I'm wondering...will I need to do anything to prep my washing machine before using it to launder my diapers? Every time I do the laundry, I keep wondering if the detergent and fabric softener I use will create a film in my machine that will mess up my diapers once I wash them.
Best practice is to give your washer and dryer a good scrubbing, use the same detergent on your diapers on the rest of your laundry, and to discontinue using fabric softener. If you use a clean rinsing detergent, like Charlies, on your diapers and a diaper-unfriendly detergent on everything else, the diaper detergent will strip the film off your washer and deposit it on your diapers.
I didn't do anything special, and wash my clothes in a different soap, and our diapers have been fine. We don't use fabric softener, though.
We don't use softeners at all. I'd recomend cleaning out your dryer if you have been using them in the dryer, but I wouldn't worry about the wash machine if you stop using the softener.
We use different soaps for different clothes (regular for most stuff, baby detergent for baby clothes and blankets, diaper-friendly for diapers) and I haven't seen any problem. I use pretty good detergents to start with though since I have sensitive skin.
We don't use any softeners other than a bit of vinegar with regular cloths (not with cloth diapers). We wash everything in All Free and Clear, except for diapers which are cleaned with Crunchy Clean (but All is diaper safe). Honestly, we're cheap so we switched to vinegar a long time ago before the baby came (and use dryer balls in the dryer lol)!
I'd discontinue the fabric softener but that's pretty much it.
We use Tide on most of our laundry, Purex baby for the baby's stuff and Rockin Green for our diapers and haven't had a problem. I have even used liquid fabric softener on some of my knitting, I just make sure to not use it on a load right before I do diapers (I actually try to do a load of towels before my diapers anyways).
DD1- July 2004
DD2- April 2006
DS1- December 2009
DS2- August 2011
We currently use Method detergent to wash our clothes and we don't normally use liquid softener, but the previous owner of our new house left some behind, so we have been using it. I guess we'll just get rid of it, and we just ran out of dryer sheets, so I won't buy anymore. I was hoping not to use the same detergent for my diapers and regular clothes, because I figured it would be pretty expensive. Hopefully, by the time the baby arrives in December, any film that is in there will be mostly gone.
Most people can use the same detergent on their diapers that they use on their clothes without a problem. As Jackie mentioned, All Free and Clear has been known to work and its cheap. I could probably go that route as well but I'm not messing with my wash routine now that I'm not having problems. I use Rockin' Green on everything. Sure, its $16 per pouch but that lasts me like 2 months. If I had more kids it would probably make a bigger dent in my budget than it does now.
It was daunting for me too when I first started. I tried Charlie's first and the size of their tubs/bags confused me. I'd never used powder detergent before. I almost bought their 5 gallon bucket! Good thing I didn't because I had to switch detergents. FYI, if you have hard water stay away from Charlies. Oh, and I use less detergent than Rockin Green says too unless its a particularly large or dirty load.