washing in soft water

Robyns story

We started cloth diapering full time when we moved to a rural community in Northern BC and realized that diapers do not go on sale here like they do in the city.

I didn’t know anything about “approved wash routines.” As my mom has cloth diapered us kids in the 80s I just went with her recommendations of 2 washes with detergent.

A couple months in we started have stink issues. I decided to Google it, as one does, and came across Fluff Love Uniersity. I read through the website, joined the Facebook group and discovered “approved wash routines and detergents.”

I tested my water, and discovered our water is very soft, 0ppm.

We live on a lake, which is our water source, and it goes through a very complex water filtration system that includes a water softener. I did some troubleshooting with an advisor, and although I seemed to be doing everything right, it just wasn’t getting rid of the hot poop smell out of the dryer and the peed in barnyard. 

Somewhere I found allaboutclothdiapers.com and their Facebook group was so much more helpful and less condescending (as you know.)

Through the posts in the group I learned about detergent buildup. Jessica and Laura from Thirsties (love the Groupies!) also helped confirm this was my issue and I started experimenting with detergent amounts, lengths and number of washes and load size.

It took over 10 heavy duty cycles to wash all the detergent out from FLU’s recommended amounts. I have a picture of suds coming out of the top of my machine.

This resulted in a few months of testing out different variables and a lot of sniffing wet washed diapers and sticking my head in a hot dryer and sniffing. 

After thinking I had figured it out, had a solid wash routine, everything went south again. After weeks of me being frustrated and ready to quit cloth, we learned our washing machine was broken – it wasn’t agitating correctly.

My Wash Routine for Cloth Diapers in Soft Water:

A couple weeks after we got our new machine and some more experimenting I figured out my new routine:

  1. First wash: extra heavy soiled, heavy duty wash, warm water, deep fill with an extra spin, line 1 of detergent (I currently use Percil Proclean)
  2. Second wash: the same as above but with hot water, second rinse with extra spin and only 2 tablespoons of detergent. 

With my machine I don’t need to be too careful with load size, but I do still try to make sure the second wash is bulked to at least half a load. Although, to be honest, sometimes I only have a quarter load and it washes fine. 

Thanks to you I also attempted and was successful with using Sapadilla laundry detergent for several months. 3 Tablespoons in the first wash and 1 in the second.

It was awesome! I’ll be switching back once I get a chance to go to the refillery again.

Robyn Johnson

Canadian Cloth Diaper Mom