washing diapers

Feeling overwhelmed by instructions on washing cloth diapers?  There are many variations on the cloth diaper wash routine, but let's keep this simple!  There are three basic steps (rinse, wash, dry) - tell us in the comments or Facebook page how and why you wash your baby's diapers the way you do.  Or perhaps tell us why you chose your detergent and/or passed over some others.

1. Cold Rinse

Why?
The purpose of this cold rinse without detergent is to get the solids (poop) out of the diapers as much as possible before washing.

Variations:
If there are no poopy diapers in your load (perhaps your breastfed baby goes up to a week between poops, or perhaps your toddler poops in the toilet), you could skip this step.

2. Hot Wash

Why?
This is the heart of any wash routine.  Hot water and detergent clean and sanitize diapers.  You don't want to use too much water in this step, because you want the diapers to rub up against each other during agitation rather than be floating around with plenty of elbow room.  That rubbing against each other is a scrubbing action.  Your washing machine follows up agitation with a rinse to get all the detergent out.

Variations:
There are a lot of potential variations in this step!  You can choose any number of detergents; this is the step in which water softeners are added if you have hard water; some families make sure the final rinse is warm or hot to better dissolve and rinse away detergent; you can do extra rinses at the end for various purposes (rinsing detergent clean, a rinse with vinegar, etc).  A complicated wash routine might be a sign that you need a different detergent, though many of us will certainly stick with whatever is working!

3. Dry

Why?
Because no baby likes to be put in a wet diaper.  And also heat and sunshine further sanitize diapers.

Variations:
Dry them in the dryer or line dry?  Or what about a little of each?  The heat of the dryer can sanitize diapers - just make sure you remove waterproof items, since heat can wear on waterproofing materials.  Sunshine kills mold, bacteria, and viruses as well.  And if you want to reduce the stiffness of natural fibers dried in the sunshine, try popping them in the dryer for several minutes before hanging them on the line. 


So tell us - what are your variations on the basic wash routine, and why?  Is there something still plaguing you?