Because unbleached diapers retain much of their natural cotton oils in the fiber matrix they are softer and more durable than bleached cloth diapers.
Unbleached prefold cloth diapers must be washed at least 2-3 times after you receive them before they become absorbent. Despite the added effort necessary to break in these diapers, they are extremely popular, cost effective and by most accounts well worth it.
Various options available:
1) Boil in a pot of water for 30+ minutes. Rinse. Throw in washer and dryer.
2) Washing the diapers in hot sudsy water and drying them on high heat and repeating as many times as necessary for the diapers to become absorbent. Depending upon the detergent you use and the hardness of your water and the natural variations in cotton materials you may have to wash these up to 5 times before they become fully absorbent. Do not under any circumstance use fabric softener as this causes the fabric to be coated and thus repels moisture.
3) Strip diaper using the blue Original Dawn , found in most Dollar Stores, and hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. If needed, scrub with a brush. Rinse and then wash in wash machine.
4) Order your unbleached diapers from ju-jumonkey.com and add on the break-in service for $3. We will break-in all your unbleached products in your order. That way you can start using them as soon as they arrive :>
You can test the absorbency by making a pocket of the diaper and slowly pouring 1/2 cup of liquid into the diaper. If the water pools and does not soak in fairly quickly, keep washing.