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Easy Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

Once you work out your own cloth diaper washing routine, you will be the expert on your diapers in your washer and dryer. Start with this simple routine and adjust as necessary.

Wash Before Wearing

All cloth diapers should be pre-washed before using so the diapers fluff up and achieve optimal softness and absorbency. White or bleached diapers require only one prewash. Natural or unbleached diapers require 3-5 pre-washes to make the diapers fully absorbent.

Simple Wash Method

  • Use a dry pail. No soaking! Shake the solid waste into the toilet before putting diaper into pail. Add scented deo disks to control odor and add a nice citrus scent.
  • Cover hook and loop before you put the diaper or diaper cover into the pail to prevent it catching and wearing on other diapers.
  • Never use fabric softeners or chlorine-based bleach. These degrade the fibers and leave a residue that prevents absorbency.
  • A single load should have no more than 24 diapers. You can wash diapers, covers, wipes, and inserts together. NOTE: do not wash wool diaper covers with the diapers. See manufacturer washing instructions.
  • Start with a cold rinse to help prevent stains.
  • Then, run a full hot wash with soap or detergent. Liquid laundry detergents rinse out more easily.
  • Follow with a second hot wash without detergent or an additional cold rinse. You may want to periodically add 1/3 cup of baking soda to the second rinse to make sure you’re getting all of the detergent out of your diapers to prevent residue build up that leads to leaky diapers.
  • Hang diaper covers to dry to increase their lifespan.
  • Dry fleece covers with diapers, wipes, and inserts on high heat. Save energy by line drying or air drying.
  • High heat or direct sunlight will sterilize cloth diapers if you find that necessary.

If you care for cloth diapers by cleaning and rinsing well, you will give them a long absorbent life. Drying on high heat or in the sun will help you avoid bacteria and irritants that can cause diaper rash.

Stripping Diapers

If you do choose to use soap rather than detergent and it leaves a residue on your diapers, the natural solution to break down the residue is a vinegar rinse. This will help maintain diaper absorbency.

We recommend that you use no more than ½ cup of distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Make sure it is distilled vinegar to avoid stains from vinegars with color.

Vinegar may also be used in the rinse cycle to help neutralize the urine odor, equalize the pH balance, help prevent stains from setting in, and as a natural fabric softener.

NOTE: If you have hard water, vinegar may cause your diapers to smell bad once urinated on. In that case, we recommend you discontinue using soap and switch to detergent.