Skip links
Diaper Change Station

How To Easily Wash Cloth Diapers

If you’re a new parent, you’re likely discovering the many joys and challenges of child-rearing. One of those challenges might be figuring out how to wash cloth diapers properly. It’s not as daunting as it might seem, and with the proper steps, you’ll be a pro.

Cloth diapers are eco-friendly and cost-effective. But they do require more work than disposable ones. Don’t worry! This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you always have clean, fresh diapers for your baby.

Why Choose Cloth Diapers?

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Why opt for cloth diapers when disposable ones seem much easier?” Well, there’s plenty at stake behind your choice. Let’s explore the key reasons you should gravitate towards cloth.

Underlining the ecological perspective, cloth diapers are an eco-friendly option. They’re reusable, reducing the amount of waste in landfills. Think about it. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, A healthy baby uses at least 6 diapers daily. That’s nearly 3000 diapers per year! Yet, when you choose cloth, that number drops dramatically, beneficially impacting the earth.

You’re hitting the sweet spot between cost-effectiveness and sustainability with cloth diapers. While the upfront cost may be higher than disposables, you’ll realize substantial savings in the long run. According to a comparison study, parents can save up to $1,500 during the first two years when choosing cloth diapers, even when you factor in laundry costs.

Furthermore, cloth diapers are gentle on your baby’s skin. Since they do not contain harmful chemicals or plastics, they may lessen the risk of diaper rashes and other skin irritations, which are often linked to disposable diapers.

The journey into parenthood is an entire of decisions. When faced with the dilemma of cloth vs. disposable diapers, we hope you’ll choose the path less traveled. It might seem challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it and appreciate the difference it makes to your wallet, your baby, and the planet, you’ll likely never look back. Later in this article, we’ll elucidate how to wash your cloth diapers efficiently and quickly.

What You’ll Need

So, you’re ready to step towards becoming an eco-conscious parent. You’ve decided cloth diapers fit your family’s needs well. However, you might wonder, “What do I need to wash these cloth diapers effectively?” Don’t worry. You’re not alone in this. Let’s break down the essentials.

Firstly, you’ll need a diaper pail or wet bag to store soiled diapers before washing. A diaper pail is ideal for use at home, while a wet bag provides convenience on the go. It’s important to choose a storage method that keeps odors at bay. Look for a diaper pail with a tight-fitting lid or a wet bag with a zippered opening.

Next, you’ll need a laundry detergent safe for cloth diapers and your baby’s tender skin. It’s crucial to avoid detergents that contain fabric softeners, scents, dyes, and brighteners, as these can damage the diapers and irritate your baby’s skin. A safe bet is to stick to natural detergents or those marked as ‘cloth diaper safe.’

diaper sprayer, though optional, can be a lifesaver when dealing with poop messes. It’s a handy tool that attaches to your toilet and uses its water supply to rinse off poo from the diapers.

Lastly, a cloth-friendly bleach might also be useful if the diapers have stains that laundry detergent alone can’t handle. Always ensure you use bleach that is safe for your babies’ skin.

To break it down, here’s a list:

  • Diaper pail or wet bag
  • Laundry detergent (cloth diaper safe)
  • Diaper sprayer (Optional)
  • Cloth-friendly bleach (Optional)

Setting up your cloth diaper wash routine takes some preparation and adjustment. But with all the necessary tools and supplies, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the process.

Now that we know what we need let’s dive into effectively cleaning those cloth diapers in the next section.

Prepping Your Cloth Diapers

Before you begin washing, there’s some groundwork to be laid in the form of prepping. Now, prepping your cloth diapers isn’t some herculean task. It’s straightforward and relatively simple to adopt. Let’s dive into the process step by step, making sure your cloth nappies are all set for their washing routine.

First off, you’d want to purchase high-quality cloth diapers. Remember, these aren’t just eco-friendly and cost-effective; they also ensure urinary comfort for your baby. Once you’ve chosen the ideal material, color, and print themes that suit your little one’s needs, it’s time for the next step.

New cloth diapers made from natural fibers should ideally be pre-washed multiple times before use to reach maximum absorbency. Don’t worry; you don’t have to wash them individually; you can bulk wash them with other laundry items of similar colors.

Ever wonder why this pre-washing is necessary? It’s because the natural oils found in new cloth diapers made from natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo reduce their ability to be fully absorbent. So, by pre-washing them, you’re able to remove most of these oils—a smart move!
Keep in mind that synthetic materials don’t require this pre-washing phase.

