Laundry tips and tricks: high efficiency machines

High efficiency washing machines can sometimes make washing diapers challenging because cloth diapers need three things to get clean:  enough water, things to rub against (other diapers!), and space to move. 

  • Enough water:  Maximize the water in your machine.  This may be as easy as selecting the "more water" setting.  Sometimes running an extra rinse is sufficient.  With other machines, different cycles use different quantities of water.  Check your manual to see which cycle uses the most by default, and select that one for your hot wash - it may be the bulky cycle, or heavy duty, or even delicates.  Many high efficiency machines weigh the load to determine how much water to use.  Try adding a wet bath- or beach towel in with your diapers to make the load weigh more so that the machine will draw more water.
  • Things to rub against:  Some scrubbing of diapers occurs manually, so do not underfill the machine.  Most people have success washing ~18-24 diapers at a time.  If your washing machine is less than 2/3rds full, adding a towel or two will provide more surface area for the diapers to rub and get clean.
  • Space to move:  Do not overfill the washing machine.  A crammed full machine will not allow the diapers to move and get clean.  

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