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!
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?
- Do cloth diapers ruin your washing machine?
- Can I wash cloth diapers and inserts together?
- How to wash cloth diapers for the first time
- How to hand wash cloth diapers
- Which cloth diapers are best?
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
This is for holding dirty/wet diapers before they’re washed.
You’ll want something with a bit of airflow 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 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.
Not as complicated as you thought, right?
Do cloth diapers ruin your washing machine?
Nope, cloth diapers don’t ruin your washing machine.
But 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?
Yes, after changing your babe, you don’t have to take apart their diaper.
For most cloth diaper manufacturers, you can wash both the cloth diaper and their inserts together.
So no having to mess about with dismantling it all before you throw it in the wash.
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.
It might just be that a quick rinse wash gets them working at maximum capacity.
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.
Which cloth diapers are best?
If you’re diving headfirst into the cloth diaper battleground, the best of the best, according to our Peanut Community of moms is EcoNaps.
They’re here to show those disposable diapers a thing or two about style, comfort, and giving a damn about the environment.
Super soft, plastic neutral (right down to their packaging) and adorable designs?
Cloth diapers don’t get better than these.
There you have it, all you need to know about how to wash cloth diapers.
So are you planning on ditching the disposables?
Or, if you want to chat with other moms who have tried and tested cloth diapers for themselves, why not ask our Peanut Community for their opinions?
Good luck, mama!