I've always been of the mind that cloth diapers can take a beating. I mean after all they are made to be pooped and peed in every day and then washed frequently with "chemicals" including homemade detergents. So, I thought, "Why do I have to treat them with kid gloves?"
I've been cloth diapering constantly for a little over 2 years. Bleach (with my hard water) has become my best friend. I can't wash my diapers with out it. If I do I get major lake water smell. Water itself is rough on the elastic, but so is using the diaper every day by stretching it to get a snug fit on your baby. The one thing I was very careful to avoid was putting my covers, pockets, and AIO in the dryer. So much so that I knew that if I wanted to be sure they were not put in the dryer, I had to do it myself. Occasionally (in the beginning I was using only covers/pf) a cover would hide in the prefolds and get tossed in the dryer. I used those covers for a good year before moving on to pockets and AIO. Never did I have any problem with weak snaps or de-laminating.
I started using pockets before my last son was born, so for a little over a year. For a majority of that year I took special precaution to hang all my covers, pockets, and AIO. I never had one problem with the PUL or snaps; and I really prided myself in that. I thought, "Awesome! These really will last through 2 children easily as long as I keep hanging them to dry." Plus my pockets were being used full time between two little bums. So after one year, they were/are in great shape. Lately though, I've slacked on that gentle care idea for my pockets, AIO, and wetbags. Yep, you guessed it. I've been putting them all in the dryer every other day when I do my diaper laundry. I've been doing this for about at least a month now and I sorely regret it.
De-lamination is almost like a four letter word in the cloth diapering world. You don't want to hear it. Unfortunately it is common to PUL items. From what I have gathered there are two basic kinds of de-lamination. The first is one caused by poor manufacturing. Where in fact the waterproof lining has separated from the outer material.
This is a wet bag I had received. I used it once, washed it and when I went to hang it to dry the lining was completely separated from the outer cloth. Now, something like this is a manufacturing defect because I received another wet bag from same company in a different print, but it is still fine. This particular batch of material just was not made properly.
The other known type of de-laminating is when the PUL has been dried and over time it cracks. I think an occasional, "oops it went through the dryer" is not going to harm anything, but a constant barrage of high heat is going quickly deteriorate the waterproof lining. One of my wet bags has de-laminated because of the dryer. I went to put it in my pail one day and noticed all these cracks all over it. Since it is just a wet bag, I don't stress it too much because I can simply wipe down my pail if moisture gets through. If this was on a diaper cover, pocket, or AIO, that would be a different story. Some suggest putting it back in the dryer to see if it would reseal, but I'm skeptical of that. Once that lamination is cracked, you will inevitably have leaks.
Now, I'm sure there are lots of moms out there who say they put their covers in the dryer, but I'm not sure that they all do it on high heat for 60-70 minutes every other day like I had been.
Another effect of the dryer on covers/pockets/AIO is that the heat will eventually weaken your snaps. Yep, another lesson learned. Most of my nighttime diapers are KaWaii Goodnight Heavy Wetters. I went to put one on my son, and as I unsnapped it, one of the snaps just popped right off. Weird, I thought it was just a fluke. I had noticed on one of my GoGreen Pocket Diapers that the back of a snap seemed to be melted. Fast forward to two nights ago and another snapped off. Great. In my haste to trying to do things easier I have probably sped up the wear and tear on my diapers. So, instead of my diapers lasting a year or more, I may have less than a year in them. Bummer.
Broken snaps can be fixed though. I am thinking of getting myself a snap pliers to at least fix the broken snaps. After all having two in diapers, and losing two of my night diapers is not something I'm okay with. A de-laminated diaper, unless it is a manufacturing defect and it is within the one year warranty (check with the manufacturer for warranty info) your diaper, cover, or wet bag will be replaced. If it is user error, you are out of luck.
This is definitely a lesson learned that I am not willing to repeat.