top of page
  • Writer's picturemommynjammies

From Prepping to Storing: The Complete Cloth Diaper Washing Routine for New Parents

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Fear not, as we have got you covered! In this article, we will guide you through the complete cloth diaper washing routine - from prepping to storing. We will share expert tips and tricks to ensure that your cloth diapers stay clean, fresh, and hygienic for your baby's use.


Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

Welcome to the world of cloth diapering! As a new parent, you may have heard about the many benefits of using cloth diapers for your little one. Not only are they eco-friendly and cost-effective, but they also provide a soft and comfortable fit for your baby's delicate skin.


However, the thought of washing and maintaining cloth diapers can be overwhelming for many new parents. Fear not, as we have got you covered! In this article, we will guide you through the complete cloth diaper washing routine - from prepping to storing. We will share expert tips and tricks to ensure that your cloth diapers stay clean, fresh, and hygienic for your baby's use. So, let's dive in and learn everything you need to know about cloth diaper washing!



What we will cover in this article


The Importance of a Proper Cloth Diaper Washing Routine


A proper washing routine is essential to keep your cloth diapers clean, hygienic, and long-lasting. Unlike disposable diapers, cloth diapers require a bit of extra care and attention when it comes to washing. This is because they are made of absorbent materials that can trap moisture, bacteria, and odors, which can lead to skin irritation and diaper rash. Therefore, it's important to establish a washing routine that is effective in removing all the dirt and bacteria from your cloth diapers, while also being gentle on the fabrics and avoiding any damage or wear and tear.


The key to a proper washing routine is to strike a balance between three main factors: water temperature, detergent, and agitation. Water temperature refers to the temperature of the water used for washing, which can vary depending on the type of cloth diapers, detergent, and washing machine you use. Detergent refers to the cleaning agent used to remove dirt, stains, and bacteria from the cloth diapers. Agitation refers to the mechanical action of the washing machine, which helps to loosen and remove dirt from the fabrics.





A proper washing routine should also take into account any specific instructions or recommendations from the cloth diaper manufacturer. Some cloth diapers may require a prewash or a specific type of detergent, while others may have special care instructions for the elastics, snaps, or liners. Therefore, it's important to read the care label or instructions that come with your cloth diapers, and follow them as closely as possible.





Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

Related: Here are some examples of the Cloth Diapers that I use. Cloth diapers are environmentally friendlier than disposables. They also don’t have all the chemicals that come with disposable diapers, which are often blamed for rashes or allergies on babies.

Important: Let’s not forget also that cloth diapers are a long term investment (not as cheap in the beginning, but they are for sure in the long run).

Now, as good as cloth diapers are, I must confess that I always have disposable backups. It just makes life easier and I use them only if I miscalculate the amount of clean cloth diapers I still have available, or for out of town traveling. So really I don't use that many disposables. Related: These are the Pros and Cons that I came up with after now years of using them. In summary I think that using cloth diapers most of the time for my baby contributes positively to the environment, her healthy skin, and my savings account $$. However, cloth diapers are not for everyone. They might require all, or some of the processes that I will detail below. I hope you find this helpful to start your journey, or make a decision on starting it.



Prepping Your Cloth Diapers Before First Use

Before you start using your cloth diapers, it's important to prep them properly to ensure maximum absorbency and longevity. Prepping refers to the process of washing and drying your cloth diapers multiple times before using them on your baby. This helps to remove any residual oils, waxes, or chemicals from the fabrics, which can affect the absorbency and durability of the cloth diapers.


To prep your cloth diapers, follow these simple steps:

1. Wash your cloth diapers in hot water with a small amount of detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as they can damage the fabrics and reduce absorbency.


2. Dry your cloth diapers on high heat or outside. This helps to activate the absorbent fibers and remove any remaining oils or waxes.


3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for at least three to five times, or until the cloth diapers are fully absorbent and leak-free.


Once your cloth diapers are prepped, you can start using them on your baby. Remember to change the diaper frequently, at least every two to three hours or as needed, to prevent leaks and irritation.


Step-by-Step Guide to Cloth Diapers Washing Routine

Now that your cloth diapers are prepped and ready to use, it's time to establish a washing routine that works for you and your baby. Here's a step-by-step guide to washing cloth diapers:


1. Remove any solid waste from the cloth diaper and dispose of it in the toilet. You can use a diaper sprayer, a diaper liner, or a disposable liner to make this process easier and more hygienic. o do this, I take the diaper to the toilet, unload it, (flush), take the insert out, and then clip the cover and insert separately in my diaper Sprayer, I personally use and love the Aquaus SprayMate Diaper Sprayer, where I rinse off the spots left on them. 


