Friday, June 11, 2010

FAQ: Do I Really Need to Prep My Diapers?

Q: I received my diapers and the directions recommend washing 6-8 times before using! Is this really necessary?

A: I get this question a lot. Whether people are anxious to use the new diapers, really need to use them right away or just unhappy about using all the energy on unsoiled diapers, it can be tempting to skip the prep washings. Here's a guide for what needs a lot of washes and what doesn't:

Pocket diapers and covers-Washing once before use is fine. Washing is mainly to make sure that the diaper is free of any dust or grime from the manufacturing and shipping process. It's always a good idea to toss them into the dryer on low heat before using the first time, in case some of the holes created during sewing aren't completely closed up. Washing is mainly to make sure that the diaper is free of any dust or grime from the manufacturing and shipping process.

Microfiber inserts-Just as with pockets and covers, you should be fine using microfiber inserts after 1-2 washes.

All in one and all in two diapers-Depending on the insert, these diapers may take several washes to be come fully absorbent. Microfiber soakers only need 1-2 washes while natural-fiber soakers need 3-4 to use and 6-8 for full absorbency.

Prefolds and natural fibers inserts- You can probably get away with using these after 3-4 washes, but you may find that your diapers aren't fully absorbent until about 6-8 washes.

Why the need to wash natural fibers so many times? 6-8 washes is not to get the diapers clean, but to plump up the fibers for maximum absorption. As you wash and dry natural fibers, they stop laying so smooth and flat. As they are agitated, the fibers plump up and the surface area increases. The more surface area, the better absorbency you'll get. It's also important to wash natural fibers to remove the natural oils from the diapers. For this reason it's important to wash natural fibers separately from stay-dry inners the first few times.

After the first wash, it's unnecessary to use detergent in the prepping process. If you have a large amount of diapers, put them all through together. Otherwise, it's fine to prep a couple of diapers with your regular laundry. Don't forget the dryer! Natural fibers really need the tumbling in the dryer. Again, if you don't have a lot to prep, stick them in with your regular laundry.



slang76 said...

Great summary! Thanks!

TheCupcakeHead! said...

Honestly - this is beyond helpful! I've been prepping my hemp/natural cotton inserts for what seems like forever, and have to do the microfibers next and am running out of disposies!!!