Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Water Washes All Things Away

I am a lucky girl.

After a year (or more) of working around a washing machine that literally ate holes in our laundry we were finally able to replace it with a HE washer. Hurrah. The up side is that I can retire the delicate bags I had been using to protect our nicer clothes from the jaws of doom. Laundry is much easier when all you have to do is toss it into the machine and let 'er run. It feels weird, but very nice. I'm taking it for granted that the machine is actually cleaning the clothes, though I don't know how this is even possible with such a small amount of water. I use more water to spot clean after embarrassing salsa incidents. But whatever. It line dries before I even have the clothes pins snapped on so it has to be ok.

The drawback to all of this technological luxury is that I have no idea how I'm supposed to get the cloth diapers clean. Let's just say that the "Heavy Soil" setting doesn't even begin to imagine that you'd want it to clean off POOP. The machine sits there like a spoiled debutante with a wrinkled nose and says, "You want me to clean what?" And I say, "Yes, I do, Cupcake! Try again."

Have any of you advice on what it takes to get one of these fancy-dancy washers to clean cloth diapers?

With my old washer, I'd run a shorter load with cold water and then run a longer load with hot water and an extra rinse. That was it. If it was extra toxic, I'd run another short load on hot, minus the dry bag and any other waterproof things. Tonight, with the new machine, I tried a prewash, a regular cycle on warm, and an extra rinse. All this with the "Water Plus" button pushed because the extra water is really necessary with the diapers. The big drawback is that this took nearly TWO HOURS to complete.

Can you help me? Please tell me what you know!


Sahara said...

I don't have any advice--I usually run them for multiple cycles: a rinse, one or two washes (each with extra rinses)--one with soap and one without, and sometimes an extra rinse if I notice soap bubbles still coming out on the final FINAL rinse. It does take forever, especially considering our laundry machines are in the same room that the baby naps in, and so they can't be run during naptime. It's a pain in the butt, but still better than having to lug packages of diapers home all the time.

scmom (Barbara) said...

An HE washer takes longer for everything. That's the sacrifice for less water -- more time. The good thing is, during a lot of that time it is just sitting and the clothes are wet (meaning, at least it's not using electricity all that time). Do you add white vinegar to your diapers? It's a great laundry aid and you won't smell it when they are finished.

Jennie C. said...

I have no way to get cloth diapers clean in the HE machine. In fact, I will go so far as to say it is not getting ANY of our clothes clean. I'm sorry, very very sorry, that we ever got it.

I use a little bleach on the diapers every time. Short wash with cold water, whitest whites wash with a little bleach, and then an extra rinse with vinegar. I can't get 'em clean without the bleach.

Knittymama said...

I do something similar. I do the speed wash cycle on cold to just rinse them out. Then I do the regular cottons cycle, push the temp up to hot, use extra water and the extra rinse. That seems to be doing the trick, although it still takes 90 minutes.

Isn't it nice that we've got great clothesline weather again? :-)

Not Jenny said...

Hello. I found your blog through Handmade Homeschool.

My cloth diapering friends have mentioned putting a wet towel in the washer with the diapers--the towel adds weight which makes the washer add more water.

Good luck!

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

I just got a new washing machine, too, after mine started making strange noises. I'm not doing cloth diapers (never did), so I have no help in that area - sorry!

Thanks for commenting on my blog recently - I'm writing down all your great ideas for future blog posts! As far as educational reviews, I have done quite a few of those; check out the "reviews" link under the "posts by category" tab. I was thinking of reviewing more in-depth some of the curricula we've used long-term over the years. We'll see!