Here is our routine step-by-step using a front loading HE machine:
1. Load all of the soiled diapers into your machine. Toss in your wet bag or pail liner too.
2. Do one COLD "rinse & spin" with and "extra rinse" and "no spin". This will allow the diapers to be double rinsed and extra wet and "heavy" so your washer fills up extra on the next load. NO detergent. (should be about 20 min long) If you do not have a "rinse & spin" option, do one "quick wash" with "no spin".
3. Scoop your CD safe detergent (<--check out what we use) into the compartment and do a normal HOT wash with EXTRA water. (Our machine has a button to increase the water load.)
4. (Optional) Sometimes, I like to do one more HOT "quick wash" to get the diaper extra gunk-free, but this is totally optional!
5. Do another COLD "rinse & spin" cycle (ours is 19 min) with or without a CD safe fabric softener. Vinegar is a popular CD fabric softener, but I found one that I really like. I use it every other diaper load, and it leaves prefolds, flats, and inserts soft! Ecover Fabric Softener. If you are not going to use fabric softener, I would still recommended this last rinse cycle.
5. Once the diaper are spun dry, take out all diapers that have PUL (polyurethane laminate), or water resistant material (plastic like). Load all of the inserts, fitted diapers, cotton, bamboo, and/or hemp into the dryer and do one delicate cycle and set your dryer to the longest dry time. This way, the diaper dry on low for a while. Super hot dryer heat=crunchy prefolds and flats.
6. While the inserts and fitted are drying, hang the diaper shells on a drying rack and stick them outside
7. Once the dryer beeps, hang the rest of the diaper load onto racks and let the sun do its magic!
The sun is a curtail part to our wash routine! The sun naturally bleaches, disinfects, and freshens diapers. The outside fresh air is so wonderful for diapers and makes a huge difference in performance and overall feel, look, smell.
Every few washes, I toss a cloth wipe in the load that has a few drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) and Lavender essential oil. These essential oils are great for disinfecting and a fresh smell.
Another thing I do to ensure no stick issues is sink rinse extra wet diapers, nap diapers, and overnight diapers. Giving those diaper a quick rinse in the sink before tossing them in the pail is a great way to get rid of extra pee and stink before your main wash.
This routine works for us. Don't worry or feel bad if something in this routine is not working for you or if you are having issues after washing/ drying this way. I can help you troubleshoot! Please let me know if you have questions!