Many of us started cloth diapering to save money. But there’s so many other ways we can also save money!
I want to talk about how we dry our cloth diapers.
Now you probably know this already…the best way to dry your cloth diapers is to hang them outside in the fresh air and sunshine! If you are able to do this all year long, then GREAT!
I live in upstate New York. I love to hang my laundry outside to dry. But it’s just not something I am going to do in the dead of winter especially because we have 3 feet of snow on the ground right now! I still always hang all my shells to dry. No sunshine in sight though because it’s above my washer and dryer.
I have been using my dryer to get the inserts and wipes dry. Running the dryer costs money, so the less time it takes for things to dry the more money I can save.
First, take a minute to do a little maintenance. About once a year, or more often if the hose clogs faster, have someone that knows what they are doing clean the vent hose that runs out the back of the dryer. If it’s short you can do this by hand. But if it’s a longer hose you may need a specially designed brush that has a long handle and a special cleaning head. It should be completely free of any debris or lint. Next, take your vacuum hose and suck out the inside area where the lint trap is.
***Now this is my favorite part*** If you use fabric softener on your regular clothes (we do because our hard water makes jeans stand on their own otherwise). A waxy film can build up on the lint trap and screen that covers the opening. This slows drying because warm air can’t circulate as easily.
Remove the screen (you may need some tools depending how it attaches to your dryer). I needed a small socket wrench to get ours off, but pliers probably would work. If you have questions how to do it, consult the manual that came with the dryer.
Now take the screen over to your sink. You will need a soft bristle brush, an old toothbrush will work, and some warm soapy water. If you run water through the screen before you clean it, you will see that it kind of gets trapped and drips through slowly.
Gently use the brush and scrub the screen with the warm soapy water. When you are done; rinse it off with clean water until the soap is gone.
Do you see the difference? The water should run though the screen now with no problems. This means that the warm air inside your dryer will also run though easier hopefully getting those diapers dry faster. Always remember to clean the lint trap after every use to help maintain the efficiency and safety of the dryer.
I also want to talk about the towel in the dryer trick. You place a dry, fluffy bath towel in with your wet items. It absorbs some of the moisture and helps everything dry faster. To make this truly effective, you should remove the towel after the first 20 minutes of drying time.
Last, I want to mention wool dryer balls. The theory of using these is that they will also absorb moisture from the wet items. But it is also believed that 6-8 (I admittedly have a few more) of the wool dryer balls helps to keep the clothes separated as they tumble around allowing the warm air to circulate easier and therefore dry everything faster. They also help to soften items in the dryer as they beat against them while tumbling.
Anyone else have any hints or tricks they use to help get their cloth diapers dry faster? I would love to hear about them!
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.