We field many questions regarding cloth diapers, but there is one topic that comes up more than any other--diaper care and washing instructions. We always recommend our customers wash their diapers every other day, regardless of how many diapers they own. Here are 5 reasons why you should wash your diapers every other day:
- Perfect load size. Washing diapers every other day provides an ideal load size of 12-18 diapers. Physical agitation is an important part of laundry washing as it helps release soil from fibers. Over-crowding your washer can inhibit agitation, thus leaving soil behind on your diapers.
- Prevent ammonia. The kidneys convert ammonia to urea. Once urine exits the body, bacteria will convert the urea back to ammonia1, giving it that strong, distinguished smell. Washing frequently prevents this chemical process and limits ammonia in your diapers.
- Protect your diapers. Human poop is normally alkaline.2 Urine can vary between acidic and alkaline3, depending on diet, but it will become more alkaline as the urea converts to ammonia4. Alkalines are caustic, meaning they can cause corrosion. Frequent washing prevents the premature wear of diaper fibers.
- Prevent stink. We always say, “a diaper that sits is a diaper that stinks.” Diaper funk sets in as a diaper sits waiting to be washed. The longer it sits, the harder it is to get the stink out of the diaper and the more likely the stink will begin to linger near the diaper pail and the surrounding environment.
- Prevent mold and mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in moist environments. The sooner we wash, the less likely it will be for mold and mildew to form.
Washing your diapers every other day can prevent headaches and protect your investment. Please feel free to contact us should you ever have any concerns with your diapers.
Claire Date 7/11/2014
I'm with Nicole too with a caveat- my 18 month old only goes through 5-6 diapers/day, so washing every 3 days is our sweet spot for optimal load size. However, now that its hotter, I do mostly every other day, as the hotter weather seems to speed up the funk.
Noelle Lamb Date 7/11/2014
I am just starting and I so appreciate this info!!
Nicole Portillo Date 7/11/2014
Every 3rd day is my perfect number. When dd was a newborn, I only had enough to be washing everyday. But now that she is almost 2, we only go through about 5 changes a day so my loads are small anyway.
Kimmie Date 7/11/2014
Good point dont want the stink!
Claire Date 7/11/2014
Katy Date 7/11/2014
^^ agree with Nicole, with just one baby in diapers (12 months, almost weaned and eating table food), every 3rd day works for us. But when she was exclusively BF and/or her big sister was still in diapers, it HAD to be every other day!
Megan Bailly Date 7/11/2014
I've never had problems with my diapers and I wash every 5 days or so. No ammonia, mold, mildew, stink. Nothing. I work full time and have two kids I've diapered I just don't have time to wash every other day. I think the washing causes more wear than just sitting. Most of my diapers are still in use after 2+ years with the only damage I've noticed is relaxed elastic in one or two. Really what I'm saying is let's not make this harder than we have to.
Bianca Munoz Date 7/11/2014
I have two in cloth.
An almost 3 year old and a almost 2 month old.
I was everyday or every other day.
Definitely works for us.
Amber Date 7/11/2014
I don't have enough diapers to wash every other day. :(
Kelly Faber Date 7/12/2014
This is helpful information as I am just starting to look into cloth diapering for my son! Thanks for sharing!!
Nicole Allison Date 7/13/2014
I just started cloth diapering and so far we are washing every other day. I only have enough to last for about that many days.
Carissa-Lynn Stretch Date 7/13/2014
Great points. There is a lot more to think about than just load size.
Erin Date 7/13/2014
This is very helpful. I am convinced and will now make sure to wash every other day. I just started using cloth diapers and I want to avoid stink!
Jamie Layton Date 7/13/2014
I never would have really thought much about the weather making a difference in how often to wash. Great read!
Kimberly Martinez Date 7/18/2014
When I only had 1 in cloth, I could sometimes stretch it to 3 days. Now that I have 2 in cloth, if I don't do it every other day, the load is huge! Plus, I sometimes run out of newborn diapers.
Fayth Malloy Date 7/18/2014
I used to wait 3-4 days between washes with only one in cloth. Now I have an almost two in cloth so, washing every other day is what I have to do no matter what since I only have about 24 diapers in my stash. I was a little worried that washing so much would break down my diapers too fast, but this post made me feel a lot better about washing ever other day.
