When you air dry or sun-bleach your cloth diapers, you may notice that the diapers are a little more stiff. Adding sun-drying to your cloth diaper washing routine is a great way to lower your overall impact and use the energy just waiting for you (the sun), and you don’t have to sacrifice your baby’s comfort in soft, cushy cloth diapers. You can easily soften up your diapers by trying these five ways to soften cloth diapers dried on the line.
1. Add vinegar to the rinse cycle. If your diapers are stiff because of hard water (alkaline) then vinegar (acidic) would reduce the alkalinity, lowering the pH. Vinegar can dissolve the hardness (carbonates) that have been deposited when the water evaporates.
2. Shake the diapers out. The rest of these steps involve flexing the fibers of the diapers. In this case, flex the fibers before you hang them on the line. Give them a hard shake. With prefolds, they make a nice SNAP! sound.
3. Hang the diapers back to back. If you hang two diapers back to back, the breeze will not only move the diaper around but hit the diapers together giving the fibers more chance to flex.
4. Rub the diapers together. After you take the diapers off the drying line, rub them together. This way, you are just doing the work that the breeze would do in knocking the diapers together on the line.
5. Toss in the dryer. The easiest way to soften up your stiff cloth diapers is to toss them in the dryer for finishing. I used to put an old hockey puck in a gym sock, tie the end, and add it to the mix. This is noisy. I have no doubt that it isn’t the best choice. As a matter of fact, there are now quieter dryer softeners that are actually made for this purpose, like Nellie’s PVC-free Dryer Balls.
Keep in mind that if your diapers are stiff for another reason, detergent or other residue for example, you need to tackle the cause of the residue before you can deal with the stiffness.