It’s important to note that once a cloth diaper has been used, it shouldn’t be washed with your regular laundry. Used cloth diapers require a separate laundry routine due to fecal matter that can contaminate other clothes. Always treat and rinse out fecal matter before tossing the cloth diaper in a diaper pail or wet bag.

Speaking of diaper pails or wet bags, choosing the right one is crucial. Watertight and odor-retaining are vital features you’d want to look for in your diaper storage solution. You might also want a pail or bag that can hold a decent number of diapers, saving you from the everyday laundry chore.

With the initial steps complete, you’re ready to tackle the real challenge—washing the cloth diapers. It’s not too far-fetched to make washing cloth diapers a swift, easy part of your routine. In the following section, we’ll discuss washing techniques and provide a detailed guide.

Storing Dirty Diapers

Stashing unwashed cloth diapers is easier than you might think. Planning and having the proper storage set-up can make washing days more manageable. The type of diaper pail or wet bag you use can significantly impact your cloth diapering experience.

Consider using a diaper pail with a lid specially designed for cloth diapers. This method is practical if you use cloth diapers full-time and have a dedicated space near your changing station. Choosing a water-tight and odor-retaining diaper pail is essential to avoid unpleasant leaks and smells.

There’s an option to line your pail with a reusable pail liner. These liners are designed to hold soiled diapers until wash day. They’re convenient because you can toss them into the wash with your diapers. They are available in numerous fun prints and colors, adding a bit of whimsy to diaper duty. It is advisable to have at least two pail liners to alternate between washes.

Wet bags are your best bet if you’re always on the go. They come in various sizes, from small pouches to large bags, and are perfect for those unavoidable diaper changes when you’re out and about. Just like giant pail liners, wet bags are machine-washable and dryer-friendly.

Regardless of the storage method you select, remember to do some maintenance. Empty your pail or wet bag every two days or sooner to avoid smells and potential stains from setting into your cloth diapers. Treat any soiled diapers before placing them in your pail or wet bag to simplify the washing process later.

Finding the best storage solution for dirty cloth diapers can take trial and error. It’s okay! Remember, your ultimate goal is creating a system that works for you and your family within your daily routine. Before discussing the washing techniques in detail in the forthcoming section, let’s first understand the suitable detergent for cloth diapers.

How Frequently to Wash Diapers

Understanding the frequency of washing cloth diapers is pivotal in diaper maintenance. While most new parents may fret about the constant need for washing, it’s not as daunting as it seems. You’ll find a rhythm that fits your schedule without feeling overwhelmed. So, let’s delve into how often you need to wash those cloth diapers.

It’s advised to wash your cloth diapers every two to three days. Waiting longer can lead to stains settling more deeply into the fabric and the buildup of unpleasant odors. Also, bacteria and mold can flourish in damp and dirty environments, leading to potential health risks for your little one.

Too frequent washing may also have its issues. Washing your cloth diapers day-to-day may seem like a good idea, but it could lead to significant wear and tear on the fabric over time.

Storage capacity might be the defining factor in your cloth diaper washing schedule. Factors such as the size of your diaper pail or wet bag, the number of diapers your baby goes through in a day, and the capacity of your washing machine all come into play.

Don’t worry about being tied down by these guidelines. They’re here to assist, but every parent’s journey is unique. Depending on the influencing factors mentioned above, some may prefer washing smaller loads more frequently, while others may choose to wash larger loads less often.

Steps to Wash Cloth Diapers

Opting for cloth diapers for your baby is a smart choice – both for the environment and your pocket. However, if you’re clueless about how to wash cloth diapers, it could turn into an intimidating prospect. But don’t worry – it’s easier than you may think. Armed with the following steps, washing cloth diapers will quickly become a no-fuss routine for you.

Step 1: Knock and Rinse

Start by knocking off or rinsing solids into the toilet. Do this before the diaper lands in your pail. This step reduces the smell and decreases staining.

Step 2: Pre Rinse Cycle

Gather your soiled diapers from the diaper pail or wet bag. Run them in your washing machine on a short, cold water cycle. No detergent for this round – you want to remove as much pee and poop as possible.

