How to Wash Cloth Diapers

diaper1Washing diapers is so easy these days! Please note that you should always follow the manufacturer’s care and washing guidelines for your particular diapering products, if they vary from the following!


  • Wash diapers in hot or warm water with about 1/2 the recommended amount of laundry detergent.
  • Dry in dryer or outside on a clothesline, as sunlight is a natural brightener and disinfectant!
    In order for your diapers to be fully absorbent – always wash NEW diapers 2-3 times before using to “fluff up” the fibers.
  • Always follow manufacturers washing and care guidelines! Outcomes may vary depending on water, detergent, washing machine, etc.

    Important tips:

  • Don’t use bleach or whitening agents. They will breakdown the fibers of fabrics and destroy your diaper covers. Not to mention that they are very harsh on your baby’s skin and the environment…
  • When washing or soaking diapers (do not soak covers), a good alternative to chlorine bleach is the environmentally friendly oxygenated bleach. But be careful, not all are created equal…make sure the product you choose contains no additives beyond sodium carbonate.
  • Don’t use fabric softeners. They will leave a waxy residue on your diapers and covers and lead to leaking. Even using dry sheets in the regular laundry can leave a residue in the dryer, which can effect your diapering.
  • Don’t use any natural cleaning products that contain oils or softeners which may coat the fibers of your diapers or covers. People have reported problems with the following cleaning agents:
    All Free and Clear (and other Free and Clear detergents)
    Dr. Bronner’s Soap
    Some versions of Bio-Kleen
    7Th Generation
    Ivory Snow
    Most “pure soap” products

    Products that have been damaged by natural cleaning products can sometimes be saved! Repeat the following process twice: Run your covers and diapers through a wash with only hot water (if allowed by manufacturer’s washing instructions). Run a second wash using 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar in the wash – and 1/2 cup vinegar again in first rinse cycle. Run a second rinse cycle with plain water.

  • Don’t use laundry detergents that contain perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleaching agents or any stain guard ingredients.
  • Don’t use too much detergent in your wash as this can lead to stinky ineffective diapers and covers and skin irritations. A little goes a long way!
  • Do be careful when using diaper rash ointments, especially those containing fish oils. These can stain your diapers and covers, make them smelly and ruin their performance. Use all ointments sparingly. Flushable liners act as a good barrier for creams.
  • Do use the highest water levels in your washing machine to ensure complete rinsing of diapers and covers. Any detergent residue will affect the performance of diaper products!
  • Do unfold your diapers before soaking or washing to allow complete cleaning.
  • Do add occasionally a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle in order to remove any residual detergent. This deodorizes, sanitizes and brightens. Don’t overuse or use in final rinse, as this will have the opposite effect! Your diapers may become smelly. Don’t use vinegar on diaper covers except one time when you are trying to strip detergent residue off.
  • Do use an extra spin cycle after washing. This will reduce drying time up to 25%!
  • Do throw a dry towel in the dryer with your diapers. This will reduce drying time as well!
  • Make sure that your covers fit snugly and that you are using the correct size of diaper and cover for your baby.
  • Smell your diapers and covers after they are washed! If they smell stinky or like detergent – wash them again with less detergent and more water.

    With the proper care, your diapers will be very effective and last a very long time!

What do you think?