So you've been anxiously awaiting the mailman to deliver your precious fluffy mail for days. When it finally arrives there's nothing more you want to do than wrap that diaper on your baby and try it out. Washing new diapers is the first step to preparing them for your baby to wear.
The first time washing new diapers or accessories, you just want to do a simple wash on hot with a small amount of detergent. This will help any diapers with PUL, suedecloth, microfleece or microfiber soften up and get that chemical smell out. You can wash any new diapers 2-3 times before using, but it's not necessary. It will only help make them softer and more absorbent if you do.
If you haven any diapers, doublers, etc. with hemp, they will need to be washed and dried several times before use. Hemp is full of natural oils and the material won't reach full absorbency until all these oils have been removed. Hemp can take as many as 8-11 washes before it comes fully absorbent. Some hemp products will come pre-washed, but you will still need to wash it a few times yourself before use. If you use hemp before it's fully prepped it will not hold as much as it is meant to.
Cotton diapers will also need to be washed and dried several times before use. Much like hemp, cotton has natural oils that need to be removed before becoming fully absorbent. It takes 6-8 washes to remove all the natural oils from cotton. You can begin using them after about 4-5 washes because they will have enough absorbency by that time.
Bamboo is another material that becomes more absorbent after washing. I recommend you wash and dry it at least 2-3 times before use.
Prepping New Prefolds and Flats
When you receive your new cotton or hemp prefolds they will not look like the quilty and fluffy prefolds you are used to seeing. Instead they will be completely flat. This is because it takes several washes before prefolds reach the quilty and absorbent stage. To prep your new cotton or hemp prefolds you can choose one of two methods.
1) Wash prefolds on hot with a small amount of detergent, then dry in dryer. Repeat 3-5 times.
2) Fill a large stock pot full of water and boil. Add prefolds to boiling water and boil for 15-20 minutes. Do not overfill with prefolds - they must be submerged in water. Wash on hot with a small amount of detergent and then dry in dryer.
You can also follow the same process with your cotton flats, but they do not need to be washed as many times. I would recommend to prep cotton flats at least 3 times before using, or boil them for 15 minutes.
Bamboo and hemp prefolds and flats are a little different. I do not recommend boiling bamboo. It does not take as intensive preparation as cotton or hemp. You can pre-wash and dry bamboo prefolds or flats 2-3 times before using it.
Ready To Wear
I have to say there have been times that I have taken something straight out of the package and put it onto my baby. I think I regretted it most of those times. It really does help ccwashing new diaper before using them, even diaper covers or inserts. Sometimes when you have waited (im)patiently for something delicious to come you just don't want to bother washing new diapers first, but I really recommend you do. You won't regret it