Cloth diapers, which are used by many parents, are made to be highly absorbent. Hard water, however, can make them less absorbent and ineffective. If you've recently had a baby and plan on using cloth diapers, make sure hard water doesn't ruin the diapers you purchase. Test your home for hard water, and invest in a water softener if it's hard so that your diapers don't start leaking.
Hot Water Harms Cloth Diapers
Washing clothes, including cloth diapers, in hard water is difficult. As Bummis Blog details, mineral deposits in hard water bind with the agents in laundry detergents. This prevents the agents in detergents from binding with and removing dirt on the clothes being washed.
Minerals in hard water will affect the washing of any clothing, but their effects are particularly noticeable when cleaning cloth diapers. Diapers regularly washed in mineral-laden water might:
- begin to smell
- remain stained
- lose their absorbency
Over time, the mineral deposits in hard water will build up on your cloth diapers and only exacerbate the problems that the water causes.
To prevent these problems from arising, you must remove the minerals in your water. You can do this by either stripping your cloth diapers regularly or having a water softener installed.
Stripping Diapers Removes Minerals
Stripping diapers is a manual way to remove minerals that accumulate on your diapers after washings. If your diapers start to leak and smell, you'll need to strip them. There are five steps to stripping diapers:
- wash the diapers
- soak the diapers for a long time
- wash the diapers again
- rinse the diapers several times
- dry the diapers
With the multiple washings, hours-long soak and several rinsings, stripping is a long process that will take up much of your time.
Water Softeners Also Remove Minerals
Water softeners also remove minerals, and they're much easier to use. Once you have a water softener installed, you won't need to worry about minerals interfering with the washing of your diapers.
Unlike stripping, which removes minerals after they build up on diapers, water softeners remove mineral deposits beforehand. They take minerals that make water hard out before it goes to your washer, thus transforming your home's hard water into soft water.
If you have a water softener installed, your diapers will get clean, and they won't stink or leak, because they'll always be washed in soft water.
Installation Costs for Water Softeners Are Affordable
Many parents don't consider installing a water softener, because they think it's prohibitively expensive. Having a water softener installed, however, is affordable -- especially when compared to the cost of diapers.
Water softeners start at just $500 to $1,500, which is close to what you might save by using cloth diapers. Courtney Baker saved $400 in one year by using cloth diapers, and she estimated that she'd saved over $1,000 by the time her child was potty trained. Of course, these savings only increase if the cloth diapers are reused for a second, and possibly even third, kid.
Have Your Home Tested for Hard Water
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, much of the U.S. has hard water. Even if you live in a place without hard water, however, you might want to test your home's water for mineral deposits.
To check your home for hard water, purchase a water testing kit from your local hardware store. Kits are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores, and they'll show you the mineral concentration of your water. Compare your test's results with this list to determine if your home's water is hard:
- 1.0 to 3.5 grains per gallon is slightly hard
- 3.5 to 7.0 grains per gallon is moderately hard
- 7.0 to 10.5 grains per gallon is hard
- over 10.5 grains per gallon is very hard
Chances are, your home will have hard water. Assuming it does, have a water softener installed if you're going to use cloth diapers. A water softener will protect your cloth diapers from mineral buildup so they continue to be absorbent throughout your child's diaper-wearing years.To learn more about installing a water softener, contact a company like Johnson Water Conditioning.Share