Here are two small notes about cloth diaper up-keep.
Stripping cloth diapers
If you notice your child's cloth diapers are starting to become less absorbent and you can't figure out why, it may be time to strip them. I've discovered that our cloth diapers need stripping approximately once every three months. Even though we use a gentle detergent and generally treat them nicely (as nicely as anyone can treat a diaper), residue build up happens.
There are lots of suggestions out there about the right way to strip a diaper, but I decided to the follow the routine suggested on the Cotton Babies blog because 1) that's the parent company that makes Bum Genius diapers, our diapers of choice and 2) the instructions are pretty simple.
To strip cloth diapers:
1) Wash the diapers as you would normally. For us this means one cold pre-wash cycle (i.e. soaking) followed by one hot cycle using detergent.
2) Keep the diapers in the washer, and add one tablespoon of original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid for a hot cycle plus a hot rinse.
3) Run one more hot rinse cycle.
I love the way the diapers come out of the wash with a subtle Dawn smell. I immediately notice a change in absorbency after stripping the diapers.
Solution for drying diapers
We've been drying our child's diapers on a traditional wooden drying rack, but last weekend during a trip to IKEA I decided to purchase this space-saving solution: the Pressa drying rack.
This novel little gadget has 8 arms, like an octopus, and there are 16 clips total hanging from the arms. For our needs this a perfect mechanism for drying diaper shells because we find ourselves typically washing 16-18 diapers at a time. Because our laundry room is on the bottom floor and our bedrooms are two floors above, the Pressa makes it easier to carry the dry diapers upstairs all at once while also holding our toddler who can't manage walking the stairs without assistance.
Although the arms of the Pressa theoretically fold up for easy storage, my one complaint is that the arms don't actually stay in place when folded. This isn't a big deal for us, but it does seem like a design flaw. At $4.99, though, I'd say it's OK.