Why Are My Prefolds or Flats Repelling?
Why are my prefold of flat diapers repelling (i.e. not absorbing)?
If you haven't pre-washed your diapers, especially the unbleached or organic variety, the natural cotton oils need to be washed our of the material. Usually this takes about 3 washes in warm or hot water with soap or detergent. This step is ofter referred to as "prepping". Even bleached diapers should be washed once prior to use.
If you have been washing the diapers for a while and they are starting to repel moisture or become less absorbent this is not normal and is likely due to the buildup of detergent residue. It is likely that you are either using to much soap or detergent or that your experiencing hard water issues. Don't worry this is fixable. Your diapers need to be "stripped" of the detergent residue.
If you do choose to use soap rather than detergent and it leaves a residue on your diapers, the natural solution to break down the residue is a vinegar rinse. This will help maintain diaper absorbency.
We recommend that you use no more than ½ cup of distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Make sure it is distilled vinegar to avoid stains from vinegars with color.
Vinegar may also be used in the rinse cycle to help neutralize the urine odor, equalize the pH balance, help prevent stains from setting in, and as a natural fabric softener.
NOTE: If you have hard water, vinegar may cause your diapers to smell bad once urinated on. In that case, we recommend you discontinue using soap and switch to detergent.