How to Wash and Care for Your Kanga Care Cloth Diapers
How to Wash and Care for Your Cloth Diapers: Keep It Simple
The number one thing to remember when caring for your cloth diapers is they are just another load! There is no magical solution that you should need and no crazy tricks.
- 1 Cold rinse
- 2 Hot wash: add the recommended amount of detergent for the appropriate load size.
- 3 Cool rinse
- 4 Tumble dry low or lay flat to dry in indirect sunlight.
- 1 Tide: Any Tide except: Tide Simply, Tide with Downy
- 2 Gain: All Gain except: Gain with fabric softener added
- 3 Persil: All Persil
- 4 Dreft: All Dreft
What laundry detergent ingredients are needed to clean human waste:
When selecting the appropriate detergent, Kanga Care has researched and tested name brands and small companies to find a list of approved detergents that check off all the needed ingredients to clean human waste. Through diligent research, we've identified ways to eliminate bacteria and disintegrate human waste without subjecting reusable diapers to detrimental chemicals, thereby preserving the integrity of your reusable diapers.
Numerous soaps and specialized additives are available in the market, targeting families who use cloth diapers. These products frequently lack essential enzymes and surfactants crucial for effectively cleansing reusable diapers, often leading to buildup or damage to your cloth diapers and accessories. It's important to note that maintaining odor-free and rash-free diapers should not necessitate frequent stripping or sanitizing.
Displayed in the image below are the results of tests conducted by the Kanga Care team. These results vividly show that the cloth diapers are not clean, despite using detergents labeled as "cloth safe." It's crucial to understand that the designation of being "cloth safe" doesn't necessarily guarantee cloth diapers will be thoroughly cleaned after a wash cycle.
What are enzymes and surfactants?
Enzymes and surfactants are naturally occurring substances that will help break down human waste. These are absolutely crucial when washing reusable diapers and getting them completely clean.
- The surfactant molecule has 2 ends, one end is attracted to dirt, the other to water. When surfactants come in contact with a soiled surface, like your dirty diapers, the surfactants attach one end of itself to the soil. Then when water is added to the washer, the soil is pulled away with the surfactants and washed away.
- Enzymes are a naturally occurring substance that will break down the proteins, fats and oils that are in waste without using scalding hot temperatures. Allowing them to be washed away while helping significantly with stain removal and the prevention of stains occurring.
- Enzymes potentiate the effectiveness of surfactants, which means, enzymes make the surfactants job much easier. Together they are the perfect combination of molecules to get the waste off of your cloth diapers, getting them sparkling clean and keeping them undamaged too.
Enzymes: Detergents typically contain four primary enzymes. When evaluating detergents, it's essential to identify a minimum of two listed enzymes. The statement "*contains enzymes" is insufficient. To ensure effectiveness, the ingredient list should include a minimum of two of the following enzymes.
- Amylase: Breaks down and dissolves all starches.
- Mannase: Breaks down organic waste and acts as a catalyst for other enzymes.
- Lipase: Breaks down and dissolves the molecular structure of all fat and grease.
- Protease: Feeds on and dissolves organic waste.
Surfactants play a crucial role in extracting debris from fibers after enzymes have initiated the breakdown process. They hold equal significance alongside enzymes. The positive aspect is that the majority of detergents incorporate surfactants, as these are essential for detergent functionality. With that in mind, below are a few prevalent instances of surfactants you can search for within an ingredient list, although a wide array of options exists.
- Sodium Stearate
- Alkyl Ether Phosphates
- Benzalkaonium Chloride
There are couple ingredients that you have to avoid that are in detergents that you should also check for:
- Petroleum (fabric softener added detergents will have this), this is an oil that will cause repelling.
- Sodium Cocoate (or other cocoates) This is a natural fabric softener and will cause repelling.
- Unbuffered sodium metasilicate, this causes chemical burns to the skin after being soiled on.
Special note: Homemade soap blends do not have any of these or will have very very little and will result in chemical burns when used to wash cloth diapers. Secondly, they almost always are so corrosive that they will destroy the laminate and elastic overtime as well. Please do not use homemade detergents.
