Laundry Lesson Two: Sun your Diapers!

Lesson Two: Sun your Diapers!

Seriously, sun your diapers.  People told me to do this when I started cloth diapering and I thought eh, maybe it’ll work. Now, I am a sunning convert. I don’t do it with every single wash, but I do it as often as I can. There are actually a lot of benefits to sunning or line drying clothing. How do you do it? Well, it’s simple put your wet diapers or clothing outside in direct sunlight and leave it for a while. Make sure to keep them wet if you want to keep sunning them. So if you check back and the stains are still really bad, just wet them again and stick the diapers back outside. When you’re done you can either bring everything in and use it as is (assuming it’s completely dry), or finish it in the dryer.

Here’s a few photos from my most recent sunning session!

Diapers when I put them outside. I rewet them once, and I don't know what that is on the far left one. It's some kind of dirt that's IN the fabric, but it was there after washing. I am still trying to get that out.

Diapers when I put them outside. I rewet them once, and I don’t know what that is on the far left one. It’s some kind of dirt that’s IN the fabric, but it was there after washing. I am still trying to get that out.

And after! Please excuse the pink glow from my shirt. My husband was rushing me to go to our anniversary dinner, so I didn't get the best photo..but you get the idea. Stains are basically gone!

And after! Please excuse the pink glow from my shirt. My husband was rushing me to go to our anniversary dinner, so I didn’t get the best photo..but you get the idea. Stains are basically gone!

So why should you sun your diapers? Here are a few reasons.

1. Cut your electric bill, at least theoretically.

If you’re not using the dryer as often or as long then you’re cutting down on your electric bill. Maybe it’s only pennies saved, but hey every little bit counts! Some people don’t like that line-dried clothes feel “crunchy.” If that bothers you, you can still use the dryer afterwards to toss the clothes or diapers around with some dryer balls and get the clothes soft again.

2. Bye, bye stains!

Your stains should not be as bad after sunning, but often stains will be completely gone in just a few hours. If the stain is particularly troublesome you might have to up your game some by doing multiple sunning sessions or trying some stain-fighting additives like lemon juice. I haven’t tried using lemon juice yet, so no personal experience with that one. A word of caution: I know GroVia and a lot of other diaper companies do not recommend using most plant oil or substances on their diapers. Companies are often decently picky about what you can use to fight stains since the fabrics may be organic and “caustic substances” will destroy the fabric, so make sure it wouldn’t void your warranty to try any stain additive you’re considering.

3. Bacteria? What bacteria?

Sunning your diapers naturally kills nasty things on your diapers such as yeast. It’s a way to avoid having to use harsher substances to sanitize your diapers. The jury is still out about whether bleach even works 100% to sanitize diapers, but it probably kills most things. Either way the sun is a better natural, free solution without any gross chemicals! Even if you aren’t having a problem (a lot of people never do), it’s still a good idea to periodically sun your diapers to sanitize them just to be safe. Keep in mind you can sun wet bags and pail liners, too! I try to not leave them outside as long because I figure that long-term heat is probably bad for the PUL, but I still stick them out there for an hour or so at a time assuming it’s not raging hot. I’m not an expert though, so use your best judgment on how long you want to leave anything outside sunning.


Leaping Sheep Wool Dryer Balls Review

I’ve officially used my Leaping Sheep Wool Dryer Balls daily for a month. I purchased the Leaping Sheep Dryer Balls from EcoBabyBuys.com. I was able to get 8 dryer balls for $39.95 (that includes shipping). The normal price for Leaping Sheep Dryer Balls is about $6.00-$8.00 each. I paid about $5 a piece on EcoBabyBuys.com. Leaping Sheep did not request that I review this product, and I purchased it with my own funds.

New in package Leaping Sheep Dryer Balls

New in package Leaping Sheep Dryer Balls

I ordered one multicolored flower set and one white set. The owner recommends that you use the colored ones with colored laundry and the white ones with white laundry. So far I’ve just used all of them with every load. I think the colored ones may have left a mark or two on a wet bag, but other than that I’ve had no issues mixing them. So how are they working out a month later? I LOVE them!

