Washing Cloth Diapers
Regular wash routine:There are many opinions about washing cloth diapers, and many people have developed additional steps and routines based on their individual needs. Here is a simple routine for washing cloth diapers that has worked for us. We recommend starting simple and adjust only if necessary for your baby or water-type.
- If soiled, use the mini-shower to remove poop from diaper. Leave the diaper wet enough that it almost drips. Keeping the diaper wet until it is washed will help reduce stains.
- Toss into a dry pail; wash every day or every other day.
- Wash no more than 12 - 18 diapers at a time.
- Use your washer's highest water level.
- Pre-rinse with cold water and no detergent.
- Use a regular hot water cycle and Tide (not Tide Free).
- Dry diapers in the dryer or hang dry or a combination of both.
Here are some things to avoid:
- Avoid using chlorine bleach on a regular basis. It will break down fibers and noticeably shorten the life of your diapers. In addition, it may irritate your baby's skin. Some manufacturers, like bumGenius!, recommend using 1/4 cup bleach with your regular wash once a month.
- No fabric softeners, which coat fabric and reduce absorbency. This includes 'baby' detergents such as Dreft.
Lengthening the Life of Your Cloth DiapersHere are some things that you can do to help your diapers last longer:
Smelly Use baking soda and vinegar! Here's how:
How do baking soda and vinegar work?The baking soda neutralizes acidic odors, removes acid and protein based stains, and softens the diapers. The vinegar neutralizes alkaline odors and removes alkaline based stains. Rather than adding the baking soda to your washer on wash day, you can add it directly to the diaper pail before you begin to fill it with diapers. This will help keep your diaper pail smelling fresh. Note: if you have hard water, use borax instead of baking soda.
Do I HAVE to use a Mini-Shower for dirty diapers?No! If your baby is solely breastfed, you can just throw the diaper into your diaper pail. The initial cold rinse will remove the poop. This is because the poop of breastfed babies is water soluble. However, stains will occur.
After your baby starts solids, you should shake off what you can into the toilet before placing the diapers into the diaper pail. Another option is to use biodegradable, flushable liners. Just remove the liner, poop and all, and drop into the toilet.
However, if you want your diapers remain stain-free, we recommend using the Mini-Shower and leaving your diaper almost dripping wet when placing it into the diaper pail. Keeping it wet until wash day will minimize staining.
Choosing a detergentThere are many opinions about which detergents are best for cloth diapers. We believe you should use what works for you and your baby. Remember, if you feel your detergent isn't working, you can always strip your diapers and start over. Our top three recommended detergents are Original Powder Tide (not liquid Tide, HE Tide, or other version of Tide), Allen's Naturally, Charlie's Soap, and Sensi-Clean. Do not use any baby detergents such as Dreft, since they contain fabric softeners.
For a complete detergent chart, click here. This guide will help you choose the best detergent for your cloth diapers.