What happens to many well-meaning cloth diapering families if they select a wetbag or pail liner that works best for them and toss them in the wash when it’s full. Unfortunately, if you are family with a high efficiency washing machine and a large pail liner, for example, you may be washing twice as many diapers in each load than is recommended.
High efficiency washers use so much less water that each load should only hold 12-15 diapers or about 2 days worth of diapers for most infants and toddlers. Newborns will go through this number in a day or day and a half, but if you are using XS and newborn diapers you can most likely get away with 15-18 diapers in each load.
Regular top loading machines use significantly more water and can wash almost twice as many diapers or an average of 20 diapers per load, but this will vary on the model and cycle you choose. You also don’t want to wait more than 3 days to wash your diapers just because you can fit them in your load, because you will stumble across different issues instead.
Speaking of wetbags, a recent favorite of mine is the Rumparooz Wet Bag, because it holds the perfect number of diapers for a load in my high efficiency machine. It also has a handle that makes it easy to carry from the nursery to the washer and I can also hang it on the nursery door knob. It has a zipper closure, which I love for security when taking it on the go, but I like to leave it unzipped a few inches for some odor control and it also makes it easier to pop in dirty diapers when I have a baby on my hip.
I still use pail liners on a regular basis, but since they hold so many diapers I make sure to leave a third of the liner folded over the pail to minimize the number of diapers that pile up before I think “I need to throw these in the washer”!
Adjusting your load size may not completely clear up odor or absorbency issues at first, as putting too many diapers in a load may have also caused detergent or residue built up over time and may need to be addressed separately. Once you get the right load size going, make sure you have plenty of water to get those dipes clean and have the right dose of fluff-friendly detergent figured out, you will be grateful not to be elbow-deep in dirty diapers as you count them on laundry day as long as you have the right size bag for dirty diaper storage!