Related: You can check my Aquaus SprayMate Diaper Sprayer, review HERE.


You could let them drain there for a few mins, or if possible, hang them outside under the sun for the same amount of time. This helps to kill bacteria and get rid of stains mainly. It also (uselessly) dries them (they’re going to be washed anyway).


Cloth Diaper Washing Routine




2. Rinse the cloth diaper in cold water to remove any remaining residue or stains.


3. Wash the cloth diaper in hot water with a full scoop of detergent. Use the highest water level and the longest wash cycle available on your washing machine. Avoid overloading the machine, as this can affect the effectiveness of the wash.


I’ll start this step by saying that if I didn’t have a washing machine, I would most likely just use disposable diapers only. But, I do, so here I am!  I mainly use an environmentally friendly detergent such as the Costco brand Kirkland and it has worked very well. It's also very gentle on the cloth diapers' materials.


4. Rinse the cloth diaper in cold water to remove any detergent residue.

Check (or rather “smell check”) if washer machine does the job. If so, continue to dry.If not, give them another short wash cycle, smell check again, and if satisfied with the results, continue to dry.


5. Dry the cloth diaper on low to medium heat. Avoid using high heat, as this can damage the fabrics and elastics. You can also air-dry the cloth diaper, either indoors or outdoors, if the weather permits.


So yes, you could use your dryer, however, it might potentially shorten the useful life of both, covers and inserts. If the savings part of using cloth diapers is important to you, consider going the old fashion way as mentioned before. Pocket covers dry much quicker than inserts, so as I take them out of the washing machine, I hang them on the retractable hanger inside my laundry room. It’s pretty efficient. It fits 40 covers without a problem. Here's is how it looks like, and you can also get it HERE.


Cloth Diaper Washing Routine



I also use the Honey-Can-Do DRY-09065 Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack Steel Find it HERE.


It's important to note that not all cloth diapers are created equal, and some may require a slightly different washing routine. For example, some all-in-one cloth diapers may have a built-in liner that requires extra rinsing, while some pocket cloth diapers may require a separate wash for the inserts and the outer shell. Therefore, it's important to read the care label or instructions that come with your cloth diapers, and adjust your washing routine accordingly.


If you don't think your washing machine can do the job on one cycle, you can always do two or three wash cycles with the hottest possible water.  Always check (smell) after every wash until you believe they're clean. If you decide to do multiple cycles, know that this will take more time and energy consumption. It may also shorten the life of the diapers, so I recommend then washing the pocket covers just once separately, then the inserts as many cycles as needed. Covers seem to be more fragile because of the snaps and material. 


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers can be a bit of trial and error, especially if you're new to the world of cloth diapering. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when washing cloth diapers:


1. Using too much or too little detergent: Using too much detergent can leave residue on the cloth diapers, while using too little can lead to poor cleaning and odor issues. Follow the detergent manufacturer's instructions or use a recommended amount by the cloth diaper manufacturer.


2. Using fabric softeners or dryer sheets: Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can leave a coating on the cloth diapers, which can affect the absorbency and cause repelling issues. Avoid using them altogether.


3. Not rinsing enough: Rinsing is essential to remove any detergent residue or bacteria from the cloth diapers. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after each wash cycle.


4. Washing with other laundry: Washing cloth diapers with other laundry, especially those with zippers and hooks, can cause snagging and damage to the fabrics and elastics. Wash cloth diapers separately.


5. Not checking for stains or damage: Stains and damage can worsen over time if left untreated. Check your cloth diapers regularly for any stains or damage, and treat them accordingly.


By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your cloth diapers stay clean, fresh, and hygienic for your baby's use.



How to Store and Organize Your Clean Cloth Diapers

Storing and organizing your clean cloth diapers can make diaper changes more efficient and stress-free. Here are some tips on how to store and organize your clean cloth diapers:


1. Use a dedicated storage space: Dedicate a specific area or shelf for your clean cloth diapers, away from other household items.


Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

2. Use a storage container or basket: Use a storage container or basket to keep your cloth diapers organized and easily accessible. Make sure the container is breathable and has enough space for your cloth diapers.


I currently use the Yimi's Dream Foldable Storage Basket, [3-Pack] find it HERE

Cloth Diaper Washing Routine


3. Sort your cloth diapers by type and size: Sort your cloth diapers by type, such as all-in-ones, pockets, or prefolds, and by size, such as newborn, small, or medium. This makes it easier to find the right diaper for your baby's needs.




