Keeping Your Cloth Diapers Clean Part II: Laundry Day Awaits You

To see Part 1 of this series:  Dealing with Urine, Poo, and Bigger Poos – Oh My! 

Depending on the number of diapers you own and the speed at which your baby wets/dirties them, you will have to do cloth diaper laundry 2-4 times per week.  Every family has a slightly different wash routine depending on your water and washing machine, but in general when laundry day arrives.

  • Separate any diapers that are still intact in the diaper pail.  This means removing inserts and un-snapping all diapers or inserts.  Remember, daycare providers and dads don’t always do this step so it’s good to make sure all pieces are separated and wash-ready.
  • Insert all diapers, inserts, cloth wipes and reusable wet bag or diaper pail liner into washer.  Be sure to close the laundry tabs on any diapers with hook-and-loop closures (also known as the brand name Velcro™) to prevent the diapers from sticking and snagging other diaper laundry.
  • Run a cold or warm rinse cycle with no detergent to get off the initial ickies.
  • Run a full hot heavy wash cycle with an extra rinse.  Use a clean-rinsing detergent specially formulated for cloth diapers like Rockin’ Green (only a small amount is needed to clean diapers – check with each laundry detergent manufacturer for required detergent amounts).
  • Remove from washing machine and hang to dry in the sunshine (takes approximately 3 hours to dry depending on humidity).  If outside drying is not an option, indoor hang-drying is the second best (takes approximately 4-5 hours).  If line-drying is not possible, insert all diaper pieces into the dryer and run a regular cycle on medium heat (note that most diaper manufacturers caution against using high-heat drying cycles).  They will usually be dry in one cycle, though hemp and extra-thick inserts may take a little longer.
  • Assemble your diapers and get them ready to use again. This means you may need to re-stuff pocket diapers, snap on liners or whatever other preparation your diapers require. You’ll want to make sure you restock the prepped diapers in your changing table or wherever you store your clean diapers.

That’s it!  Some families like to start laundering their diapers at night and finish it up in the morning, some like to start first thing in the morning and have clean, dry diapers back in business before lunch.  However you choose to clean your diapers, it will probably be much easier and less icky than you expect it to be.  Happy [cloth] diapering!

Note:  Always read the wash and care instructions provided by the manufacturer as many recommendations do vary by brand.  Depending on the brand, washing improperly may void your warranties and reduce the life expectancy of your diapers.

To continue the conversation about pee, poop and cloth diapering fears be sure to visit us on Facebook and Twitter.  To find the accessories mentioned in this article please visit the DiaperShops.com family of stores, including Kelly’s Closet.  

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6 Responses to Keeping Your Cloth Diapers Clean Part II: Laundry Day Awaits You

  1. anonymous says:

    Never run a hot rinse first, it sets in stains! Bad advise!

  2. Tiffany Law says:

    I use Charlie’s. Rockin’ Green did not work for me.

    • Calley says:

      Everyone has a different experience with detergents. Not every detergent will work for every person. Many people have success with Charlie’s and Rockin’ Green.

  3. Adriann says:

    How long can you keep dirty poop diapers in a wet bag before washing?

    • Calley says:

      My general recommendation is to remove any solid poo into the toilet immediately (or as soon as possible). I have also been known to pre-rinse poopy diapers in a sink/tub before placing into a wet bag to prevent stains from setting. If I do that I will sometimes wait 2-3 days to wash. I wouldn’t wait any longer than that.