When you first start cloth diapering, I feel that it is a fairly common tendency to worry about whether every decision you make regarding washing and care is going to mess up your diapers. The truth is that most cloth diapers are pretty resilient, but there are a few things that will actually mess them up. Here is my list of things that will more than likely actually ruin your diapers.
- BLEACH. Yep, go ahead and put about a cup or two of bleach in your washing machine. Directly on the diapers, not in the dispenser! And do this at least every week. Or better yet, every time you wash! (Bleach is harsh, bruh. Don’t use it too much.)
- OINTMENTS. Use gobs of commercial diaper ointments. You know the ones that have all sorts of weird chemicals and fish oil in it? Slather that junk on reeeeeeeal thick!! Let the diapers soak it up. You know what happens then? You get build-up that leads to repelling and leaking. And that fish oil? It makes your diapers smell like a marché aux poissons on a hot summer’s day. And that stuff….. is hard to get out.
- OVER-SUNNING. Fry ‘em in the sun! Okay hear me out: Drying your diapers outside on the line is totally fine… as long as you remove them from the line as soon as they’re dry. If you leave them out all day in the direct sunlight and you do this repeatedly, your elastics and PUL are bound to start deteriorating prematurely.
- DRYER-ABUSE. Dry them in the dryer with some sort of weird foreign object like a crayon or wax lips. Something that will really melt down and gum up the works. Yeah! That’s the ticket! Good luck ever getting that out. (I hear WD-40 is supposed to work pretty well, actually, but… WD-40 on cloth diapers???).
- ABUSE. Run them over with your car. No wait… Don’t just run over them. Peel out on them first. Get them right under your tires and SPIN. Now I’m curious to know exactly what does happen when you do this. I wonder what part of the diaper will bust apart first? Cloth diapers are a garment, subject to wear and tear similar to your underwear. They are not indestructible.
- SOFTEN. Try to make them as soft as possible with vinegar, baking soda, BORAX, fabric softener and Dreft. No need. Cloth diapers are already soft, they are fabric. Added softeners will leave residue on the diapers which causes leaking.
- HEAT. Dry them on High Heat in the dryer each time. It won’t mess up your diapers immediately, but the repeated exposure to high heat – just as with the sun – will cause premature deterioration of the PUL and elastics. Similarly, avoid using the Sanitary setting on your washing machine. The temperature usually gets way too hot.
Obviously some of these are ridiculous (but will definitely ruin your diapers), while others are much more common. What is one of the most bizarre ways that you’ve ever ruined a diaper (or more than one)?