Cloth Diaper Washing Routine


4. Rotate your cloth diapers: Rotate your cloth diapers regularly to prevent wear and tear on specific diapers, and to ensure that all of them get used equally.


5. Keep a wet bag or pail nearby: Keep a wet bag or pail nearby to store your used cloth diapers until wash day. This helps to contain any odors or leaks, and prevents bacteria from growing. We currently use the Teamoy (2 Pack) Reusable Pail Liner for Cloth Diaper/Dirty Diapers Wet Bag at out diaper changing station.



Cloth Diaper Washing Routine


Once diapers are dry, I get myself some home made iced Kombucha, turn on my TV. I sit on my living room couch, organize pocket covers and inserts into piles on my living room table, and start stuffing covers with inserts. 


Sometimes it is useful for some parents to leave inserts separated and stuff as they go and as they see fit, wether is night time diaper or day time.



By storing and organizing your clean cloth diapers properly, you can save time and hassle during diaper changes, and keep your cloth diapers in good condition for longer.



Cloth Diaper Washing Routine

Cloth Diaper Accessories and Laundry Detergents to Consider

Choosing the right cloth diaper accessories and laundry detergents can make a big difference in the effectiveness and longevity of your cloth diapers. Here are some accessories and detergents to consider:



1. Diaper sprayer: A diaper sprayer can make it easier to remove solid waste from your cloth diapers, and can be installed on your toilet. Some diaper sprayers also have adjustable water pressure and nozzles for different cleaning needs. We use the Patented Aquaus 360 Diaper Sprayer with our first daughter and using now with out second one. Can't recommend it enough if you are serious about cloth diapering.



Cloth Diaper Washing Routine


2. Wet bag: A wet bag is a waterproof bag that can be used to store your used cloth diapers until wash day. Wet bags come in various sizes and designs, and can be hung or carried for convenience.


3. Cloth diaper-safe laundry detergents: Not all laundry detergents are suitable for cloth diapers, as some can leave residue or damage the fabrics. Look for detergents that are free of fragrances, dyes, and optical brighteners. I honestly would not recommend to look for any fancy branded detergents. Keep it simple.


By investing in high-quality accessories and detergents, you can ensure that your cloth diapers are well-maintained and effective in keeping your baby clean and dry.



Tips for Troubleshooting Common Washing Issues

Even with a proper washing routine, you may encounter some common washing issues when it comes to cloth diapers. Here are some tips for troubleshooting these issues:


1. Odor issues: If your cloth diapers smell bad even after washing, try adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, or using a cloth diaper-safe deodorizer.


2. Leaking issues: If your cloth diapers leak even with frequent changes, try adjusting the fit or adding extra absorbency, such as using a booster or a doubler.


3. Staining issues: If your cloth diapers have stubborn stains, try using a cloth diaper-safe stain remover, or hanging them in direct sunlight for a natural bleaching effect.


By troubleshooting these common issues, you can ensure that your cloth diapers are effective and comfortable for your baby's use.



Frequently Asked Questions About Cloth Diaper Washing

Q: How often do I need to wash my cloth diapers?

A: You should wash your cloth diapers every two to three days, or as soon as you have

enough for a full load. This helps to prevent bacteria and odor buildup.


Q: Can I use regular laundry detergent for my cloth diapers?

A: Not all regular laundry detergents are ok since they can leave residue on the cloth diapers and affect their absorbency. Use a cloth diaper-safe detergent or follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Remember to keep it simple and use the most natural options out there.


Q: Can I dry my cloth diapers in the sun?

A: Yes, drying your cloth diapers in the sun is a natural and effective way to remove stains and sanitize them. However, avoid excessive sun exposure, as this can damage the fabrics and elastics.


Q: Can I use fabric softeners or dryer sheets on my cloth diapers?

A: No, fabric softeners and dryer sheets can leave a coating on the cloth diapers and affect their absorbency. Use natural alternatives, such as wool dryer balls or vinegar, instead.


Q: How do I prevent my cloth diapers from smelling bad?

A: Make sure to rinse your cloth diapers thoroughly, use a cloth diaper-safe detergent, and avoid leaving them in a damp or humid environment. You can also add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle for a natural deodorizing effect.




Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Cloth diapering may seem daunting at first, but with a proper washing routine and some helpful tips and tricks, it can be a rewarding and eco-friendly choice for your baby's needs. Remember to prep your cloth diapers before first use, establish a washing routine that works for you, and store and organize your clean cloth diapers properly. By avoiding common mistakes and investing in high-quality accessories and detergents, you can ensure that your cloth diapers stay clean, fresh, and hygienic for your baby's use. Happy diapering!




Kommentare


Join My Mailing List

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page