17 May 2011

PUL - to dry or not to dry?

In Cloth Diaper circles PUL is one of the waterproof baby bottom essentials. The question is, how do you care for it? If you go by manufacturers recommendations you will usually be told to line dry. If you're counting on any sort of warranty, then PLEASE follow those directions. For other, like me, who don't have a warranty you have another option.

PUL is polyurethane laminate; a polyester fabric with a waterproof layer fused to it. It was originally created for use in hospitals and can handle sterilizing heat. Machine drying PUL can actually help the fabric retain it's waterproof qualities.

Armed with this information I tentatively machine dried a cover and, when the world didn't end, taking the covers  out of my load of flats and prefolds was one less step in the laundry process.

Fast forward a few weeks, some diapers, some covers, a wet bag. I began looking into some CD safe softeners, of course vinegar seemed to me to be the most obvious choice. So once again I head over to Google and start looking a other CD mama's opinions on whether or not vinegar is safe for PUL. While there are differing opinions, I found enough evidence that I should be able to use the vinegar without any problem.

Do you see the big RED WARNING FLASHER going off over my washer and dryer? I didn't. So here's what I found. PUL IS compatible with vinegar. PUL IS compatible with machine drying. PUL, vinegar, AND machine drying ARE NOT compatible. Fortunately, only my wetbag was ruined. The covers survived, but now I know better. Vinegar reacts to the PUL and caused the heat from the dryer to melt the PUL to itself.

So, if you simply use water and detergent on your PUL, then dry away!
If you're using vinegar to soften up that fluff, then hold out the covers and wetbags from the dryer. You'll be glad you did!


  1. Interesting--I use vinegar and sometimes machine dry my wetbags with no problems! Could it be something else, or I have I just been lucky so far??

  2. @lauralita The vinegar was the only difference that I could think of. I could've just been very unlucky and had a defective wetbag too...I wish I could find some actual research or science on it!

  3. This is veeeery good to know! I probably would have done the same thing as I was just thinking of washing with some vinegar this week to soften things up. I've also only dried my covers on low heat thus far but it certainly would save time to dry them all on regular!

  4. This is good to know! I know that Cotton Babies recommends NOT doing it b/c it can ruin the PUL, but now I know why. I line-dry my covers, but machine dry my pail liner (I don't have a wet bag yet).


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