Step 3: Hot Wash Cycle

Now that you have rinsed off the yucky stuff, it’s time to clean the diapers thoroughly. Use your favorite cloth diaper-friendly detergent and run a hot water cycle. The hot water, combined with the detergent, will deep clean the diaper fibers, making them sanitary once again.

Step 4: Rinse Again

For the final rinse, use cold water. It will help wash out any lingering detergent, reducing potential skin irritation. Take note – you shouldn’t see any suds during this rinse. If you do, it means there’s extra detergent still present, and you’ll need to rinse again.

Step 5: Dry

Drying cloth diapers is as simple as hanging them in the sun or tossing them in your dryer. Check your diaper labels for specific instructions, as some materials may not handle the heat well.

There you go! Those are five easy steps to wash cloth diapers. With practice, you’ll find the process goes swiftly and smoothly.

Drying Your Cloth Diapers

After completing the rinse cycle, the next step is drying your cloth diapers. There are several effective methods to dry your diapers, each with unique benefits. You could hang them out on a line to sun-dry or opt for the convenience of machine drying.

The Power of the Sun

What’s better than the natural, eco-friendly method of line drying? It’s powerful yet gentle. When you choose the sun to dry your cloth diapers, you’re not just drying them but also naturally bleaching them. Sun exposure will fade out stains and kill off bacteria, thanks to its natural disinfectant properties.

To line dry, place your diapers outdoors in direct sunlight. If outdoor space is limited or unavailable, an indoor drying rack by a sunny window is a great substitute. However, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the fabric to become brittle, so bringing your diapers in as soon as they’re dry is advisable.

The Convenience of Machine Drying

On the other hand, some situations need the convenience of a dryer. Perhaps the weather isn’t conducive for line drying, or time is of the essence. In such scenarios, tumble drying is a viable option. The heat from the dryer not only dries the diapers but also acts as a further disinfecting measure.

Set your machine on a low to medium heat setting. High temperatures can potentially harm the diaper’s waterproof layer. Remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying guidance.

Please Note: Whether you choose line or machine drying, ensure that your diapers are completely dry before folding and storing them. Using partially dried cloth diapers could lead to a buildup of bacteria and mildew, which is neither beneficial for the diaper’s integrity nor your baby’s health.

Drying your cloth diapers properly is imperative to maintain their durability. Whether you prefer line drying or machine drying, each method has pros. What matters most is finding the best method for your lifestyle and cloth diapering routine.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some proven tips and tricks to make your cloth diapering journey a breeze.

Let’s explore the world of cloth diapers. Firstly, use the diaper sprayer. This handy tool sprays solid waste into the toilet rather than wiping it into your diaper pail, making it invaluable when it comes time to clean your diapers.

Next, invest in cloth wipes. These reusable wipes make cleaning up messes more stress-free. Whatever detergent you use for your diapers is also acceptable for cloth wipes. Plus, they’re softer on your baby’s delicate skin.

Thirdly, try an eco-friendly detergent. Not all laundry detergents are created equal when it comes to cloth diapers. Some detergents may contain fragrances, enzymes, or other ingredients that aren’t cloth diaper-friendly. These can cause buildup on your diapers, reducing their absorbency. Opt for a detergent free from these ingredients to keep your diapers clean and absorbent.

Remember, patience is vital when it comes to managing cloth diapers. You might need to correct some things or encounter some hiccups. But don’t worry; you’ll get the hang of it quickly. After all, every new endeavor has a learning curve.

That was an array of tips and tricks you can consider in your journey with cloth diapers. We’ll move on to other aspects in the subsequent sections. Remember, keeping up with a solid routine, using the right products, and understanding how to care for cloth diapers properly go a long way in your eco-friendly parenting journey.


You now have the know-how to tackle cloth diaper laundry like a pro. Remember, it’s more manageable than it first appears. You’ll find it a breeze with the right tools and a dedicated routine. The eco-friendly and cost-saving benefits are worth the effort. Plus, your baby’s skin will thank you. Remember those essential items: a sturdy diaper pail or wet bag, cloth-safe detergent, and optional items like a diaper sprayer or cloth-friendly bleach—pre-wash new diapers to maximize absorbency and keep your diaper laundry separate from regular loads. For added convenience, consider cloth wipes and remember to strip your diapers if needed. As you continue your cloth diapering journey, stay tuned for more tips and tricks and essential precautions to keep in mind. Happy diapering!

Clotheslyne: A Professional Laundry Solution

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!