I have been cloth diapering for around 3 months. Has it been honey over flakes?* not exactly. Has it been better than disposables? In a lot of ways, yes. Of course, it would be better to have a leak proof diaper that you can reuse and doesn't need to get washed, but in a perfect world, we wouldn't need diapers at all (we wouldn't need toilets either and sewage wouldn't exist, right?).
The biggest problem hasn't been washing them, I have my panda twin tub that works like a champ. It is the behaviour of the fabrics once they've been washed.
Turns out I didn't have much problem at the beginning, but with time passing, I got a horrible cumulation of ammonia in the prefolds. The smell was so untakeable I needed to change diapers on Little Guy almost every hour.
I mentioned before that battle, and it seems I've won it finally. But I changed the routine and the devices for washing until I came up with my own formula. It may have ingredients not recommended, but, as everybody says, do what you have to do and what works for you. I use these things a lot, my stash is short, and whatever they last, they already paid for themselves.
So here it goes:
I dump diapers and bag inside the washing tub. I fill it to the top. If there's poop, I throw some baking soda, otherwise, I don't. Then I leave it washing for 4-5 minutes and drain.
Turn on the hot water, fill the tank up. Put 10 drops of Free & Clear detergent plus 2 drops of blue Dawn plus 2 drops of Dr Bronner's peppermint soap plus one teaspoon of OxyClean plus half a teaspoon of Baking Soda in the detergent's lid. Aim the shower hose to it and let it drop on top of everything else. Set the timer to agitate for 7-8 minutes
Take all the stuff to the spin drier and let it spin for about 1 minute, while the tub drains. This gets rid of tons of soap.
Fill with half a tank, or just enough to cover the diapers with cold water, let it agitate for 3 minutes, drain.
Repeat rinse procedure but only for 1-3 minutes
Pass the pieces one by one through the high pressure of the shower hose to remove any remains of soap in the surface and drop them in the spin dryer.
Spin dry for 2 minutes
Hang the diapers in the clotheshanger. If there are stains (usually the Grovias are the only ones that remain stained after such an adventure), hang them by the window in the baby clothes hanger so that they get sunlight. Pockets just need to be put from the middle, prefolds require holders and shaking.
It may not be perfect, but it's working for now in preventing the ammonia from coming back and keeping my boys' butts all nice.
It is also very different than other moms due to my peculiar washer and my having the laundry room inside the bathroom, but I'm here to demonstrate that one can cloth diaper a child in a laundryless apartment and under a budget.
* Mexican expression meaning perfect, beautiful and romantic.