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Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing Cloth Diapers

Prepping Your Diapers
Most cloth diapers need to be washed before their first use to increase their absorbency. Diapers made with natural materials (cotton, hemp, etc.) need to be washed and dried 4-5 times before they will become fully absorbent. Products made with synthetic materials (microfiber inserts, polyester diaper covers, etc.) only need to be washed once before use.

How Often To Wash
Depending on the amount of diapers you own you will need to wash every 2-3 days . If you decide to go much longer than that you will find that your diapers will be a little harder to clean and I generally do not recommend it.

Before You Wash
Remove your child's diaper and shake off the solids into the toilet or flush the disposable liner down the toilet or spray the solids off with a Diaper Sprayer (works incredibly well).  If your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to shake excess poop into the toilet as it is water soluble and will wash out easily.

Unfold your diapers to ensure thorough cleaning and remove liners or inserts.  Re-fasten the Velcro® strap (when applicable) and place the dirty/wet diaper into a DRY diaper pail.

Washing Is Easy!
    Empty Diaper Pail Liner into the washer (and throw it in with the diapers to wash it) and use pre-wash cycle, quick/short wash, or a rinse cycle to rinse out urine and fecal matter.  
    Add a wet towel to increase the amount of water or set water level to maximum.
    Add detergent (additive-free is recommended). DO NOT use the sanitizing cycle.
    Leave the covers out to air dry (without sun, the diapers may show stains from poop - however, they are clean!)  Please also remember that the dryer is hard on any waterproof fabric, so if you want to extend life keep them out of the dryer as often as possible (see manufacturer's recommendations).
  • DONE…your diapers are clean and ready to use!!!


Choose a detergent that does not contain any of the following additives:

  • Fabric softeners - can coat diapers, causing them to lose absorbency

  • Natural oils - can coat diapers, causing them to lose absorbency

  • Perfumes - some babies are sensitive to fragrances

  • Dyes - some babies are sensitive to dyes

  • Stain guard ingredients - can coat diapers, causing them to lose absorbency

  • Enzymes - some babies are sensitive to enzymes on their skin

What if my diapers smell/leak/don't absorb/cause rashes?

Often, problems with cloth diapers are caused by urine buildup  -- they're just not getting clean enough!  Often just adding MORE detergent is the solution.  Sometimes you will need to strip diapers before trying anything new, as they need to be a 'clean slate' -- run them through a couple hot washes with no detergent.

Other times, a particular detergent just isn't a good match for your washer/diapers/water.  Switching to another brand can often help, too.

The key is to keep it SIMPLE.  Detergent and water should be all you need to keep your diapers clean!  Avoid using vinegar, bleach, or other laundry additives as they can cause premature wear and tear and sometimes can harm waterproofing!

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