Please do not use laundry additives such as Borax or Bac-out to wash your Kanga Care products.
- Borax is a strong cleaning agent and unfortunately too abrasive on cloth diapers and can lead to damage therefore using it will void your warranties. Borax neutralizes pH, which will kill odors, but this does not effectively clean human waste. You need the appropriate enzymes for properly cleaning your cloth diapers.
- Bac-out neutralizes odors and doesn’t address the underlying issue if used on your cloth diapers.
Should Vinegar be used to wash cloth diapers?
While vinegar might be suggested for addressing urine buildup on cloth diapers or as a part of daily washing routines, we at Kanga Care advise against incorporating vinegar into your regular wash regimen. The application of vinegar should be avoided when cleaning cloth diapers constructed with laminate and elastic materials due to its acidic nature. The utilization of vinegar has the potential to prematurely age the TPU laminate (waterproof exterior layer) and the elastic present in all our cloth diapers and covers.
The only Kanga Care cloth diapering items that can safely be washed with vinegar are hemp and microfiber inserts. It's crucial to note that vinegar should not be diluted in this case; instead, it should be directly applied prior to washing using the Kanga Care recommended wash routine.
Can I bleach my cloth diapers?
There are some rare occasions where bleach can be used to clean your cloth diapers. When this situation occurs Kanga Care has given special instructions on how to properly use bleach to sanitize your reusable diapers. If you believe you may possibly need to sanitize your diapers please reach out to Kanga Care at firstname.lastname@example.org before doing so. Improper use of bleach can lead to voiding your warranty. If bleach is used too often on your cloth diapers it may cause delamination, damage the laminate and break down the elastic.
Are scent and enzyme boosters okay to use in my wash routine?
You can add approved boosters to your cloth diaper laundry to help assist in washing.
*Note: boosters should not be used to cover an odor! If you are experiencing issues with odor, please reach out so that it can be resolved separately.
- Scent boosters: Downy unstoppables, Purex Crystals, Gain Fireworks, etc
- Biz: This is an enzyme booster! Great to use with a liquid detergent when you have harder water to help combat that.
- Oxiclean: Can be used with every wash added with detergent, but make sure you are not using it to cover up a wash routine issue. DO NOT SOAK!
What if my child has a yeast infection or other bacterial related rash?
If your child’s doctor has diagnosed your little one with a yeast infection or bacterial related rash you will need to reach out to Kanga Care at email@example.com for instructions to carefully treat your cloth diapers.
Prepping Hemp & Bamboo Inserts
To prep your hemp or bamboo inserts wash and dry them approximately six times before use. This will bring out their maximum absorbency. You may or may not use detergent. Microfiber inserts only need to be washed once before use.
What about the Poop?
Breastmilk Fed Poop:
You do not need to do anything. Breastmilk poop is 100% organic and will dissolve in the wash.
Formula Fed and Solid Poop:
As with any other diaper, remove as much solid material as possible at the time of diaper change (shake into toilet or use a diaper sprayer).
*Did you know that even disposable diaper companies post to their packaging that all solids should be disposed of in the toilet before tossing the diaper? Our landfills are NOT designed to handle human waste. Flush the poop!
Some expert tips & tricks to keeping your diapers healthy!
Check your home's water heater. It should not be set above 120°F. You also want to make sure to avoid using the sanitize cycle on your washing machine.
Store your dirty reusable diapers in a dry pail or wet bag (it is called a wet bag because this is where wet things can be stored. Do not fill with water). Do not store in a wet pail. Doing so will void your warranty.
Do not soak your diapers in water, detergents or additives. Soaking can damage the TPU and elastic of your cloth diapers.
When drying, do not dry in direct sunlight. The heat of the sun can damage or fade your reusable diapers. Line drying can wear out your elastic!
When stuffing your cloth diapers, wait until they have cooled from drying. Stuffing while warm will prematurely wear out your elastics.
Avoid using diaper creams. They might waterproof your diapers and you will end up with leaks. If you absolutely must use a cream, please use a reusable liner to protect your cloth diapers.
If you have ANY questions about how to wash and care for your Kanga Care products, we are more than happy to help!