Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Maytag. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
I’ve heard it said that washing cloth diapers is a science. Well, it is True!
Unfortunately, though it is a science, it is not the same science for every person. Your wash routine might differ from your neighbor who has a different washing machine, it might differ from your sister several states away who has different water hardness. Though I wholeheartedly love cloth diapering, it must be said that finding the wash routine that works for your washing machine type and your water type can be a bit of a challenge.
Thankfully, I’ve had an amazing washing machine that has really worked with me during my learning process. Last year I had the opportunity to review the Maytag Bravos XL. We had never owned an HE washer and dryer before. In the 1+ years we’ve been using the pair it has been nothing but love.
Let me start off by saying that HE machines are looked on by some in the cloth diapering community with fear and trepidation. I say phoey! to that. It is quite possible to find the perfect wash routine. Our Maytag Bravos XL washing machine cleans our diapers much more thoroughly than either of our other 2 previous standard top loading washing machines. And, given that you’re going to be washing diapers every 2-3 days, having an HE machine will save lots of water and money in the long run.
So, let’s take a look at my wash routine, shall we?
Note #1: I have used Rockin’ Green Hard Rock, Tide Ultra (original) powder, and Country Save successfully with this routine. The only detergent that didn’t work for us (which doesn’t mean it won’t work for you ) was Eco Sprout.
Note #2: We have slightly hard water.
The Maytag Bravos XL has some really cool settings–almost the perfect settings for washing cloth diapers–so if you don’t have a Maytag Bravos, hopefully you can find something similar on your HE top loader.
Step 1: I dump all my diapers into my Bravos XL HE top loader. I usually have 1-1 1/2 hanging wetbags full. I set the dial to “Rinse/Drain, Spin“, set the spin speed to “Low“, and press Start. I’ve heard people recommend doing no spin, but I would prefer to get some of that yucky rinse water out before the actual washing takes place.
Step 2: After the rinse is complete, set the dial to “Allergen” and add your detergent to the detergent dispenser. You’ll have to experiment with the amount that works best for you. I use half the recommended amount Country Save for HE machines along with half a capfull of Calgon liquid. The allergen cycle uses hot water and does a short soak followed by a rinse.
Step 3: You can do your rinses one of two ways: You can either press the “Extra Rinse” button when you set your initial Allergen cycle. Or, if you’re having problems with your diapers rinsing fully (think ammonia stink) you can run a “Bulky” cycle as your rinse. The Bulky cycle adds just about as much water as a non HE machine. The increased amount of water aids in rinsing. Obviously, the first is ideal as it conserves more water, but if you’re having ammonia issues or need to strip your cloth diapers, the Bulky cycle will do the trick. Make sure you set the spin to “Max Extract“. This will help your diapers to dry faster in the dryer.
Step 4: Generally, I prefer to hang dry my covers so I separate the covers from the inserts, put the covers on my drying rack, and toss the inserts in the dryer. I set the dryer to “Timed Dry” for 1 hour 15 minutes and set to low (because I usually have some All in Ones in there). If you have no PUL in the dryer feel free to dry on medium.
- “Rinse, Drain, Spin”
- “Allergen Wash” *optional: Extra Rinse
- Optional: Bulky cycle as a rinse for stink problems or stripping diapers
- Dry on Timed dry, low heat, 75 minutes
Pretty easy when you look at it that way.
Our Maytag Bravos XL has revolutionized cloth diapering for us. Before the Bravos we were constantly battling cloth diaper stink. It was so bad that we couldn’t cloth diaper at night. Since having the Maytag Bravos XL we have not had any stink issues!!!
If you have a washing routine that works very well I’d love for you to leave your routine below! Just make sure to include what type of machine you have (top loading, top loading HE, or front loading HE) and your water hardness.