have changed for the better over the last 5 years. I’ve found the simplest way is the best way to keep our diapers clean and odor-free, while still being economical and environmentally friendly.

I have a variety of diapers in our stash: prefolds, all in ones, fitteds, pockets, wool and PUL covers.  With the exception of the wool, which I’ll go into later, I treat all of the rest of the diapers the same.

I shake off any poo into the toilet. Then I toss all of the diapers in a Diaper Champ. I try to wash a full load which is every 3 to 4 days.

I use homemade detergent and I fill the fabric softener container in my washer with white vinegar. If it is an especially smelly load, I’ll fill a downy ball with white vinegar as well. About once a month, I wash a load two times with vinegar only (no detergent) to strip off any possible detergent residue.

I hang everything up on the line outside and let the free sunlight and breeze do the job of drying, bleaching out any stains, and removing any smells for me. My colorfully dyed diapers, are hung on the line under the porch roof so that they don’t fade. I still have very little issue with staining even though they are not in the direct sunshine.

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Image by JPL via Flickr

Wool covers are turned inside out and hung in the sunshine instead of washed. This takes the smell out surprisingly well and I only find the need to wash wool covers if I notice an odor when wet. Approximately every 2 months, I hand wash the wool by hand with a couple of drops of Castile soap, then hang to dry. I re-lanolize after every other wash (so, about every 4 months.) First, I rinse out the castile soap. Then, I melt 1 Tbspn Lasinoh by placing it in a cup of very hot water, then stirring it into a sink filled halfway with slightly warm water. I swish the wool covers until they feel well lanolized. And finally, I rinse and hang them on the line to dry.

Have you tried hanging your cloth diapers on the line to remove stains and smells? I’d love to hear from you.


freedom of cloth carnival

Visit The Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carniva!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day :

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their family.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on the Natural Parents Network. Link up with your own Wordless Wednesday post!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their family throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

6 thoughts on “Putting It All on the Line

  1. Cool! I don’t have a clothesline, but on diaper laundry day, I just lay them all over my patio furniture. I didn’t know that hanging your wool outside helped “clean” them, though. I have to try that. I usually wash and lanolize once a month, but I hate doing it. Hanging them outside sounds like my new plan!

  2. There’s nothing like the sunlight for stain and odor removal! In California, I always hung the diapers out (after washing them in coin-op washing machines). In Utah, where we really could have used it to help with the ultra-hard water, our yard was too shaded to get the full benefit of the sunlight. Our new house here in Massachusetts has a great sunny patch in the backyard. I hope to use that for diaper-drying purposes (at least until I convert it to garden beds next year, by which time I hope we will no longer need diapers at all anymore!).

  3. I, too, love your simple and easy routine! Vinegar is my friend about every other week or so…I also find baking soda to help in any sour smell from the overnight diapers.

    we can’t hang outside due to HOA restrictions…but someday I hope too be able to use the sun to dry my dipes 😉 luckily stains don’t bother me!

  4. Yes! Sunlight does amazing things. Sadly, in Seattle we only get to hang-dry a couple months a year, but I take full advantage of it when I can. I was amazed at how quickly the sun bleached out poo stains from the diapers – less than an hour later they were white! Thanks for the tip on the vinegar too, I’ll have to try that one as well. 🙂

  5. Simplicity is such a beautiful thing! Thanks for sharing your routine.

    I love the sun for stain removal, but in our rainy climate I don’t have an outdoor line. Instead I have something strung up inside our sliding glass door and I hang any stained diapers there. The sun still does its work, even through the glass!

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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