Helpful HEMP Tips!
I loved my Organic Hemp Inserts from the moment I first tried them with my son, and since making the switch early on in our cloth nappy journey, I never looked back.
But in saying that, Hemp is an unusual fibre; it is the most absorbent natural material known, but it also is a slow absorber, and is more complex than the rest when it comes to cloth nappies.
so I thought maybe I could offer some helpful tips about how to care for them, discuss potential Smell issues and chat Washing tips specifically related to Organic Hemp Fabric use.
My original prototype hemp inserts were much more basic than the new versions we offer now,and I love the new ones even more! Yet we are always wanting to work on ways to improve our collection!. currently working on a prototype for a potential addition of a Tri-Fold Hemp Insert to our collection...But I will chat about that another time!
WASHING & DRYING:
Because of the tightening of fibres when wet, Hemp also has the tendency to retain more than other fibres. So washing and drying them can mean trialing a few different methods to best suit your needs and situation.
there are various factors involved in getting a good wash for you, such as:
your water hardness, your choice of detergent, your water temperature, cycle length, drying time, etc.
I have mentioned my ultra basic wash routine (Cold Water rinse dirty inserts only, then extended wash cycle with soapnuts and Essential Oils, then a rinse cycle to finish, followed by Line-drying outside in sunlight. I also used Oxygen Bleach for a good soaking every now and then for both inserts & shells). and I used this routine the entire time I used cloth nappies and had no issues.
but there are many factors as mentioned above as to why each family may need to tailor their washing routine to their situation.
EVERYDAY BASIC WASHING TIPS:
-Hemp Inserts can be used after just one wash. However, because of the natural oils in hemp, multiple washings are recommended before they reach maximum absorbency to strip the oils.
-Wash on cold/Warm (Max 60 degrees)
-Tumble Dry on lowest Heat option.
-Over-drying or Over-washing on high heat can cause extreme shrinkage in hemp/cotton fabric. Although some shrinkage of the fabric and around the edges is common of hemp/cotton fabric, over-drying or hot washing/drying can cause the fabric to become misshapen.
-No bleach (apart form oxygen Bleach), enzymes, or additives recommended to be used on hemp.
HEMP INSERTS SMELLING:
Organic Hemp fibers are slow to release moisture in the dry cycle of your washing Machine or dryer, they take about twice the drying energy of synthetic, cotton or bamboo (viscose) fibers.
If hemp is not completely dried, the moisture trapped deep in the fibers causes common bacteria to activate - this can give off a strong smell or ammonia (especially strong as soon as baby urinates).
Usually you can cure this with a dose of oxygen bleach added to your washing machine followed by extended drying. even it they are dry to the touch, hemp can be deceiving, and so ensuring they are dry through is important to avoid retention of moisture.
another reason causing smell on your inserts, could be due to the use of too much detergent when washing, resulting in a build up. A possible solution is Trialing cutting back on detergent when washing the Inserts, opting instead for a longer water wash or rinse cycle on the machine.
Another idea to cleanse the inserts is every now and then washing the Hemp Inserts only, on a very hot wash (60 degrees)- allowing them to run through and strip the fibres. Hemp is very durable so won't be affected, but please no PUL products such as our Nappy Shells to be washed in hot water (above 60 degrees).
Hard water also can cause issues, but adding vinegar to the wash may help soften the water for you. DO NOT USE VINEGAR ON A REGULAR BASIS as it can damage elastic. Vinegar naturally softens laundry by removing the soap and residue build-up. Vinegar contains small amounts of potassium and sodium, which softens hard water and can dissolve mineral build up. Just add half a cup into your fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine for a large load every now and then can offer a good spring clean.
DRYING & STIFFNESS:
Sun drying or Air-drying is ideal always, however this is not always an option depending where you live. When drying best is out of intense sunlight, as the sunlight will make them more stiff to touch. but otherwise if you have a dryer you can finish off the drying time in the dryer. This will also aid them in softening up!
Although I personally never used a dryer (don't even own one) and stuck to air/sun drying, I found that giving them a good scrunch and stretch to soften up before putting on Hunter was great.
After the inserts have dried and if they feel stiff, stretching both ends and the gussets out, or giving them a hit against your machine, or scrunching them up before use makes them more pliable. Once the inserts are on your baby, they will naturally soften and shape to baby's bottom.
SHRINKING WHEN WET:
Hemp is the strongest natural fiber on the planet. It was used for centuries by seamen as the primary rope for mooring ships and tying anchors. Hemp is made to become stronger in water because the individual fibers bind together very tightly.
So once you have washed them and whilst they are still wet, give them a tug on each end of the insert, as well as the gussets, to stretch out so that they dry in the extended shape desired. This May be a bit of a pain, but this is just the nature of using natural fibres and in my case, was definitely worth it!
Please feel free anytime to contact us directly via email/FB if you have any further questions!
Hemp is an amazing fabric to use, but it is also probably the most complex of fibres. that is the nature of opting for a completely natural product! It Works a bit differently than synthetic options, but in the long run, is great for earth and baby.