Friday, March 15, 2013

Cloth Diaper Sunning

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper Spencer before he was even born. Some friends even threw me a Surprise Cloth Diaper Shower. Spencer was born December 26th and between his week in NICU and just feeling intimidated, I didn't start cloth diapering until mid-January 2012. At first, I was having to machine-wash every day.

The next step was to line dry my prefolds rather than just the covers. We moved into our travel trailer in March and they don't allow drying lines. I did, however, find a cheapy ($10) drying rack I could set up.

It was costing me $1 per load to wash and $1 per load to dry. The prefolds were thick enough that 1 drying session wasn't getting them completely dry, but I couldn't see spending an extra dollar to get them a little more dry. This was a good solution.

I also dug out more prefolds so that I could wait to wash every other day.

Here is 1 poop-stained diaper, hung to dry and photographed at 9:40. I figured that sunning diapers to remove stains required several repeat sunning sessions, but was curious to see how much difference might be evident after the first attempt.

Imagine my surprise, when 2 short hours later:
This is the same poop-stained diaper, photographed at 11:50!

Not everything comes out perfect after each sunning session, but there is definitely a marked improvement! The sun has natural antibacterial properties, so it isn't just the color of the stain that is being lifted. I also feel good about saving energy. I might like to dry more clothes eventually, especially family cloth and cloth baby wipes.

I don't sun every prefold every time I wash right now. I usually do all of these white ones, then the next time I line dry all of my pink ones. They're a different style.

I will say that my diapers are a bit stiff after sunning. There are a couple of ways I fix this: Grab the end of a diaper and smack a corner with it, beating it back into submission softness. Using vinegar in your rinse cycle can help, too. (Be sure your particular diapers/covers don't say not to wash wash with vinegar.) Sometimes I just grab both ends of the diaper and wind it around. It is just a matter of moving the fabric around.

There is one problem with this particular drying rack.
It catches the wind. Keeping it on top of the table was not my smartest moment, but it was easy to reach all the levels. I've had it blow over when sitting on the ground, too. I have to wedge it between the table and the fence. We've moved now and I still have a rack like this, but I'll soon be installing a drying line on our back porch.

Do you sun your diapers? Do you have any pointers to share?
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