One of the biggest questions and emails I get about my cloth diapers are mainly regarding my was routine. I figured why not post the answer to that here.
To start I store my diapers in these drawers.
The dirty diapers are stored in this wetbag.
It is the same concept of a "dry pail" and I leave the zipper open as long as the door to the room is open. This keeps them from smelling or stinking up the room. The diapers stay in there no longer than 2-3 days. Typically the morning of the 3rd day I am washing them because I don't have enough. My kid goes through a lot of diapers, but she also drinks a ton of liquids. It's all means more diaper changes and washes for me. Additionally, we have have a diaper sprayer attached to the toilet and when needed I will spray off any #2's before putting them in the pail.
Currently our rental home has a washer and dryer already in it so ours are just being stored. This meant I needed a new routine. My old one didn't work despite both the old and new being front loaders.
This is the new machine.
It has one feature that I both love and hate; extra water. However, you can't add extra rinses with the extra water. Extra rinse wins out so I need to add water to wet the diapers. This tricks the machine into thinking there is more in there and thus adds the extra water the cycle really needs. I found on my old machine I never needed to add water.
I run a rinse spin cycle until the diapers are soaked. I turn the machine off mid cycle. Again this is just for more water. If the diapers smell worse than normal or there were a bunch of loose #2's then I may do a quick wash without soap. I don't have to do this too often thankfully.
If I need to add more water first I do, but I put a small amount of Purex free and Clear (liquid) detergent into the mix and wash using the following cycle: Regular wash, eco warm, medium spin, and heavy soil. I also add one extra rinse. During that last rinse I make sure to see that there is no soap left in the diapers. If there is I let the cycle finish then run a rinse and spin cycle (medium spin is the max I use) as needed until all soap is removed.
When the wash is all done I sniff the diapers. Judge me all you want, but if there is any hint stink to them I will do a rinse cycle until it's gone. This is super rare though.
This is a long wash routine. I hate having to babysit the laundry like that. The rental home washer is not the best so therefore I have to overcompensate for it by using longer wash cycles. My old washer had a sanitize cycle that I loved. I would do a pre-wash (without soap); sanitize cycle (medium heat, medium spin); extra rinse as needed. I could set it all at once and know they would be cleaned without any soap or stink left in them. I digress.
You could toss them in the dryer at this point, but I don't. I hang them up over night. Flipping the inserts over half way through tends to help them dry faster.
Once dry I stuff them and back into the drawers they go.
When I run into problems I tend to find that I was a bit heavy handed with the soap. I know this because my kids have super sensitive skin. They will likely get a mild rash and that means I needed to rinse the diapers better. The build up of soap is not good. The next time I wash the diapers and I go lighter on the soap. If it was really bad I would run a whole no soap cycle again. This is rare, but it does happen.
This is not the ideal wash routine like I had with my own washer, but it will have to do. The water and electricity are ever so slightly up, but it does still cost less than disposables full time since I have already more than broken even on my stash.