Now back to the story.
I had several different sets of instructions that came with products I purchased laying around plus I did my web research plus I took my questions "to the street" on my Facebook page. Two websites that I found very helpful were www.zany-zebra.com and www.cloth-diapers-made-easy.com. The step-by-step instructions are WAY helpful! I've also spent the past month pestering anyone in the know about this topic. Do you know what I've found out? Every person does it a little differently, according to their own style. I figured that that's what I better do too! So I piled together all of my info, grabbed all my dipes and here's what happened:
Step 1- Admire Your Purchases
It's hard not to, they're so stinking cute. These are my Kawaii Pocket Diapers- one Bamboo (left) and two Heavy Wetters.
Step 2: Take Everything Apart and Secure Certain Areas
You can see here that my Kawaii Heavy Wetter is now double-insert free. With a diaper like the one pictured, you don't need to re-snap anything, just wash flat. With diapers that have velcro however, you should fold the velcro tabs in so that they don't all stick to each other while tumbling around. Not doing this can wear out your velcro! Do this every time you wash them.
Step 3: Turn Those Puppies Inside Out
This step came specifically with my Kawaiis. It doesn't say why but I'm not going to argue with manufacture's instructions. Other designs might not say to do that, I'm not sure. I don't believe that you have to do it after the first wash.
Step 4: Ready to Wash!
You'll want to use an all-natural, enzyme free detergent. Regular brands can leave a residue on your dipes, making them less absorbent and friends, that's not good! I use Crunchy Clean and I love it. (You can read my review here.) I wasn't sure if you could/should wash both the covers and the inserts all at once the first time but after asking around online, I discovered that this is fine. So I did.
Here's where things can get a little tricky. There are different first time washing rules for natural fibers vs. manmade. Here's what I found out:
Natural Fibers: Bamboo, cotton and hemp need to be washed APART from your mircofiber/polyester covers and inserts for the first several washes. Why? They contain natural oils that can cause build up and reduce absorbency. It takes 3-5 washings to get them off. You can wash them with your regular clothes to save eneregy (the oils won't hurt your general laundry), just not other diapers. This goes for any type of diaper that are natural- prefolds, fitteds, inserts, covers with natural lining. NOTE: Wool have a different set of instructions too. If you have wool longies/shorties/whathaveyou, check washing/drying instructions!
According to my sheet that came with my detergent from JackBeNatural.com, you should wash natural fiber cloth diaper products 3-5 times in HOT water with detergent, drying them on hot in between each wash. This allows the oils to come off and ensures shrinkage and the right absorbency. The more they are washed, the more absorbent they become but 3-5 washings/dryings will be enough to make sure their ready to handle "game time".
Manmade Fibers: (microfiber, polyester) You simply wash them with detergent, dry them on warm. NOTE: I washed mine twice. I smelled them after the first wash and there was still a faint synthetic smell to them so I gave them another round. That did the trick. I have an HE washer and use very little soap and water, that might be the culprit there.
Step 5: Dryer Time!
All of the instructions I saw said to dry them for the first time in the dryer. For every time after that, I've heard that line drying is a eco-friendly way to dry quickly and a great way to get those pesky stains out. (The sun is a great bleacher of stains.) I wasn't sure if it was okay to put the covers in the dryer but everywhere I looked online said that it's fine- the materials are meant to withstand heat. (Why, I don't know.) So I popped all my NON NATURAL fiber stuff into the dryer with my wonderful Dryer Wooly Ball and dried away! They smelled so fresh and clean I felt funny sniffing diaper inserts so much. I even was making my husband and kids to it. More than once.
Step 6: Fold and Enjoy
Now you're all done washing! Since it's your first time, you're probably excited to use them on your little one. Maybe you're expecting... go set up your fresh dipes in the nursery, rub your belly and dream of your new arrival.