Washing Cloth Diapers
How Do I Wash Cloth Diapers?
After you rinse and store your used cloth diapers, it is time to get busy with your cloth diaper wash.
To get cloth diapers very clean, there are several washing steps that should be followed.
1. Load cloth diapers into the washing machine. We recommend that you wash every other day as this frequency provides the perfect "one load" size.
An abundance of cloth diapers in a single load could also increase pilling of the fabrics. Be sure all the diapers are open and that any Velcro fasteners are closed. Also be sure the pockets and inserts are removed.
2. Run a prewash or rinse cycle. The water for this load should be Cold to help lift stains.
No Prewash Cycle? NO PROBLEM! Set up your wash load as normal, but bypass the wash setting and go to the rinse setting BEFORE turning your washer on. Although the cycle may not be as long as a standard pre-wash, it will at least give your cloth diapers that initial rinse off. If you have a top loader, you can always lift the lid on your machine to stop the agitation and allow for a pre-rinse period.
3. After the first prewash or rinse, it is time to wash. Use a Hot wash with a Cold rinse for this cycle. If using a commercial detergent we recommend that you fill the powder scoop or liquid cap that is provided with your detergent to the #1 mark. (assuming "one load" of diapers, see our detergent chart for additional help).
If using a detergent that has been specifically formulated for cloth diapers, refer to manufacturer packaging to determine how much to use.
Although there are a variety of laundry detergents on the market that can clean your diapers effectively, we recommend the following detergents as we (and many of our customers) have positive results with them.
- Tide: Original, Ultra, or Free & Gentle
- Purex: Regular or Free & Clear
- Arm & Hammer: Regular or Sensitive
4. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENERS on your cloth diapers! Fabric Softeners clog the fibers of the cloth diapers and reduce the cloth diaper's ability to absorb, rendering the cloth diaper ineffective.
5. Drying. Once the diapers are truly fresh and ready, remove them to the dryer for a tumble dry on low to medium heat or hang dry. Whether you tumble dry or hang dry your cloth diapers and diaper covers is a personal preference, however, research and years of experience has shown us that hang drying cloth diapers tend to have less wear and tear and a longer lifespan. If you want or need to dry in the dryer, we recommend drying on a low heat and only for as long as they need to dry. Avoid over drying.
Prefold diapers are the exception to this as they like to be "fluffed" - Prefold diapers are durable enough where you may dry on a high heat in order to get the fluffy results without much consequence.
A note on Oxygen Bleach and other Additives With a good wash routine, additives such as bleach, oxygen bleach, baking soda or vinegar are generally not necessary in your cloth diaper wash.
Washing cloth diapers is not the burden you may think, especially if you've taken care to rinse and store your used cloth diapers as suggested.
Disclaimer - Although we recommend the use of detergents such as Tide, Purex, and Gain these products contain optical brightners as well as enzymes. The use of the additives could void the warranty of your diaper(s). Please check the manufacturer warranty guidelines before using these products.