Poopy diapers, HE washing machine and cold water.

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AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
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Poopy diapers, HE washing machine and cold water.

I'm sure this topic has been discussed on this board before, but I'm going to bring it up again. I washed poopy diapers for the first time today. I have and HE, front loading machine and no hot water to the washer, so all of our clothes get washed in cold water only.

The diapers, even a soak and two wash cycles still had poop in the crinkles at the legs where the elastic bunches up. I finally washed it out by hand on those diapers. Any tips on this?

And, the inserts are stained. Should they have washed clean or is that normal?

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Any way to get hot water to the washer? Or at least warm? I don't have an HE, but can you safely add extra hot water to the wash?

I have heard of some people need to "trick" their HEs to give more water, so they add a soaking towel to it for more weight.

Usually a wash routine is cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, cold rinse (part of the normal wash cycle), extra cold rinse. Some diapers claim to not use hot water, but I always do. It's the only time I use hot water period with our washer. If you don't use hot water I'd suggest at least warm (which some people said has worked fine for them).

As far as poop goes, if it's just EBF it should wash out. Staining is normal from it. Maybe do a DIY diaper sprayer to spray them off if it's an issue but it should wash out. Maybe it's not getting agitated enough? Beee Wish I knew more about HEs, but we have super cheap old top loader!

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

hmmm, I have a HE front loader and don't have this issue, but I do a cold rinse, hot wash, double cold rinse after. I've checked after the first cold rinse and mine have rinsed out the poop by then so I don't think it's a Hot water problem.

How many diapers were in the wash and how long did you go before washing them? If you don't have enough or wait too long you can have more issues.

ambie719's picture
Joined: 10/03/07
Posts: 811

From what I've read, a hot wash is necessary to kill bacteria. So if you're going to do only cold you'll need some sort of additive. Here is a thread that talks about it. Hopefully you can find some good advice there.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

I've been reading that some people actually first run cold wash first without any detergent and then a 2nd wash with detergent (make sure you're using less than you would with clothes!). Then an extra rinse. Most stuff should work out during the rinse cycle cause EBF poop is water soluble.

One blogger said that after a regular initial rinse in her HE she runs a 2nd rinse with no spin. This way she has more weight and therefore more water when she does the wash cycle.

A post on JM says that she sprays off all poop diapers (even EBF) before throwing in the pail and then has no issues.

And your hard water might be adding to it (was an issue for me!). Several people recommend Calgon with detergent since it's a water softener and should help make the detergent work better since you don't want to keep adding detergent (typically leads to stink).

It's not you Anna, it's the washer. You can overcome it!!!

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

What about special setting on your washer? If I have a really poopy load I'll run a "Whitest Whites" wash after my initial rinse. it really gets things cleaner, I'm not sure if it's hotter water or spinning more though, you'd have to read the manual for the washer.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I've tried various settings on the machine with extra rinse cycles, on heavy, normal, sport all with an extra rinse cycle and starting with the soak cycle.

I use Vinegar in my laundry anyway so I automatically did it with the cloth diapers, but I'd still like to be able to get the actual poop washed out of the diapers without a whole bunch of extra work. I really don't think it's a water temperature issue, but I did ask DH what it would take to get hot water to the washer. He said, "a lot". His solution is for me to boil water, and then slosh 'em around in a bucket of hot water before washing them in the washer. Hello, lots of extra work I don't want to do and don't have time for, really.

Anyway, below is a picture of a diaper that was washed 4 times on various settings in the washer.
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TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

That's poop I see, right? Not just a stain? If its poop then that's most certainly a problem with your washer. Its not that its cold and its not a hard water problem. The poop just plain isn't coming off. That's an agitation problem. I'm really not much help when it comes to that because I have a old top loader that's agitates just fine.

How many diapers are you loading into the machine at once? Perhaps you're over loading it? Is your washer still under warranty? Maybe get it looked at?

Hot water isn't necessary. Its never going to be hot enough to kill bacteria. Diaper detergents are formalized to work best in hot water. Its a solubility thing. Compounds have different solubility curves so its best to wash according to the instructions given on the detergent. BUT that doesn't mean the effectiveness is going to decrease so much so that the poop doesn't come off.

