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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 properly wash cloth diapers. It’s not as daunting as it might seem, and with the right steps, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Cloth diapers aren’t just eco-friendly, they’re also cost-effective. But they do require a bit more work than disposable ones. Don’t worry! This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you have clean, fresh diapers for your baby every time.

Why Choose Cloth Diapers?

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

Underlining the ecological perspective, cloth diapers are an eco-friendly option. They’re reusable, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Think about it. A baby uses about 6 to 10 diapers daily. That’s nearly 3000 diapers per year! Yet, when you choose cloth, that number drops dramatically, impacting the earth in a beneficial way.

With cloth diapers, you’re hitting the sweet spot between cost-effectiveness and sustainability. 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 tender on your baby’s skin. Possessing no 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 full of decisions. So when faced with the cloth vs. disposable diaper dilemma, 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. Coming up later in this article, we’ll elucidate how to wash your cloth diapers efficiently and easily.

What You’ll Need

So, you’re ready to take a step towards becoming an eco-conscious parent. You’ve decided cloth diapers are a good fit for your family’s needs. However, you might be wondering, “What do I need to effectively wash these cloth diapers?” 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 that is 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’.

A 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’re using a bleach safe for your babies’ skin.

To break it down simply, 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 the procedure of how to effectively get those cloth diapers clean in the next section.

Prepping Your Cloth Diapers

Before you actually begin washing, there’s some groundwork to be laid in the form of prepping. Now, Prepping Your Cloth Diapers isn’t some herculean task. In fact, it’s straightforward and quite 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.

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

Ever wondered why this pre-washing? 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.

Moving on, it’s important to note that once a cloth diaper has been used, they 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 any fecal matter before tossing the cloth diaper in a diaper pail or wet bag.

Speaking of diaper pails or wet bags, it’s crucial to choose the right one. Water-tight 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 could fit in 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. We’ll further discuss washing techniques and provide a detailed guide in the following section.

Storing Dirty Diapers

Stashing unwashed cloth diapers isn’t as complicated as you might think. Planning ahead and having the right storage set-up can make washing days less daunting. 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’re using cloth diapers full time and have a dedicated space near your changing station. It’s essential to choose a water-tight and odor-retaining diaper pail 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 the soiled diapers until wash day. They’re convenient because you can toss them right into the wash with your diapers. They are available in numerous fun prints and colors, adding a bit of whimsy to diaper duty. It’s advisable to have at least two pail liners to alternate between washes.

If you’re always on the go, wet bags can be your best bet. 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 larger pail liners, wet bags are machine-washable and dryer-friendly.

Regardless of the storage method you select, don’t forget to do up some maintenance. Empty your pail or wet bag every two days or sooner to avoid smells and potential stains 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 your dirty cloth diapers can take some 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 we discuss the washing techniques in detail, let’s first understand the right kind of detergent for cloth diapers in the forthcoming section.

How Frequently to Wash Diapers

Understanding the frequency of washing cloth diapers plays a pivotal role in diaper maintenance. While most new parents may fret about the constant need for washing, it’s not as daunting as it seems. In fact, 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.

Typically, 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. Additionally, bacteria and mold can flourish in damp and dirty environments, which can lead to potential health risks for your little one.

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

In reality, 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. Some may prefer washing smaller loads more frequently, while others may choose to wash larger loads less often depending on the influencing factors mentioned above.

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 to you.

Step 1: Knock and Rinse

Start by knocking off or rinsing solids into the toilet. You’ll want to do this before the diaper lands in your diaper pail. Not only does this step reduce smell, but it also 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 just 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 thoroughly clean the diapers. Use your favorite cloth diaper friendly detergent and run a hot water cycle. The hot water, combined with the detergent, will deep clean the fibers of the diaper – 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 out in the sun or tossing them in your dryer. Just be sure to 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. Now let’s move on to additional tips and tricks for handling cloth diapers.

Drying Your Cloth Diapers

After completing the rinse cycle, the next step is drying your cloth diapers. There are a couple of effective methods to dry your diapers, each with its 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 not available, an indoor drying rack by a sunny window is a great substitute. It’s important to note, however, that prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fabric to become brittle, so it’s advisable to bring your diapers in as soon as they’re dry.

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 maybe time is of the essence. In such scenarios, tumble drying is a viable option. The heat from the dryer doesn’t just dry 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 manufacturer’s instructions for specific drying guidance.

Please Note: Whether you choose line drying or machine drying, ensure that your diapers are completely dry before folding and storing them away. 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 its pros. What matters most is finding the method that works best for your lifestyle and cloth diapering routine.

Tips and Tricks

To make your cloth diapering journey a breeze, here are some proven tips and tricks.

Let’s dive deeper into the world of cloth diapers. Firstly, use the Diaper Sprayer. It’s a handy tool for spraying off solid waste into the toilet rather than wiping it into your diaper pail. This sprayer can be an invaluable asset when it comes time to clean your diapers.

Next, invest in Cloth Wipes. These reusable wipes make cleaning up messes a bit more stress-free. Whatever detergent you’re using for your diapers is also fine 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 build up on your diapers which reduces their absorbency. Opt for a detergent that’s free from these ingredients to keep your diapers clean and absorbent.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to managing cloth diapers. You might make a few mistakes or encounter some hiccups along the way. But, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. 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 properly care for cloth diapers goes a long way in your eco-friendly parenting journey.


You’ve now got the know-how to tackle cloth diaper laundry like a pro. Remember, it’s not as daunting as it first appears. With the right tools and a dedicated routine, you’ll find it’s a breeze. The eco-friendly and cost-saving benefits are worth the effort. Plus, your baby’s skin will thank you. Don’t forget those key 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, as well as 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!