Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top Loader vs. Front Loader; How do they affect your washing routine?

Does having a front loading washer affect the way you wash your cloth diapers?

Washing routines can seem pretty cut and day, but does having either a front loader or top loader mean that you'll need to follow a different set of instructions for washing?  The truth is, whether you have a front or top loading washing does make a BIG difference in how you should be washing your diapers.

Front Loading washers use a lot less water than top-loaders.  This does make them more eco-friendly and a greener alternative, conserving water use can never be a bad thing, right?  Well sometimes, the fact that there's so much less water involved in the washing means that you have to add yet another rinse/wash cycle to your routine.

So for a Front Loader we've got a routine that looks like this:
  • Cold Wash/Rinse cycle, no detergent
  • Hot Wash/Hot Rinse, long cycle, with cloth diaper safe detergent
  • Hot Wash/Rinse to finish, making sure that all the debri and detergent has rinsed thoroughly from your diapers.
For a Top Loader routine it is:
  • Cold Wash/Rinse, use either no detergent or a squirt of a pre-wash or booster if desired
  • Hot Wash/Rinse with cloth diaper safe detergent
  • Final rinse not needed unless you think you washed to large of a load and they might not have washed/rinse completely clean.
What about detergents for Front Loaders? This can be a tricky subject.  There are of course now many brands of detergents that are HE compliant for front loading, water saving machines.  Many are in liquid form. Can you still use powdered detergent?  Yes you can!

With powdered detergent you can either dissolve your detergent in warm water for use in your FL machine or you can place the powder directly in with your laundry.  There are other tips and tricks you will find on each cloth diaper detergents FAQ sections to help you better know how to use their product.  Below are a couple informational links to help point you in the right direction if you use a powdered detergent.
So what's your washing routine like?  Do you have a Front Loader?  Has it changed the way you wash diapers for better or worse?  We'd love to read your comments.


Anonymous said...

Yes, we have a front loader and sometimes our wash routine can get really crazy.

A normal wash for us looks like this:

1. A double rinse on cold with no detergent
2. A hot wash on heavy duty with a cold rinse
3. A double rinse on warm with no detergent

This routine above takes 2 and 1/2 hours with no breaks in between, so it is really, really long.

If my diapers need a good cleaning, I will run:

1. A heavy duty cold wash with no detergent
2. 1-2 heavy duty hot washes with detergent
3. 1 heavy duty hot wash with no detergent

If I need to strip then I will add 1 tbsp of dawn to clean diapers in a hot heavy duty wash, followed by several short hot washes to get out the suds.

Having said all of this, I love my front loader for normal stuff like clothes and towels, but I am not a fan for diapers. I feel like I am wasting sooooo much water and energy just to get our diapers clean. Wishing there was an easier way....

Sarah said...

I have an LG FL and I love it. So far I haven't had to do three wash cycles but my diapers still come out clean! Here's my wash routine:
Cold Rinse & Spin
Hot/Cold wash on heavy soil setting with an extra rinse.

And so far, it seems to be doing the job!

Sarah said...

Oh, and Nellie's is HE friendly. I've used both that and Rockin' Green.

helencounters said...

i have a samsung FL and have been cloth diapering for 3 months. it hasn't been easy and i'm constantly trying new methods. my latest seems to work best for now--the dipes are a lot less stinky.

1. cold wash/cold rinse, no detergent.

2. hot wash/cold rinse, detergent (country save).

3. hot wash/cold rinse, baking soda.

i used to only do steps 1-2, but the diapers were still smelly and not all poop came out of the inserts unless i sunned them.

still unsure exactly how much detergent i should be using (i use about 2 tsps?), or if country save is really effective. i tried rockin' green, but the first diaper out of the load with that detergent gave my son an ammonia burn (but perhaps the detergent wasn't fully rinsed out and i needed an extra wash/rinse to get it out?).

i agree with anon--feel like i'm using SO much water, especially doing 3-4 loads a week, which means 9-12 heavy washes. yikes!

p.s. sometimes i do a cold rinse/spin on the really poopy ones right after i change my son, then throw it in the dry pail.

Sarah R said...

I have a top loading HE machine, a Fisher Paykel GWL15. Great washer, by the way! The clothes (and diapers) come out much drier than in a traditional washer.

Anyway, I set the water to the highest setting just when I do diaper laundry.

-I rinse all my diapers before they go in the pain because we have hard water and well water.
-I do a cold rinse
-I then do a hot wash with detergent (Lulu's) and a double rinse
-Line dry outside (except in November - March when it's too cold in WI to do so).

Michaela said...

I have a HE FL machine and my routine is fairly simple:

1. Cold rinse with extra rinse and extra water
2. Warm wash with cold rinse and extra rinse with extra water

.... all in all, 1hr 40minutes and so far so good ... no issues at all (and I was a LOT of diapers having two boys in diapers and doing laundry every other day)

Anonymous said...

I have the WP Duet.

1. Cold tap water rinse with no spin (takes about 8 min)
2. Add soap and turn to whitest whites setting

The whitest whites setting is a hot wash with extra rinse so it's pretty easy.

miranda said...

I use RockinGreen Classic. My wash routine in my Front Loader is:

1.prewash cold no detergent
2. Hot wash detergent, cold rinse
3. Extra rinse cold.

With my washer I can preset everything including extra water. I was 20+ diapers every two days with my twins and this hase not given me any issues since we got the washer in May. If the do start to stink I use RLR but have not in over 2 months

helencounters said...

forgot to mention i do an extra wash and an extra rinse with steps 1+2.

Kristin said...

We have a front loader and I love it. We do a cold rinse/spin with no spin or detergent, then a hot wash/cold rinse with Charlies on Heavy Soil, and an Extra Rinse. Takes about 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

We used Country Save in our HE front loader and it has taken a while to develop a good wash routine. When my daughter was EBF, we did
1. Cold wash, cold rinse, extra rinse, 1 tsp detergent
2. Hot Wash/cold rinse (we don't have a hot rinse option), extra rinse 1 tsp detergent
3. Warm/Warm extra rinse, no detergent
But now that she is on solids it has taken a long time to find a good routine. The current one seems to work.
1. Cold rinse and spin
2. Cold wash with 2 tsp detergent, throw in one soaking wet towel, extra rinse
3. Hot wash with 2 tsp detergent, throw in another soaking wet towel, extra rinse

The extra water from the soaking towels seems to help prevent detergent build up.

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