How to Wash Cloth Diapers

How to wash cloth diapers if your diapers were stored in a wet pail

Dump the entire contents of the pail (diapers and soak water) into the washing machine and run a spin cycle to remove the water, then use your preferred method for laundering your diapers.

Be sure to scrub out your diaper pail once you've emptied it.

How to wash cloth diapers if your diapers were stored in a dry pail
Ensure all of your diapers are separated and secure velcro tabs to prevent diapers from sticking together (I find this easy to do at changing time).

Assuming you have removed as much of the solids as possible before tossing soiled diapers in your dry diaper pail, your next step will be to run a cold-cold cycle with Borax, washing soda or baking soda to minimize stains, then use your preferred method for laundering your diapers.

If you use a washable diaper liner in your dry diaper pail, toss the liner in with your diapers to be washed.

Wash your diapers on the hot-cold cycle. If your diapers came with recommendations regarding what type of detergent to use (many do), it's wise to follow those recommendations. Otherwise, look for laundry detergents that do not contain fabric softener, or fragrance and have as few additives as possible. Fabric softener and other additives can cause residue buildup on your diapers and reduce their absorbency.

To avoid residue buildup, you should also avoid using too much detergent. You shouldn't need more than about 1/2 cup.

If, like me, you have a baby with sensitive skin, you may have to experiment a bit before you find a laundry detergent that works for your diapers and your baby's skin.

Do not use bleach on your cloth diapers; it can cause them to break down and become ruined.

Avoid washing too many diapers at once in order to ensure your diapers are cleaned well. Assuming you wash your diapers every other day, you shouldn't have too many diapers to wash at one time

Many parents recommend doing a final rinse cycle to remove any excess detergent. This extra cycle will help to avoid buildup and maintain your diapers' absorbency.

Cloth diaper manufacturers will provide instructions on how to wash cloth diapers, and some fabrics require special treatment. Always check the washing instructions on your diapers very carefully before washing them for the first time.

Drying Cloth Diapers

Line Drying Diapers

  • If you are able to line dry your diapers outside, this can be a great option. The sun on your drying diapers can be very effective for removing or at least fading stains.

  • Line dried diapers can be a little stiff at times. Adding vinegar to the water in the final rinse cycle can help eliminate that stiffness.

  • If you aren't able to line dry outdoors, you may want to consider hanging your diapers to dry indoors. There are a number of drying apparatuses you can use, just be sure there is a free flow of air around the diapers and they are hanging somewhere warm enough to get fully dried in a reasonable time.

Drying Diaper in Your Dryer
Many parents simply dry their cloth diapers in a clothes dryer. If you choose this method for drying your cloth diapers, avoid using a dryer sheet in the dryer. The fabric softener on dryer sheets can build up on your diapers and cause them to become less absorbent.

For more instructions on how to wash cloth diapers please see the article and links here: Washing Cloth Diapers


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