Tag Archive | "drying cloth diapers"

Washing and Drying Cloth Diapers- Detergents and Drying Racks {Video}


soapsIgnore the completely un-sexy title because I couldn’t think of a way to make it sound more exciting.  For the final video in the series on cloth diaper accessories during this Everything but Cloth Diapers Event I’ve focused on washing and drying cloth diapers.

 

Detergents

This video is not about how to wash cloth diapers but it does cover a few detergent options such as Molly’s Suds (they have a new cloth diaper powder releasing soon that my reviewer Lara has been testing- she loves it!) and Eco Nuts (as seen on Shark Tank!).

I’ve tried many, many detergents over the years.  I only had these two on hand to show but I’ve also had success with Rockin’ Green and *gasp* Tide.  I always suggest checking the Pinstripes and Polkadots detergent list and referencing the recommended detergents for the brand(s) of diapers you choose to use.  Certain detergents work better for certain fabrics and diapers.

Drying Racks

The drying racks portion is super fun because I was able to test a few new products for drying cloth diapers and share my own items that I’ve been using for years.

rackdryingI have an old Ikea drying rack that fold flat for storage.  It holds a fair amount of diapers and it is great to use for draping flats over.  If you pair it with an Ikea Octopus you can optimize the space.  The rack is called Jäll and is sold in Ikea stores.  This puppy has been in use for years and gets extra bonus points for being the rack of choice during the flats challenge for 3 years running.


The Ikea Octopus is pretty much an essential item for drying diapers in my opinion.  If you don’t have an Ikea near you it seems that Amazon sells them online (I had no idea until I checked!) It is more expensive than buying in the store but if you have Amazon Prime it will ship free. Also, the New Clothesline Company makes something similar called the Duo.

laundryhangingSpeaking of the New Clothesline Company- I was sent a Lofti to include in the video. This is a nifty gadget that you mount to your ceiling. It utilizes a pulley system- pull it down to hang your diapers or clothes on it, then pull it back up to have it out of the way. As shown in the video, I had to “modify” the size by leaving out one set of poles in the middle during the assembly once I realize it would be too long for my small space. At least that is an option! The cool factor of this item is off the charts and it can really optimize your laundry room. I will say that assembly was more intensive than I anticipated (you must lube the tubes!) and you will want to measure your laundry room and locate the studs in your ceiling before making a decision to purchase. It has to hang from studs! I was able to hang it myself, and with the help of a hammer covered in a prefold I was able to pound the tubes together for a tight fit. As much of a headache as it gave me I still love it.  This rack will easily be used for many years to come for your clothes as well so don’t think of it as a {fairly} permanent addition to your home that only meets your needs for the diaper years.

Best drying rack for cloth diapersThe Best Drying Rack says it in the name! This rack looks a little strange and a bit “country” due to the wood and metal construction, however it is ingenius! It does not fold as flat or compact as the Ikea Dry Rack I have but it has way more space and the fact that it can be turned makes hanging clothes and diapers dry a fast and easy process. My biggest concern with the product was that it could pinch little curious fingers- if you decide to purchase one you may want to keep it in an area that can’t be accessed by little ones. My son was fascinated by it and enjoyed pulling the arms out and spinning it around. Maximum drying space doesn’t come without a price- it was too large with the arms extended to fit in my laundry room so drying had to take place in my entryway or out on the deck.  In addition- if you are looking to buy US made products then look no further.  Best Drying Rack is made in the USA and is a family run business.  They also sell another of my favorite accessories for handwashing diapers- the Breathing Washer.

Since this is the final video in the Everything but Cloth Diapers series you may want to look back at what you’ve missed.

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Tumblewool Dryer Balls Review (They’re BIG, yo) and a Giveaway!

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It has taken me 4 years of cloth diapering to finally try wool dryer balls and publish a review. If you are me and run Dirty Diaper Laundry then it is go big or go home. That is how I ended up reviewing the Tumblewool brand of WAHM made dryer balls. As the title and image suggest, they’re big, yo. I’ve seen wool dryer balls in stores and online but never have I seen such huge balls (that’s what she said.) I was sent 4 dryer balls to test out and see for myself if they really worked or if they would just create music in my dryer.

Amber is the WAHM behind Tumblewool.  She used to practically be my neighbor back when I lived in Syracuse but we never really met.  Now she makes wool dryer balls as well as felted soap and other fun woolly items.  And for  those of you who think wool dryer balls are easy to make, I caution you!  I consider myself crafty but in my attempt to make my own several years ago it was a miserable failure and a messy one.  The balls unraveled, even after following directions and using nylon hosiery around them, and I was pulling felted yarn out of my washer for a long time.  That was my first and last attempt to make or try wool dryer balls until now.

