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Katherine 03-25-2008 06:57 AM

Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial! Updated 1-28-12
Updated: wow, I had no idea this thing was still around, lol. I was 6 months pg with my now 3.5 yo when I posted this. So here's an update, and some answers to some of the questions asked:

- it should work pretty well even without the dawn, I've done it both ways
- i never tried with hemp, but it wouldn't hurt, I don't think.
- I found my dying instructions on the dharma and pro chem sites

And just for good measure, here is who these diapers were for:


I spent yesterday morning prepping my new unbleached gmd orange edge prefolds, and after searching here for info on boiling them, decided to post a picture tutorial to help others out.

So here you go!

This is the first time I've boiled new pf's. I have boiled pf's from fsot and have used the washing machine to prep new UBIPF's before. I wanted to try this to see if it really did save washes and dryer cycles.

First: the subjects - 2 dozen Unbleaced Green Mountain Diaper Orange Edge prefolds. Not all are pictured here - some were already boiling. All of them perfectly filled a flat rate priority box, to give you an idea of the volume.

Second: The setup - I have a smaller stockpot on the stove and a laundry basket lined with an old towel - that way the dipes can be damp/dripping and not flood my floor. I would rec. a larger stockpot - mine was dirty from Easter - i should have taken the time to clean it rather than do several extra boils with smaller batches.

Third: the process - I filled the pot almost all the way, added a squirt of dawn (to help draw out the oils) and let it boil. Then I added three pf's and stirred them occasionally. I let them boil for 20-30 minutes/batch. Most people in threads I read said they do it for 10 minutes at a time, but I figure the longer the boil, the more prepped they'll be. Not sure if that's true.

After boiling, I picked them up with tongs and kinda wrapped them around the tongs and squeezed them against the side of the pot to get excess water out, then plopped them in the basket. The water turned yellow after a batch. After one batch, I'd add 4-8 cups more water to fill it up again and another squirt of dawn. After the second boil, I dumped the water and started over.

After boiling, the pf's were noticably smaller than the unboiled ones.

After they were all boiled, I put the entire 2 doz. in the washer with no detergent (figured there was still dawn in them) and did a cycle w/ a hot presoak, a hot wash with high agitation, and an extra rinse (in cold, I think).
then dried them on hot.

After the first wash/dry, they were fluffy and soft, although some (about half) were a little flatter than the rest - they were still as soft, just not quite as quilty and a little bigger - I figure that's from uneven boiling times. Yhe one son the left are the fluffier and smaller ones.

Then I put them back in to wash with 3 tbsp synthrapol and 2 tbsp washing soda (that's what the synthrapol said to use to prep fabrics for dyeing). If I hadn't had the synthrapol, I would have just used the detergent I normally use for dipes. Then I did a wash like the one above, and dried again.

After that wash/dry, they were all a bit quiltier and softer, and there wasn't such a difference in size, although I could still find 10 that were just slightly flatter and larger.

All in all, the volume of the pile of dipes about tripled from before prepping.

They're still kinda pilly, so could prob. use a wash or two, but I believe they're fully prepped. I probably wouldn't have done the second wash/dry, but I want to dye them and wanted to make very sure all the oils were out of them.

All in all, I think I def. saved time and energy boiling them - if I had it to do over again, I'd change the following things:
- used a bigger (much bigger) pot and done 6 at a time
- Time the boils and only done 20 minutes a batch, so they were all done evenly.\
- finished before dh came home, b/c he made fun of me for photographing the process

Suzanne 03-25-2008 07:08 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
You know, I'm going to do this when I get my reds . . I KNOW I would save money over all the washes and dries with hot water (heated by oil. . .ahhhh)

Katherine 03-25-2008 07:14 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
Oil heated water? Ugh - at least ours is electric. You could also dump the water you used to boil in the washer to save on water.

Knittinkninja 03-25-2008 07:16 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
Thanks! I'm new to pfs, so this will help when I get mine from GMD. I ordered just one of 3 different sizes to see which I like best before I plunk down any real significant cash. :giggle:

sillymama 03-25-2008 07:19 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
This is awesome! I'm get my browns and reds tomorrow, and I was really thinking about this so I didn't have to do 5 washes to get them prepped. Thanks!

MamaTiff~n~herMonkeys 03-25-2008 07:20 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
Thank you!!

momtomy3 03-25-2008 07:37 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
I'm one of the bad people that hate prepping diapers. lol I do a long wash on hot with a squirt of dawn, cold rinse. Another long wash on hot with a squirt of dawn, cold rinse. Then dry. Then use on baby. Haha I figure they work, and they'll get washed again that day. :)

BUT this seems almost as easy. I may do it... and use 4 pots at the same time. Thanks!

SerenitysBowtique 03-25-2008 07:48 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
Thanks for doing this. I have some prefolds to prep and was also thinking about boiling them. :thumbsup:

honeybunmom 03-25-2008 07:54 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
This is helpful, thank you!

cherylchoo 03-25-2008 08:01 AM

Re: Boiling prefolds to prep them...a picture tutorial
So if I boil it once for 20 minutes with a squirt of Dawn, one more time without, wash and dry on hot with a presoak and extra rinse once without detergent, and once again with detergent, they should be fully prepped? That would save so much time! It usually takes between 8-10 washes with my FL. Thanks! I'd given up on buying new PFs solely because of the prepping process. Now I can try those new GMD reds!

I've also heard putting baking soda in the wash will help them prep faster, if anyone else is doing this. Haven't tried it though.

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