I've been MIA in the blogging world lately as both my boys have been super sick! It all started with Ben and then spread like wildfire to Eli, causing me to go on a disinfecting rampage to get this thing under control! This disinfecting made it's way to Eli's diapers which had me searching all the different theories/ways out there as to how to disinfect cloth diapers.
Everyone knows the most obvious choice; bleach. Bleach will kill off almost anything in your diapers, including the fabric, elastics and PUL over time. Still, if you've recently had a bad virus or bacterial issue in your house it might be the best option for you. It's pretty tough on the diapers though and not the most pleasant thing to use on a fabric nestling up next to your little one's delicate areas, so make sure to only use it when you absolutely need to and to rinse, rinse, rinse afterwards! This bout of illness in our home was pretty bad (ear infections, pneumonia, the works) so I opted to bleach my inserts but spare the covers. I use 1/4 cup of bleach in with the hot wash and rinse three times after that wash.
Another great disinfectant is the sun! Hanging your diapers out in the sun actually kills lots of what's lurking in them naturally! As an added bonus, it bleaches out the stains and freshens them up too!
Tea tree oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) are also great disinfectants (especially GSE). Just add a few drops to the wash cycle to kill off bacteria and yeast. A bonus of tea tree oil is it'll also combat the stinkies! For my covers, I used GSE in a hot cycle and then hung them to dry in the sun.
Don't forget, HOT water will kill lots of germs, bacteria, viruses as well as long as it's hot enough so if you have a sanitize cycle, use it when you really need to disinfect (not on PUL though and only occasionally on things with elastics). I've boiled my inserts before to sanitize them when I didn't have a sanitize cycle on my machine and it works well. Boil in a large pot for 20-30 mins.
If anyone knows of other ways to disinfect diapers, I'd love to hear them!