First, here is some basic information about wool dryer balls.  They are meant to replace dryer sheets, which contain softeners and other ingredients that can leave nasties behind on your clothes and dryer drum.  Like dryer sheets, wool dryer balls are intended to cut down on static and soften clothing by beating the crap out of them while they tumble.  In addition, they can also cut down on drying time by, again, beating the crap out of your clothes and moving them around more and absorbing moisture.  Unlike PVC or rubber dryer balls you may have seen in grocery stores, wool dryer balls won’t build up yucky germs due to the antimicrobial properties of wool.  And unlike dryer sheets, these are safe to use with cloth diapers.

Do they reduce drying time?

Using four of the Tumblewool balls in my cloth diaper loads did cut down drying time noticeably.  Before adding them it took longer than one cycle for everything to be completely dry, I would say probably 80 minutes total.  With the wool dryer balls they definitely took less than one 60 minute cycle, probably more around 45-50 minutes to be completely dry.  For me that saves 30-35 minutes per cloth diaper load.  I do about 2 loads of cloth diaper load each week bring my total dryer time savings to 300-350 minutes per month.  When you add it up it is significant!

When it came to larger loads of clothes, which is my norm, I didn’t see much, if any improvement.  I just wait too darn long to wash clothes to have a small or even medium sized load.  I’m always testing the limits on both my washer and dryer and stuff as much as I can.  I realize this isn’t the best way to wash clothes but I am also working and raising 2 kids, even trying to fit in some fun somewhere in there!  I emailed with Amber from Tumblewool about this and she said that the more dryer balls in the load, the more it would help in larger loads.  I declined getting more in the mail because I didn’t want to rob her blind of dryer balls, since with my loads I would need probably 6-8, but I get the physics behind this.  I can’t say if they would work in mega loads but as long as you dry smaller loads or add more balls you would see a change.

Softening?

I do feel that my cloth diaper linings on my microfleece pockets were softer when dried using the dryer balls and even my prefolds and flats were slightly softer.   I can’t say that I saw a difference in clothing, but again, probably due to my load size.

Static?

When only washing and drying a set of sheets I was hoping to see that the wool dryer balls made a difference in what is normally a static-y situation.  I didn’t really notice a reduction of static and it was definitely still there.  My cloth diapers did seem to have less static since before using them my microfiber inserts would stick together and that wasn’t happening.

Does size matter?

Since I haven’t tried the smaller wool dryer balls on the market I can’t give you a comparison of those to Tumblewool brand.  These are big and have some give to them when you press down.  I feel like because of this they aren’t as loud in the dryer as the smaller and denser balls would be.

How loud are they?

My biggest hesitation about using any dryer balls was the noise.  I never used them when I lived in an apartment because I didn’t want the sound to echo through our laundry chute and back upstairs.  Then we lived in a duplex.  Now that we don’t have anyone around I don’t care!  It is quieter than drying shoes (if you have ever done so) but you can definitely tell they are in there.  It isn’t obnoxious though.  I prefer it to the sound of snaps and zippers.

 

I have seen the claims made by the users and makers of dryer balls.  Sometimes those claims were pretty incredible.  I definitely did see results and I can see that if I were careful and calculating I could save money on electricity when it comes to drying my cloth diapers and smaller loads.  If I bought more I might also cut down drying time on larger loads of clothes.  The other benefits/claims weren’t as easy to notice a difference in.  It was a little hit and miss.  The Tumblewool balls also have size going for them…. my kids kept stealing them to play with them.  The biggest annoyance of it all was keeping track… they would sneak into pockets in sheets and hoods, get tossed in the basket in the clothes, and be lost for a day week waiting for be folded.  Then, when I caught up with laundry, all four balls would be reunited.  Currently, while gathering them to take photos for this post, I could only find two.  The third popped up minutes after the photo.  The fourth is still MIA… send a search party!

I do feel they can be worth the investment if you are cloth diapering!  As often as we wash these smaller loads, and with there being a very visible reduction in dry time, it saves time and money.

Where to Buy: You can find Tumblewool dryer balls on their website for $24.00 for a pack of 4 or through various retailers.

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Win a set of Tumblewool Dryer Balls!

You can enter this giveaway for a 4 pack of Tumblewool dryer balls using the Rafflecopter form below.  They come in pretty and gift ready packaging too! Ends 4/10/13 and open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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