Washing your Cloth Diapers.

So.  You bought your diapers, your baby has used them for a day or two and now it’s time to wash them.  How are you supposed to get them clean?  I mean, think about what your baby just did to them.  Is there really a way to sanitize them and make them really clean?

I think that this is the part that deter most people from using cloth.  I’m the first to admit it.  It’s gross.  Isn’t it much easier just to wrap up the disposable and throw it all out?  (By the way, you’re not supposed to put human waste in your garbage, even in disposable diapers.  Gross.)

It’s not hard.  It’s not gross.  I have never touched my child’s poo while washing diapers.  It’s not time-consuming.  Unless you’re in the creek beating them on a rock, honestly, not difficult.  It’s 1 extra load of laundry every couple of days.  The hardest thing that I find about washing diapers is to remember to go downstairs and turn the dial on the washer.

Here are a few links that will help you get started:

And here’s what I do:

First off, I use a dry pail system.  All diapers are thrown into a pail without any water or soaking agent.  Dirty diapers are taken to our second bathroom where the diaper sprayer is, sprayed off and placed in our second pail.  I do a wash every couple of days.

When it’s time to wash a load, I put all the diapers in my washer and put it on the soak option that I have on my top loading washing machine.  Depending on how long it’s been since I washed diapers or how many dirty ones I have I might do a cold or warm water soak.  In the winter when I can’t hang out my diapers as often, I might throw some OxiClean in the soak as well.  The next setting on my washer is a prewash.  It just agitates the diapers a bit more after soaking and spins out the dirty water.  The length of time that I soak my diapers for depends.  Some days it’s only half an hour, but other days I get wrapped up in other things that need to be done and it could be all day.  The soaking and prewash are an important step because they help loosen up any dirties that are on the diapers and help get them cleaner.  I used to only do a prewash, but I find that the diapers do come out cleaner with the soak.

The next step is the actual washing.  I use HOT water with the longest wash cycle I can.  My machine also automatically has a second rinse setting that I always use.  I use cold rinses.  I use Allen’s powder detergent and put about a TEASPOON or a teaspoon and a half if they are really bad.  THAT”S IT!!!!!

You might be thinking, eww!  That’s not enough detergent!  I only ever use the minimum amount of any laundry detergent.  The key to getting any piece of clothing clean is having enough water and agitation between the clothes.  Detergent is only a small aspect of your laundry routine.

After they have been washed and have their second rinse, I either put them in the dryer or hang them up, inside or out.  Hanging diapers outside is a perfect natural stain remover, and the UV in the sun helps kill germs as well.


Sometimes your diapers may smell, either right after baby pees or fresh out of the dryer.  This could be a detergent build up.  A couple of questions to ask yourself:  Do I use fabric softener?  Did I put too much detergent in?  Or not enough?  Were there too many diapers in the load?  Are there bubbles left in the washer during the final rinse?

  1. Fabric softener is pointless.  Yes, it makes your clothes smell nice.  But it’s just an extra chemical close to your skin.  We don’t use ANY fabric softener and our clothes are still soft, no static and I know there is nothing rubbing on our skin.  It leaves a residue on your clothes that coats them.  It also coats your diapers and makes them nonabsorbent.  IF you still feel the need to use fabric softener, please use vinegar.  Even if you only use fabric softener on your clothes, it will coat your washing machine and dryer with a film that is being rubbed all over your diapers.
  2. The detergent issue is a fine line that takes a bit of experimenting to figure out what works best for your diapers, washer and water.  Start small and work your way back up.
  3. Too many diapers means that there wasn’t enough water swishing through your diapers to help them rinse out.  Too few diapers, and they aren’t rubbing against each other to get stains out.
  4. Bubbles in the final rinse?  Keep rinsing until the water is clean.  And the next time you do a load, use a little less detergent.  Soon you will find the perfect combo.

Sometimes if your diapers are really bad, you may have to “strip them”.  I won’t get into the details here, but just know that if your washing routine is working, a little OxiClean or RLR in your soak should be all you need every couple of weeks.  If you do think you might need a strip, here are some links for you.  Please not that natural fibres such as cotton, hemp and bamboo RARELY need stripping, just a new wash routine.

So that’s it.  Once you get a wash routine down, you’re on easy street.  No running to the store because you ran out, or keeping piles of packages of diapers in your house that you bought on sale.  Always prepared!  If you have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me!

Also, have you liked our FB page yet?  You still have time to get a chance to win a tub of CJ’s diaper cream!

Happy Diapering!



1 Comment

Filed under Green Living, How-To

One response to “Washing your Cloth Diapers.

  1. Pingback: Prepping Results! | New and Used Diaper Company

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