Spraying may not help because its in the creases. When I spray, I get 99% of the poop and the 1% is in the creases.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

"TiggersMommy" wrote:

That's poop I see, right? Not just a stain? If its poop then that's most certainly a problem with your washer. Its not that its cold and its not a hard water problem. The poop just plain isn't coming off. That's an agitation problem. I'm really not much help when it comes to that because I have a old top loader that's agitates just fine.

How many diapers are you loading into the machine at once? Perhaps you're over loading it? Is your washer still under warranty? Maybe get it looked at?

Hot water isn't necessary. Its never going to be hot enough to kill bacteria. Diaper detergents are formalized to work best in hot water. Its a solubility thing. Compounds have different solubility curves so its best to wash according to the instructions given on the detergent. BUT that doesn't mean the effectiveness is going to decrease so much so that the poop doesn't come off.

Spraying may not help because its in the creases. When I spray, I get 99% of the poop and the 1% is in the creases.

YES! It's not even coming off the diaper, especially in the creases. No warranty, unfortunately. The only hope I have is that we sell the house with the washer in it and either buy a house with a better washer or buy a new washer. And spraying didn't solve it either and for the exact reason you stated. I'm having to hand wash the poopy diapers. This is not what I had in mind when I decided to give CDing a go. Hopefully, we can sell the house soon.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Does an overnight soak help at all for the poop? I do remember reading a blog about a lady who always hand washes all of his diapers. She tried making it sound fun. Pretty sure she's nuts. Wonder if I can find it though....
Maybe when you move search locally there to find someone selling a super cheap top loader. Doesn't need any fancy settings. I've seen them go for $50 here which makes me wonder why the heck I ever bought new to begin with. . .

HA found one of the hand washing blog posts I remember reading before: Cloth Diapering Without A Washing Machine
Handwashing Cloth Diapers- Washing Cloth Diapers by Hand

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

You haven't answered about how many diapers you're putting in the washer at once.

For rinsing, you need a LOT of water, right- as much as you can get. BUT, for washing, you need the "swish" factor- you need the diapers to be swishing against each other- sort of rubbing against each other, washing each other! I actually have adjusted my wash routine in this way- I rinse on "large" and but wash on "small" (because I'm not washing that many diapers at once anymore, especially with DD PTing).

Anyway, with a diaper like that, that you could like make sure it's turned inside out for the wash? Like, even if that means leaving it snapped, but, turned inside out?

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Mara there's some convo left out b/c we took some of it to our BB chat. Sorry! She only has 14 diapers total if I remember correctly.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Getting a different washer just for CDing sounds like a terrible pain ... but I'd do it because I'm crazy like that. You can easily pick up a used toploader really cheap. People are moving to the HE front loaders and selling their toploaders for pennies. Just make sure its a reputable brand and that its not tooo old. I think my washer is like 9 years old or so. I don't really know. I bought the set from an old roomate for $100 like 5 years ago. You could even sell your front loader, buy a top loader and have money left over!

14 diapers shouldn't be too many at all. I washed waaay more than that in my SIL's front loader and they washed up just fine.

ambie719's picture
Joined: 10/03/07
Posts: 811

Could it be possible that 14 isn't too many but too few, and that because its such a small load they aren't agitating properly? Could you try throwing in an old towel or two to see if it helps?

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"ambie719" wrote:

Could it be possible that 14 isn't too many but too few, and that because its such a small load they aren't agitating properly? Could you try throwing in an old towel or two to see if it helps?

This was basically my point... but then I thought... how does a front loader really agitate anyway?? The clothes/diapers just fall on each other when the spinning slows down.

Good luck, Anna. I hope you can figure it out!

I like Erin's idea of selling the HE, buying a cheap top loader, and having money left over!:)

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

"ambie719" wrote:

From what I've read, a hot wash is necessary to kill bacteria. So if you're going to do only cold you'll need some sort of additive. Here is a thread that talks about it. Hopefully you can find some good advice there.

