Thursday, March 3, 2011

Listen to Leslie: So confused about natural fibers. Why do they have to be washed separately?

Have you ever wondered about using natural fibers?  Today's question is a really good one!

Question:  I've heard that when you have diapers made from natural fibers like Hemp and Bamboo that you need to wash them separate from the rest of your diapers?  Is this true?  If so, why is this the case?

Answer:  This is a really great question and I am sure that many moms wonder this exact same thing.  The washing instructions for natural fibers can be really confusing and often contradictory.

Here's the scoop!  Natural fibers like Hemp and Bamboo contain naturally occurring oils.  Generally you can assume that they've been prewashed before use in the manufacturing of inserts and built in soakers, but in some cases, like with prefolds, they may not have been.

Most manufacturers, in order to be safer than sorry, recommend you prewash your newly purchased inserts, diapers or prefolds that contain natural fibers separately from the rest of your diaper laundry.  At least a couple times before beginning to launder them all together.

Washing them with your pockets and other diapers right from the start would run the risk that the natural oils might wash out and coat your other diapers causing repelling and odor issues.  If you're concerned about whether or not you need to pre-wash your new items it's a good idea to contact the manufacturer or post to their FaceBook Wall asking their advice. 

Now you're probably thinking, Do you really have to prewash one insert or prefold all by itself multiple times?  What a waste of water right?  Well if it's convenient for you then you can wash them with your towels, linens or other non-diaper laundry, or even wash in the kitchen sink a couple times.

*So what do you all think?  Do you prewash your natural fibers separately or forgo all the warnings?


  1. I do wash my hemp and bamboo a few times when I first get them separately. Just to get the oils out. After that, I have no problem with washing everything together.

  2. If I only have one insert, I throw it in with the rest of my diaper wash and never had a problem. If I have a bunch of new inserts, then I wash them separate first.

  3. I usually boil my natural fiber diapers (nothing with snaps or aplix of course) like prefolds and hemp inserts and bamboo for 20 minutes and then do one pre-wash load by themselves before using them and then washing with my other diaper laundry. I haven't had any issues doing it this way and it saves on water and electricity!

  4. With 2 in diapers, having a lot of diaper laundry, I am able to wash my pockets separately from my cotton(I use prefolds and flats) and hemp inserts. I just have a hanging wet bag for the pockets and a pail right below for the inserts. I think my pockets stay nicer looking doing it this way. Once we are not using as many diapers though this will make for small loads, so I'm not sure I will continue this.

  5. Is it just when prewashing that it is important to keep them separate? That's the part that confuses me. I always prewash my new stuff separately, but once something is in rotation, I do everything together. Is that wrong?