September 23, 2014

Cloth Diaper Washing TIPS

Washing cloth diapers can seem like a hassle to someone considering cloth, but it is actually quite

simple. Believe it or not, it may even become, gasp, enjoyable! Here are some tips to get you started; however, you will quickly find out that everyone has their own routine for diaper laundry and what works best for someone else may not work best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the best routine for you!

Use the right detergent and the right amount

There are so many detergents on the market for cloth diapers that it is difficult to recommend one. Some families have successfully used commercial brands found in grocery stores while others prefer to stick with brands specifically designed for cloth diapers, most often found at online retailers. How well a detergent works for you, as well as how much detergent to use, may depend on your water type (hard vs soft) and washer type (top vs front loader). You may need to try a few different types and vary the amount until you find what gets your diapers the cleanest. Avoid detergents with fragrances, whiteners, or softeners.

Wash your diapers frequently

The best way to avoid a stinky diaper pail and stubborn set-in stains is to wash your diapers often. Don’t allow them to sit in a pail or wetbag for more than a couple days. Expect to do diaper laundry at least every 2-3 days if you are full-time cloth diapering.

Don’t overcrowd, don’t under fill

When washing cloth diapers, you will want to make sure the water level you choose and the number of diapers you are washing allows the diapers to sufficiently agitate. If you do not use enough water or try to wash too many diapers at once, the washer will not be able to effectively move and wash them. On the other hand, if you wash in too much water or use too few diapers, the agitation will be less effective at getting your diapers clean. How many diapers you can wash in one load will depend on the size of your washer as well.

Don’t forget to secure those laundry tabs on your aplix diapers before putting them in the washer to avoid snags and pills!


Whether you rinse your diapers or throw them straight into your pail or wetbag, you may want to start your diaper laundry with a cold or warm pre-rinse/pre-wash to get rid of any loose debris you don’t want to end up in your wash cycle. Either set your washer dial to start a rinse cycle or run a short wash cycle and stop before it enters the rinse.

Hot wash

Wash your diapers on hot (unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer) on the longest wash cycle your washer allows. DO NOT use the sanitize cycle if your washer has one. Hot water from this cycle can damage cloth diapers and void your warranties.

Rinse until water is clear

Rinse your diapers in cold water at least once or twice. The important thing is to make sure there are no soap bubbles during your final rinse. Any soap that is not rinsed out can leave a residue that builds up over time and cause repelling or odors. If you see there are still soap bubbles after 2 rinses (Hint: Turn off your washer during agitation. If the bubbles remain, they are soap bubbles. If they quickly pop and disappear, they are agitation bubbles not soap), use less detergent in your next load and make sure to continue to rinse until the water is clear.


Although manufacturer recommendations will vary, most diapers can be machine dried on a low heat setting. Some diapers and covers need to be line dried, so make sure to check your care instructions. Line drying is a cost effective way to not only dry your diapers, but also treat stains by sunning them. If you don’t like the way your diapers feel after line drying, throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes to soften them up.

Bleach, vinegar, water softener, baking soda

Occasionally you will read about people using one of these products to solve wash issues – barnyard stink, stains, or ammonia build-up. While some of them are actually recommended by certain manufacturers (bleach) and others are especially useful when hard water is a factor (softeners), be wary of adding anything to your diaper wash that isn’t specifically indicated in care instructions.


Pretty interesting read, I must say. Diaper pail odor remains even after we wash. But I feel there are many reasons behind it. Its probably not washed correctly, not enough detergents are used or rinsed enough times.