I rarely ever use hot water, and no one I talk to here who uses cloth uses hoy water either and our nappies all come out fine and no stinkies etc. It's not required really. My nappies also get sunned regularly which I much prefer than using hot water, I find it to be a watse of resources for me.

Anna have you tried mixing your laundry powder with some warm water before putting it in the dispenser, I have a read a few things that say thats how powder should be used for best effectivness in a front loader, not sure if it's true or not. I use a liquid but am wanting to try soap nuts, too bad all my extra cash is goign to go on petrol for travelling this week,

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Correct. Hot washing does not kill the bacteria. It helps the detergent work more efficiently and such, but it does not sanitize the diapers in the least bit. The hot water in residential water tanks does not get nearly hot enough and if they did they would destroy your diapers faster. However, sunning diapers does help a bunch!

Commerical diaper services use prefolds mostly because those can be washed at the very hot temps needed much easier than other modern cloth diapers.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

Thats why my hospital uses terry flats, they can treat em mean and they keep on working.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

I wanted to say that I usually wash about 14 diapers at a time in a front loader HE and am not having this problem. I think Anna's washer is not working correctly. Sad

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

It has to be the washer. Stupid piece of junk. When I stand there and watch it, it seems to be working fine, but it's not like I've spent a lot of time examining front loading washers for efficiency. I've tried everything I can think of. I've tried adding towels, wet ones and dry ones, to make a 'full' load of diapers, I've tried every setting on the machine, I'm using a liquid detergent, but I suppose I could add some hot water to it and then put it in the dispenser.

My routine now involves immediately spraying any poopy diapers, but not just spraying off the bulk amount, I have to spray and spray until I get every bit of poop off the diaper, and that means I have to stretch the elastic to make sure I get it out of all the creases and crinkles. Then I soak all the diapers in a bucket of hot water and agitate with my hands. Then I toss them in the washer and do the rinse, wash, double rinse. I bought some Calgon water softner, and have been using that as well. I then do a smell check and repeat the wash routine until I can't smell poop or pee anymore.

It's made me bitter about CDing though. Now I have to get a different washer if I want clean diapers. I should be getting special diaper detergent (I've been using ALL free and clear), I need to find some CD safe diaper cream that works on my kid since I apparently can't use anything you can buy in a store in this town. Basically, this CDing thing is turning into a huge nightmare and it's feeling less and less like it was worth the initial expense and now the other little expenses that keep sneaking in there and then all the hassle! I feel like all I do anymore is fidget with those diapers trying to get them clean and trying different things to see if I can get them to stop leaking everywhere, all the freaking time.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Oh Anna. I'm sorry CDing has been such a nightmare for you. I wouldn't put up with the routine you're doing. That's just too much to handle right now. If its that huge of a hassle, I say throw in the towel ... at least for now. You can always sell the diapers you bought and get most of your money back. You can always put the diapers away and use them later or even on the next kid. Will you be taking this washer with you to the new house? It might be an easy thing to swap it out for a different one during/after the move. I really really don't think its a detergent thing or a hard water thing. You're just not getting the poop off and that's got nothing to do with detergent or water. Also, you don't want to drive yourself crazy figuring this out just to move and have to figure it out all over again with a new setup.

Oh, and there's no need to mix liquid detergent with hot water. Liquid detergent is already in solution. Its the powdered stuff that sometimes needs a little heat to help it out.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I can't stop. Me buying these diapers was conditional on me actually CDing and not just 'throwing in the towel' if I didn't like it. I never thought I wouldn't like it. And it's not that I don't like it. I love the idea of it and the not buying diapers all the time and the cute prints. I just don't have the money to invest in a huge stash of a variety of diapers that I would like to have and I'm extremely soured on the extra work it's causing me. I never dreamed it would be that much of a challenge just to clean them.

My CDing fantasy was that I would just collect a pile of dirty diapers and then toss them in the wash and all it would be was an extra load of laundry. That isn't what I got.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

A huge stash really isn't necessary. Yes, I have a ton. But I have a problem. Besides, mine are mostly prefolds and some Sunbabies and Kawaiis I got second hand from Leigh. I've rarely purchased a diaper new (just some covers and a few prefolds). The ONE time I bought a new pocket diaper it was the diaper from my worst nightmares.

