You love the idea of using cloth diapers (and doing your bit to reduce those 3.3 million tons of diapers that end up in landfills every year) but….well… washing cloth diapers and getting up close with your baby’s poop might just be a step too far.
We hear you! Learning how to clean cloth diapers might feel like a mountain to climb. But it doesn’t have to be so scary.
And if you’re wondering do you really save money using cloth diapers? The answer is hell yeah, mama! The average cost of using disposable diapers per child (assuming they potty train around the age of 2) is approximately $1700. So although the upfront cost of a good stash of cloth diapers might sound pricey, cloth diapering will save you money in the long run.
In this article: 📝
- What is the best way to wash cloth diapers?
- Simple, right?! Well here are some other common FAQs…
What is the best way to wash cloth diapers?
Cloth diaper care doesn’t have to be complicated — you can adjust and personalize your washing routine to fit you. Before you get started, read through the washing instructions of your chosen diapers to make sure you clean them according to their warranty.
Generally, this simple cloth diaper wash routine will get you started:
Step 1: Set up some storage
Keep a washable wet bag or a plastic pail (something you can clean easily) near your change table. This is for holding dirty/wet diapers before they’re washed. You’ll want something with a bit of air flow to help avoid odors and mold, so make sure your bag or container isn’t completely airtight.
Step 2: Remove the poop
If it’s a pee-only diaper, toss it straight in the pail. Exclusively-breastfed (no solids) baby poop is water soluble and doesn’t necessarily need rinsing off, so you can pop that straight in the pail, too. Babies who are formula-fed or on solids will have thicker poop that needs to be rinsed off. If you can, roll it straight into the toilet, or use toilet paper, a scrubbing brush, or a sprayer attachment to get it off. Once the bulk of the poop is removed, chuck the diaper in the pail.
Step 3: Pre-wash
It’s important to do a pre-wash so you’re not washing your diapers in the equivalent of toilet water. There are several ways to do this. One way is simply to run a pre-wash cycle (or a soak, or a rinse and spin) right before your main wash. Another way is to do a daily quick wash of your dirty diapers with a half dose of detergent, then put those pre-washed diapers in a separate bag until it’s time for your main wash.
Step 4: Main wash
Every 2-3 days, do a long wash with maximum water usage on hot with a full dose of detergent. You can add a laundry booster if you wish, but don’t add fabric softener – it affects the absorbency of the diapers. The washing machine should be loosely full when loaded, so the diapers are properly agitated. If necessary, bulk out the load with other small items like baby clothing, burp cloths, wash cloths, etc. You might also want to do an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is removed from the diapers.
Step 5: Dry them!
Dry the diapers on a clothing rack or outside clothes line, or put them in the dryer at the manufacturer’s suggested temperature.
Simple, right?! Well here are some other common FAQs…
Do cloth diapers ruin your washing machine?
Nope, you just might want to run a drum-clean cycle every month or two to keep it fresh.
Can I wash cloth diapers and inserts together?
How to wash cloth diapers for the first time
Some cloth diapers will benefit from several washes to boost absorbency before you use them for the first time. Check with the manufacturer of the diapers you choose to see what they recommend.
How to hand wash cloth diapers
Use the same steps as above using the hottest water from your taps to fill your bathtub. Using a plunger can help with agitation, and just keep rinsing the items until the water runs through with no suds, sliminess, or bubbles.