Some facts about dryer balls from The Leaping Sheep’s website and their shop on Etsy:

  • Hand-made from 100% wool
  • Sustainable resource
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Reduces drying time by around 25%

Using dryer balls cut my cloth diaper inserts dry time by at least fifteen minutes to half an hour depending on the load size. That may not sound like a lot of time, but when you have a smaller stash like mine you need clean diapers quickly!  The other thing I noticed is that some  of my clothes and towels came out softer than I even knew they could be. It’s like the dryer balls revitalized my clothes. I didn’t use fabric softener before baby was born, but I did use dryer sheets with every load so I was concerned about static.

Dryer balls hanging out in my dryer with my GroVia soaker pads and fleece liners.

Dryer balls hanging out in my dryer with my GroVia soaker pads and fleece liners.

Before using my dryer balls I had a ton of static since I wasn’t using anything after I stopped using dryer sheets. There is of course still some static in my clothes, towels, etc., but it’s not as bad now that I use dryer balls. Wool dryer balls are also easy to care for – if you need to clean them for whatever reason just wash them in the washer with a little detergent then dry them normally. I needed to clean mine as I sanitized everything when my daughter was fighting a yeast infection.

So how do they look after a month of daily use?

Close-up white dryer balls

They white dryer balls are a little extra fuzzy looking, but otherwise in the same condition as when I received them. Of course they are still functioning the same as well! I’ve already saved money because since I am doing daily laundry I probably would have went through at least one or two boxes of dryer sheets by now.

Close-up of Flower Dryer Balls

My flower multi-color dryer balls have picked up a bit of lint (I need to clean it off of them), but otherwise they are also in the same condition as when I received them.

I was worried about whether I would see an increase of lint in my dryer’s lint trap. I was afraid the dryer balls would pill or shed. I am happy to report that I haven’t seen an increase of lint at all! So I am in love with my dryer balls and would highly recommend them if you’re looking for a safe, eco-friendly way to reduce drying time of your cloth diapers and your clothing. Finally, I’d like to compliment the owner of Leaping Sheep as they’ve been very helpful every time I’ve contacted them. They responded within hours, and answered my questions promptly.

Connect with Leaping Sheep – Facebook

Buy them! Etsy or Leaping Sheep.com


Laundry Lessons

In a reoccurring series on this blog I am going to impart some of my many laundry lessons from the last few months. I’m not an expert, but these lessons helped me wash clothes more thoroughly and in a way that’s better for my machine. Apparently my laundry skills needed a lot of improvement!

Lesson One: Load Size

This is probably common sense to some people, but it wasn’t to me. I have a front-loading high efficiency washing machine and dryer and I filled my washer to the brim at every wash. When it was time for our washer’s maintenance, the repairman gave my husband some cautionary tales. My husband passed those lessons on to me. Filling the machine completely is very bad because if you’re washing heavy things (e.g. towels) it can actually throw off the drum and will eventually damage and/or break the machine. Over time the unbalanced drum grinds against the outside of the machine causing wear. We’re talking a seriously expensive repair if a repair is even possible. So don’t wash a huge load of laundry in your HE front loader (HE FL)! If you’re washing a lot of heavy items do not fill the machine more than about halfway, maybe fill it even less if you can. It’s just not worth breaking your machine or shortening its lifespan.

Another issue with washing too many clothes at one time is that HE FL machines do not use a lot of water (hence the HE part). If you put too much in the machine the items you’re washing won’t get enough water to adequately rinse out your detergent OR the grime. That means when you dry your clothes, towels, etc., they still have detergent in them and that detergent is sitting against your skin, yuck! Check your manual of your machine and determine which settings are appropriate for your wash load. All of those settings mean different things. For my machine the bulky/bedding setting seems to produce the most water, so I make sure to use that for big loads like towels or cloth diapers. I find that the “load sensing” technology on my normal setting doesn’t produce enough water to adequately clean big loads. I’ll talk more later about trying to trick your machine into using more water. The HE feature is great for money-savings, but sometimes not so great for cloth diapers which require A LOT of water to get clean.

What are some things you’ve learned about laundry that you have to share?