Hard Vs. Soft Water
You've probably not thought much about the minerals in your water, but when it comes to cleaning cloth nappies it can make a difference. If you have hard water you may have noticed having difficulty lathering soap and finding white mineral deposits around your taps and in your kettle. If not corrected, those mineral deposits can also build up in the fabric of your nappies, trapping bacteria. That build-up can lead to stink issues, repelling, leaks, and even rashes. The good news is most of New Zealand has soft water.
- Use Powder- Powdered detergents contain more built-in water softeners than liquids do, and it typically rinses cleaner, especially in front loader or high efficiency top loaders.
- Add water softener- You can use Borax, Washing Soda or a booster product like Napisan. They can be bought from most Bin Inns, Bunnings, Mitre 10 and also on-line. You can also buy washing soda at most supermarkets in the laundry isle. Add 1/4-1/2 cup (Depending on machine size) of either Borax or washing soda to your main wash with your detergent.
- Appropriate water level- By using too much water for your load size, you weaken the detergent and let the hard water minerals overpower everything else and then build up inside the fabric. So a small load should have a low water level etc.
- No extra rinses- While it may be a popular tactic in cloth nappy cleaning, it’s actually very detrimental to nappies in hard water, as well as a waste of resources. When you run rinses after the wash cycle is complete, you redeposit all those hard minerals that the detergent just worked so hard to keep away.
Soft water means the water is low in minerals, it requires less detergent to clean and creates more suds. Generally you should be able to follow the recommended amount of detergent for a soiled load with good results. Soft water may sometimes need a little more water to rinse detergent out, but no need to go crazy. Let your machine do its normal rinse and spin after the wash, then feel the nappies, only if they feel slimy do you need an extra rinse. Don't worry about detergent build-up, if there in anything left it will rinse out in the next wash.