Cloth Diapering 101: How to Clean Cloth Diapers

Hi! My name is Erin and write a frugal lifestyle blog over at View From Our Terrace.  I have put together a series of posts on cloth diapering that includes information about types of cloth diapers and their accessories, how to clean cloth diapers, and finally the cost of cloth diapering.  I hope that this mini-series proves to be helpful and informative!

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Image courtesy Dawn Danby @ flickr creative commons, click image for source.

If you have not read the first post in the series, check it out – it is all about the different types of cloth diapers and accessories.

Cleaning cloth diapers is probably what scares most people away when someone suggests cloth diapering to them.  It really is not that bad.  

Many people swear that you need a top-loader machine with an agitator to truly clean your diapers, but we have Kenmore HE front loaders and I have had almost no problems with getting my diapers clean.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, diaper laundry is super easy until you start solids.  Everything up until then is water soluble so there are no worries about dumping, swishing, or spraying your diapers (more on that later).

Our Cloth Diaper Cleaning Routine

washing-machine-296058_1920Here is our cleaning routine pre-solids:
  • change the diaper just like a normal diaper change
  • throw the diaper into the wet bag
  • every other night throw all the diapers (wet bag included) into the washer
  • once done washing, throw the appropriate pieces into the dryer and hang the rest to dry (not all diapers can go in the dryer)

Easy peasy.  

 

Here is our cleaning routine post-solids:
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Diaper sprayer attached to toilet. Image courtesy Peterskim @ flickr creative commons, click image for source.

  • change the diaper just like a normal diaper change
  • dump any solids into the toilet and spray off diaper as needed
  • throw the diaper into the wet bag
  • every other night throw all the diapers (wet bag included) into the washer
  • once done washing, throw the appropriate pieces into the dryer and hang the rest to dry (not all diapers can go in the dryer)

Only one extra step!  

Deep Cleaning Cloth Diapers

Occasionally, I have had to deep clean or “strip” my diapers when they have started to smell like ammonia or when there was a yeast infection, but I found these great laundry pods called Mighty Bubbles which do an excellent job of deep cleaning.  I have also used vinegar and good old sunshine.  The sun will sanitize your diapers AND remove most stains – it is like magic!  

Some people use bleach to “strip” their diapers, but each brand has recommendations on whether to do this or not.  Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your diapers before using bleach.  There are also awesome Facebook groups out there dedicated to the care and maintenance of cloth diapers.  

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Image courtesy Lou Haach @ flickr creative commons, click for source.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Cloth Diapers

One more thing to take into consideration in your cleaning routine is dry time.  As I mentioned above, some diapers are not able to go into the dryer.  These may or may not take a while to hang dry, depending on the material.  

Additionally, even though a diaper may be able to go in the dryer, it might take a few dry cycles to get them dry.  I do not find this that inconvenient because it is not hard to just hit restart on the dryer a couple times.

There you have it.  The nitty gritty on cleaning your cloth diapers.  I hope you found that it really is not too daunting.  In the next part of the mini-series we will talk about the cost of cloth diapering and how it compares to disposables.  

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Image courtesy Shooting Chris @ flickr creative commons, click image for source

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me at erin@viewfromourterrace.com.

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