How do I wash my Serwa Chic diapers/deal with stink and stain issues?
So let’s talk washing, as that seems to be the number two most frequently asked question I get (number one would be asking about the different types of diapering options). When you order diapers from Serwa Chic, you also get a little page with washing, drying, and defunkifying instructions, but just because you don’t order from me doesn’t mean you don’t need clean and stink-free diapers! My only disclaimer is that these methods are all things that I’ve found online, and they’re what have worked for me. I’m NOT an expert, so all of this is totally just personal experience.
Alright, so basically the ideal is to do a cold first rinse, hot wash, and then cold second rinse. The first rinse is to wash off excess poo, and the second rinse is to wash off excess detergent. If you go more than a few days between washing your diapers, I’d recommend doing a couple of cold rinses at the beginning or even soaking overnight (to prevent your diapers from smelling like ammonia). I know that all washing machines are different, so I’d just recommend doing whatever combination of button pushing, twisting, or pulling that results in something similar to that. Cloth diapering isn’t a science, and I promise that you won’t ruin your diapers if you do something else or forget the first rinse one time (because I’ve forgotten that first rinse PUH-lenty myself!)
You can use pretty much any detergent to wash diapers, but just like with your baby’s clothes, you probably want to stick to something free of allergens. I use OxyClean the most, but have also used Charlie’s Soap, Dreft, and Free & Clear Purex. Just make sure you only use about half the recommended amount of detergent – too much will cause a build up which will make your diapers leak.
If you’re having a stink problem, vinegar has worked wonders for me. Just pour a little in (I use about 1/4 cup per large load) with the hot wash. I have also used tea tree oil with success – but unless you love smelling like Whole Foods, a tiny drop will suffice. Tea tree oil has the added benefit of being anti fungal – always a bonus where poo is involved. Again, if you accidentally put the vinegar or tea tree oil in with the first rinse instead of the wash – no big deal.
I’m just using a pretreatment of Dreft Spray & Wash to get out the stains, and that seems to be working just fine. I wash all of my diapers, and as I’m pulling them out to dry, I set aside the ones that are still stained (usually only one or two per large load – if any), spray stain remover, and throw them in next time I’m washing diapers. For white diapers, spraying lemon juice and letting them dry in the sun works wonders. Sun drying diapers helps with stains on any color.
For drying, I adamantly recommend air drying. I do dry our diapers in the dryer occasionally, but they always smell when I pull them out – and I’m reminded of why I am so adamant about air drying! The dryer is tough on the elastic and Velcro, makes the diaper hold their stench, and is costing you money when air drying is free. I use a clothesline when it’s nice and our dining room chairs when it’s not.
If you’re having leaks or major stink issues, you might have a build up of detergent on your diapers. Squirting Dawn (about a tablespoon) in with your diapers when you wash them will “strip” them of that detergent and bring them back to their absorbent selves. Just make sure you keep running the diapers through the wash cycle until the water stops bubbling. Why Dawn? I have absolutely, positively no idea. And I have no clue if the off brand would work just as well or not – though I’d assume it would if the ingredients are the same. Ingredients? Does dish soap even have ingredients?
I hope that helps demystify some of the burning cloth diaper questions out there. Feel free to check out the rest of our FAQ for more break-it-down-and-make-it-simple info about cloth diapering!