Cleaning Cloth Diapers In Hard Water

Parents choose to use cloth diapers instead of disposable for a variety of reasons. It could be to save money or reduce waste or simply because they feel it's better for their baby. One thing is for certain: Cloth diapering requires a little more work than using disposables, but once a good washing routine is established, committed cloth diaperers sail through to potty training. A challenge some parents face is establishing a good washing routine if they have hard water. Read on for ways around this problem. 

Do You Have Hard Water?

The term "hard water" simply refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water. The greater the concentration of these minerals, the harder the water. People with hard water will notice white mineral deposits on dishes or around the tap, or they might notice a mineral deposit ring in the toilet. Other ways to find out about water hardness is to call the town water supplier and ask or order a test kit from a local pool supply store.

How Does Hard Water Affect Laundry?

Laundry detergent works by binding with the dirt in clothing and washing it away in the rinse cycle rather than letting it re-settle on clothing. Detergent can't work effectively in hard water because the cleaning agents bond with the calcium and magnesium molecules in the water rather than with the dirt particles in clothes. As a result, clothes don't get as clean as they do in softer water. This can be a big problem for cloth diapers.

How Can Hard Water Be Overcome?

The most effective way to deal with hard water problems in the laundry is to have a water softener installed in the house. Mechanical water softeners treat water by removing mineral deposits before household members use it. This solution, however, isn't feasible for everyone. Other alternatives include using more detergent. If hard water makes detergent less effective, using more detergent sometimes helps. There's no formula for figuring out how much detergent to use; parents should just keep adding more detergent until they're happy with the results. Detergent residue on cloth diapers can be bad for little bums, however, so parents should be cautious to rinse diapers thoroughly until no bubbles appear at the surface of the water in the washing machine. Another option is to add a water conditioner to both the wash and rinse cycles to increase the effectiveness of detergent.

Hard water can be a problem for cloth diaperers, but like nearly any parenting obstacle, it can be overcome with a little patience and determination.