How to Wash and Dry Cloth Diapers
Cleaning Cloth Diapers
Congratulations on your new little bundle of joy. Choosing to go with cloth diapers or disposable diapers is a personal preference.
If you do choose cloth diapers it will mean you have extra laundry and it may seem that washing them sounds a little gross but there are benefits. One, you’re not adding to the landfill and two – it’s soft natural cotton against baby’s bottom.
Wash Cloth Diapers before Using
Most cloth diapers need to be washed before their first use, especially if they’re made of unbleached cotton or a cotton blend. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, as some cloth diapers need to be washed several times before the first use.
It’s in your best interest to do this, as new unwashed diapers will not be as absorbent as you need them to be.
Cleaning cloth diapers will be much easier if you use flushable liners. They allow air and urine to pass through to the diaper, but prevent solids from doing so. There will be a lot less rinsing of solids, aka, poop, if you use liners. There will also be a lot less staining.
Flush the Solids
If you use cloth diaper liners, toss or flush the liner. If you don’t use the liners, you’ll need to flush the solids and rinse cloth diaper. (Now do you want to use liners?) Most people swish the dirty diaper in the toilet to remove any remaining feces.
Washing and Drying Cloth Diapers
When you’re ready to wash diapers, which should be done at least every other day to avoid smells, stains and mildew, wash no more than 18 diapers at a time so you can get them as clean as possible.
- Put the cloth diapers in the washing machine and prewash on a cold water cycle. You can use a small amount of gentle detergent and a small scoop of oxiclean or some people opt to use nothing at all during the prewash cycle.
- After the cold water wash, run a second cycle on hot water. Add your normal amount of gentle detergent and a 1/4 cup of baking soda.
- If you can, choose an extra rinse cycle.
- You can also add a small amount of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle as this will help soften the fabric.
- Dry on “low” until the diapers are dry. Do not dry on a high temperature as this can, overtime, damage any waterproof linings, velcro, etc. Do not use dryer sheets as they can prevent sufficient absorbency.
Do Not Use Bleach
Never use bleach or any kind of commercial laundry detergent that has chlorine bleach in it. Instead of cleaning cloth diapers, bleach will destroy the cotton fibers, reduce absorbency and will more than likely irritate your baby’s skin as it is considered a harsh chemical.