Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cloth Diaper Delimas - HE Washers

For those of you that have an HE or front loader washing machine you know how great they are for the environment and saving water. It is ironic that they are not so good at getting cloth diapers clean. Diapers need a lot of water to slosh around in. I never had an issue with stinkies until I upgraded to an HE machine. I actually miss my top loader for diaper loads.

If you ever peek into your washer mid-cycle you will notice that there is hardly any water. Diapers absorb the majority of the wash water. Also, HE washers determine the water level by the weight of the load. Since diapers are lighter even less water is used. Your diapers end up rolling around with barely any water.

If you have an HE washer that allows you to customize the amount of water the washer uses, you are lucky! My washer has no such option :(

So I simply add a bit more to the washer.

Do a prewash/ rinse cycle first. This is important to remove any solid waste that may be left on the diapers. Then start your wash load as normal. When the washer is done filling I add about 2 pots of hot water to the load. Always follow with an extra rinse at the end of the cycle.

Now the water level is where is should be, right up to the bottom of the drum. Not too much water but just enough. The diapers now have a sufficient amount of water to agitate.

I believe in keeping it simple. This process may seem like a pain but it is so much easier than constant stripping, soaking, unnecessary sanitary cycles, additives, boiling, etc.

This process may not be for everyone, but it has been a LIFESAVER and a time saver for me :)


  1. Thanks for your post! I tried cloth with my first and had the hardest time getting them clean.. with the endless repeat washes I finally felt like I was wasting more money than saving and gave up. I'm expecting our next one in 2 months and would really like to go cloth again, so have been researching different diapers in hopes to find one that works best with our HE. This post gives me hope! One question - are you able to use synthetic diapers? I like FuzziBuns and BunGenius, but they all are synthetic, from what I can tell this is especially hard for HE's. Thanks!!

  2. I have a wide variety of diapers in my stash. My husband will only use Fuzzi Bunz and I use mostly fitteds and prefolds. Synthetics to do have a greater tendency to hold smells. I have found that this routine REALLY helps. All of my diaper developed the worst ammonia after about 2 months with my new HE washer. I also add a squirt of Bac Out to the prewash cycle to help cure stinkies. Once you get your wash routine down it really is easy! Good luck and congratulations!!


  3. My Whirlpool compact HE washer does not allow you to open the door to add water once it has begun. I do have luck with first a prewash, cold wash, and an extra rinse. Second, I do a hot wash with an extra rinse. Sometimes my BGs do not come clean enough for me so I hang them in the sun. This can mean losing at least 24 hour use of the BG due to two washes and sun drying followed by a turn in the dryer. Bumware extreme AIO come clean every time and dry in one dryer cycle. Prefolds and synthetic stuffers all seem to have problem coming clean from poos and require the same sun drying routine to bleach clean.

  4. Thanks for sharing this important tips that will be very useful for first-time mothers. It is very useful to know how to wash clothes appropriately.

  5. Very interesting tip thanks a lot, I will try next time I use the wash machine, thanks

  6. With front loaders you can always ad water through the detregent drawer! :)