Most of the time for most people, CDing is just like your fantasy. Occasionally, it just isn't. Take Leigh's experience for example. Addy gets horrific diaper rash is CDs and for some reason its better in sposies. She had to do what she had to do for Addy's well-being and for her sanity. I'd have done the same.

I think you have to ask yourself if CDing is accomplishing anything that you set out to accomplish. If so, keep chugging. If not, then its completely fine to stop. Don't feel like you need to prove anything to anyone (even yourself) by continuing. At the end of the day, its just a diaper and you have to do what you have to do to get through the day without constantly battling poop.

Do you have a friend/family member's house you could wash them at just to see if their washer gets the poop out? If it doesn't then its possible that the elastic on the diapers is too tight and its holding onto the poop with a death grip. If that's the case, I'd return the diapers, get your money back, and try something else. A lot of diaper vendors are more than happy to work with you (except maybe Sunbaby ... I've heard they're kinda *****y).

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Hey hey! Idea! You said you had prefolds but no covers, right? Why not try using the pockets as covers? I've done it in a pinch and its worked just fine. Prefolds should wash out a lot better and are usually the silver bullet when it comes to leaks.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Also, where is he leaking from? The night time Kawaiis that I have gap at the legs something fierce so I have to put a cover over them. They're older (~ year at least) so maybe they've been redesigned but that was a big problem for a little while until I figured out to put a Blueberry cover over them. Kind of a hassle but we just use them at night and they're pretty bullet proof.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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I'm wondering Erin if the Kawaiis are leaking b/c they're tight at his cute but huge thighs? So compression with the microfiber? The ALL she's been using might be giving her repelling issues. I know lots of people don't have issues with ALL, but I've found mention of this rare but possible issue in a few places. *sigh*
I agree that that routine is nuts. Anna I've seen that you've posted on the local FB page about cloth. Maybe see if one of them is gracious enough to let you use their washer once to see if it helps. In WF while I was there a stranger offered to let me use her washer! Shocked the heck outta me. If I was smarter I would have taken her up on it. Blum 3

ambie719's picture
Joined: 10/03/07
Posts: 811

I'm sorry this is such a hassle for you. Sad Getting the right wash routine down can be the biggest pain, and then having to change up absorbancy as they grow can also mess with your routine, but that does sound excessive. I hope you can find some sort of solution, whether its going back to disposables, finding some other way to get your diapers clean, taking them to the laundromat, whatever, so that its not such a huge stress for you.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Anna, I'm also sorry you're still having such a rough time. I feel like I sort of know how you feel, because our diapers were great for maybe not quite a year, and then we just were always having SUCH stink issues. The board was littered with posts from me looking for some kind of answer to my problem. And I, like you, was just SO disappointed that I was having so many problems, when I was SO into cloth and so looking forward to using it. The good news is that I eventually figured it out (for me, it was mostly a detergent issue), and now I'm good. I hope you can figure something out!

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

I've finally figured out a wash routine that I think is going to work for us. Thanks to some help from a local FB group of crunchy moms. It involves Calgon water softner, and multiple cycles of washing but I tried the routine today with a couple of non-prewashed poopy diapers and they were completely clean, not even any stains!

In other news I am still having MAJOR leaking issues in the Kawaii Minky diapers. With both kids. So I'm going to try to sell off the majority of these diapers, keeping a few, and then buying/trading for some other stuff.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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YAY for a washing routine that's working!!!

ambie719's picture
Joined: 10/03/07
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Yahoo Yay for finally finding a good wash routine!!! Biggrin

Sorry about the Kawaiis though, I never really cared for minky and have heard that they tend to wick around the legs more than regular PUL, which of course doesn't help with leaks. If you're looking for affordable alternatives Sunbaby and Alva have worked well for us, and check our Diaperswappers.com for used diapers if you'd like to try a few different brands before settling on one that works for you.