I'm new to cloth pads (I just got a few, I haven't even used them yet ;) but I'm excited to try them next month!) I've been reading about cleaning them in preparation for next month, and it seems like there are several different philosophies. I'm sure there's no "one correct way" that works for everyone, but I'm hoping to hear some of why people prefer their chosen method and get some tips to figure out what I will do.
First of all, some laundry background: I live alone, and I have an ANCIENT septic system, so I don't do laundry very often (like every two weeks max, I just own a lot of underwear and socks and mostly only do laundry when I run out) and I try to use all natural cleaners. I also normally put 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle, as a fabric softener, because I hang dry a lot of my clothes, and I normally use a dryer sheet in the dryer (but I already know not to do that with the pads).
Anyway, I've read about rinsing, soaking, wet-bagging, dry-bagging, etc, and I'm a little confused/overwhelmed. I could just hand wash them, and I probably will do that mid-cycle, until I have a bigger stash. But after I have enough pads to last a cycle, I don't think I would like to have a soaking pot, because I will almost definitely forget to change the water daily. Should I rinse them and then hang dry them and then wait for laundry day? Some of the pad makers actually recommend doing nothing before laundry day, but I feel like they aren't thinking of waiting for two weeks... How much will they strain if I don't rinse them? I don't mind a bit of staining, but I don't want them to look totally disgusting. By the way, the pads I have are all cotton topped. So then, I think my choices are:
1. Hand wash (always)
2. Rinse after cycle, hang dry, wait for laundry day.
3. Just fold them up and toss them in the hamper after cycle.
I welcome any opinions or suggestions (and thank you for reading my novel!)
As a sort of side note, would anyone be willing to share some photos of pads they've had for a while, to show examples of how much staining to expect, or is that too weird of a request? If you're willing, please tell your washing method as well.