Maggie M. Date 7/18/2014
I usually do every other day. Sometimes it's every 3 days. One reason I love flats, they're so easy to wash!
Stacey Date 7/18/2014
Great info for a newbie.
Catherine BW Date 7/19/2014
Wow, I wash like every 5 days or so, but some of this makes sense!
Amanda Young Date 7/19/2014
Great information for someone just starting out. Every other day has been working best for us to prevent stink issues.
Julia Rotert Date 7/20/2014
We have done every 3rd day for over a year now without issue (with prefolds.) Until I see/smell an issue, that's what I'll continue to do. I think every other day might get a bit much for me.
Amy Wright Date 7/20/2014
Thanks for the info. I'm all for reducing diapers smells!!
Audrey G. Date 7/20/2014
Good info. I always wondered if I could go longer than every other day, but I think I will stick with what I am doing!
Jennifer S. Date 7/22/2014
I usually wash every other day, but now that we use best bottoms almost exclusively, it's more like every 2.5 to 3 days. So far we've avoided the stinkies!
Leela R. Date 7/24/2014
When my baby was really little I let the diapers go every 2-3 days, but now that he's a toddler with much stronger pee and stinky poop I never let them go longer than 2 days. Just too hard to get the stinks out!
christine k Date 7/24/2014
it also extends the life of your stash when the items aren't being worn and washed as often :)
Aubrey Date 7/24/2014
I've only been using cloth for about three months now and do laundry every two to three days. So far so good :) Very helpful post
Marie Date 7/24/2014
New to the CD world, I love reading all the helpful hints.
AmandaL Date 7/24/2014
I wish I had enough diapers to wash every other day! I set myself up so I could wash every third, but since day care won't do cloth, I find myself doing laundry on Mondays and Fridays only. We just don't use that many diapers at home during the week - one for overnight, another first thing in the morning, and then another when we get home from day care. I don't like letting them sit from Tuesday to Friday, but feel like it's the best schedule right now :(
Stacie Pate Date 7/24/2014
I have always washed every other day. I have a smallish stash, plus when it's warm, the smell gets to me after a day or so. I've never had to strip my diapers, either. I have gone two days before washing, but it's not my norm. I think I would keep to every other day even if I had a bigger stash. I also spray the overnight diapers before putting them in the can with the other dirty diapers.
Katy Baird Date 7/25/2014
I am on a 2-3 day schedule. When I use more prefolds I go every 3 days, when I use more pocket diapers, I go every 2 days. I'm hoping once I go back to work & we pay to have a caregiver in the home, she will be able to do a load also, so we can do everything every 2 days.
Tara Cockrill Date 7/25/2014
I wash ever other day! I have a strong sense of smell and I have 2 in cloth, so sometimes everyday while I'm building my stash!
Amy Wright Date 7/26/2014
I'm surprised that 12-18 is the perfect load size. I would have thought that 12 would be too small. We wash every 2-2.5 days. So, load sizes are usually around 18 diapers.
Brandi Flowers Date 7/26/2014
Interesting, id rather wash every 3 days but I don't have enough lol
Alison Rosendahl Date 7/28/2014
Thank you for the wonderful info. I have never heard anyone point out pH issues, or the urea/ammonia bacterial exchange, but it makes perfect sense.
Jess H Date 8/2/2014
I should start doing this. I have been going 3 days but started smelling some funk.
Allie Hall Date 8/4/2014
We haven't washed our new diapers yet, I'm really nervous! This is so helpful, thanks! :)
Melanie hoffman Date 8/5/2014
For you family's that might need help with building your cloth diaper stash...there is a charity called The Rebecca Foundation that can help low income families. Clothforall.com
Jeanie Date 8/5/2014
I have a small baby and use cloth and disposables. I also have a giant washer. Right now I'm using an open bucket for dirty diapers and washing about every five days with no issues, although the diapers just cover the bottom of the washer. I know that I'll have to wash more often later on when his urine and poop smell more, probably every other day like suggested. That's what I did with my last kiddo in diapers.
Theresa Hover Date 2/18/2015
My goal is to wash every other day, but I'll probably try to grow my stash so that we can go every 3 days if needed.
nicole feldmann Date 2/25/2015
I'm just starting cloth diapering and am very thankful for all this information!