The most important first step in making sure your diapers last as long as possible is to be sure to buy good quality diapers from a reputable manufacturer. In the long run, if your aim is to save money by using cloth diapers, it makes sense to buy a product made of good quality components by a responsible manufacturer. Saving money by buying a super cheap product can backfire when the components break down too soon.And should something go wrong, you will have access to experienced troubleshooting and support – and a warranty!
Secondly, always wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the care label. Experienced manufacturers know their products well and want to ensure that you’re washing them in a way so as to make them last – so read the label carefully.
Make sure you have enough diapers in your rotation. We always recommend that you have at least 24 diapers. If you have 12 – think about it - you’ll wash them twice as much, and wear them out twice as fast…
Prefolds are easy – they wash and wear for a long time. You can soak them, dry them in a dryer, even use a tiny bit of bleach from time to time….they will stand up to lots of abuse! Anything with elastic and/or a waterproof laminate (PUL) needs more attention. One of the biggest culprits in elastic death is when detergent is not fully rinsed out of the diaper so that there is a residue left on the elastic. The diaper is dried on high heat in the dryer and then it’s only a matter of time until the elastic poops out. Residue and dryers make for certain elastic death. This is the same for laminations – residue and dryers will destroy PUL too.
How to avoid this?
Make sure that your washing machine is using enough water to fully rinse out all the soap. Adjust your water level to the max, wash only 12-15 diapers at a time, and remember – it’s not the number of rinses you do, it’s the amount of water in each rinse! If you hang to dry, you are automatically extending the life of your diapers. Heat and abrasion reduce the life of all textiles. Did you know that the lint in your dryer is actually the surface of the fabric being broken down?
For some simple tips on how to protect your diapers if you DO use a dryer, check out this short article on our BLOG.