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Care for Your Cloth Diapers: A dear friend shared her tried and true laundering method with me when I was first learning about using cloth diapers. I’ve tweaked it a bit and added some diaper care tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Like anything new, cloth diapering takes a little extra effort at first. But once you get used to this washing method, it will become an easy addition to your laundering routine!
Easy Instructions for Washing Cloth Diapers
- Step #1: Cold Rinse Cycle
Shake cloth diapers and covers, disposable wipes or cloth wipes, hemp inserts, and liners out of diaper pail liners into your machine. Drop the diaper pail liner in too! Run them through a cold rinse cycle to remove some of the leftover feces.
- Tip:Before the diapers even hit the pail, squirt them with Bac-Out!
Not only do I use this stain and odor eliminator with my cloth diapers, but it is my trusty stain fighter for my everyday laundering as well. It is a non-toxic, natural, biodegradable spray loaded with enzymes that “eat” up any organic waste. It is safe for kids and safe for the environment.
Spray it directly on the poop and place the diaper poop-side down in your covered diaper pail. Even if your dirty diapers sit for a day or two, Bac-Out will go to work on the feces, helping to minimize odor and staining.
- Tip: Throw disposable wipes in the diaper pail too.
No need to separate your disposable wipes (if you’re using them) from your cloth diapers. This only creates more stink and more mess. Disposable wipes can go through the washer and dryer! In the end, just toss them in the garbage.
- Money-Saving Tip: Give Your Diaper Liners a Second Chance
I’ve used cloth diapers with my exclusively nursing babies. So when I started my twins in cloth diapers at 18 months, it was a different experience. I wasn’t acquainted with this kind of poop on cloth diapers!
So, to save money and the life of my washer, I sloshed their poopy diapers in the toilet. Yuck! I was avoiding spending the extra pennies per diaper on liners. But then, I picked up this tip from a friend!
Flush the poopy diaper liners down the toilet and reuse the urine-soaked liners. Simply throw these diaper liners in the wash with the rest of your cloth diaper load and you will get to use them a second (and maybe third) time! Now that’s a great way to stretch a buck!
- Step #2: Soak (optional)
Soak everything overnight (or as long as your washer will allow-my front-loader has a limited soak cycle) in warm water with 1/4 cup (2 oz.) OxiClean Free
OxiClean Free is an oxygen-based bleach that is easy on diapers and the environment. It contains no dyes, fragrances, or chlorine to trigger reactions to sensitive skin. It is used to eliminate stains on your diapers.
After soaking, drain water.
- Tip: To Soak or Not to Soak. That Is the Question!
Some moms find soaking their cloth diapers unnecessary. However, when your baby starts to eat solids, you might find that soaking really helps sanitize and clean your cloth diapers. It may also protect your washer.
Solid poop has been known to clog a washer or two. Soaking helps to disintegrate the waste, making it more fluid and easier to drain. I recommend trying both ways and choosing which one works best for you!
- Tip: For extra “bleaching” power, use the sun!
Hang your diapers to dry in the sunlight. You’ll be amazed at how the sun safely and effortlessly bleaches away the stains!
In warm weather, ½ day out on the clothesline should suffice.
In colder weather, it will take longer. Try drying them in the dryer before you hang them outside. This will keep them from freezing.
Although tempting, never use chlorine bleach on your cloth diapers. Chlorine bleach oxidizes the fabric’s fibers and shreds them, ruining your batch of diapers.
- Step #3: Wash in Hot Water Using Safe Detergent & OxiClean Free
Use about ½ of the manufacturer’s recommended amount of detergent for your washer with ¼ Cup (2 oz.) of OxiClean Free.
- Tip: Cure Stinky Diapers With Baking Soda
If your diaper load really starts to stink, thoroughly dissolve 12 cups of baking soda in warm water. (Baking soda is too abrasive to be added directly). Add it to the diaper load in the washer to really conquer the odor!
- Money-Saving Tip: Choosing the Right Detergent for Your Cloth Diapers Will Extend the Life and Effectiveness of Your Diapers.
Using the “right” detergent for your laundering needs can help avoid diaper breakdown, causing unwanted leakage and odor. Detergents with dyes and perfumes remain on diapers after they’ve been washed and can irritate the baby’s skin. So choose wisely.
- Step #4: Do an Extra Cold Water Rinse
Rinse and repeat! An extra rinse will help decrease the residue of detergent and Oxiclean Free left on your diapers.
- Step #5: Dry Diapers & Covers on Low and Air Dry the Diaper Pail Liner
This will keep the polyurethane in the liner from becoming damaged.
- Tip: Have 2 diaper pail liners on hand.
Improve your efficiency! Have one diaper pail liner you’re using and one with your soiled diapers in the wash. Plan on washing a load of diapers every 2-3 days (depending on how many cloth diapers you have in stock).
- Tip: Give Your Diaper Pail a Quick Disinfecting
The plastic diaper pail can absorb urine moisture. To clear away the stink, simply fill your pail with hot water from the bathtub or utility sink and 1/4 cup (2 oz.) of OxiClean Free. Let it stand for 20 minutes. It will smell as good as new!
I also keep an open box of baking soda at the bottom of my diaper pail beneath my liner to absorb odors.
View our entire cloth diaper selection!
If your diapers are repelling moisture or have an odor you can’t get rid of, it’s time to investigate.
This fantastic resource of troubleshooting laundry aids will help you track down the culprits that are causing your cloth diapering headache and give you tips on how to remedy it!