If you can wash a load of jeans, you can wash cloth diapers too! Learning how simple it is to wash newborn cloth diapers is one of the keys to falling in love with cloth. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you see it’s really no big deal. My husband even does cloth diaper laundry with zero nagging.
Newborn cloth diapers are super easy to wash. Since newborn poo is thin and liquidy it washes away clean without any extra effort.
Store Them Right
Make things easy on yourself and store soiled diapers in a hanging wetbag or trash can with a PUL pail liner. If you invest in one or two wetbags or liners, all you have to do to wash the baby’s cloth diapers is toss the entire load into the washing machine, wetbag included.
On laundry day, which usually ends up being every 2-3 days, dump your wetbag or pail liner full of soiled diapers into the washing machine and fill the machine with cold water to cover the diapers. Allow the machine to agitate a few times to submerge all the diapers and loosen up the poo. Stop the machine and allow diapers to soak about an hour.
NOTE: If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the hour soak and just allow the machine to go through a rinse cycle.
Fill the machine again with water and add your cloth diaper safe detergent. Most of the time I use Ecos Free and Clear, but I’ve also had great results washing cloth diapers with this standard detergent and this organic solution. If you’re not sure if your chosen detergent is cloth diaper compatible, read here. If you’re curious about water temperature, I always use cold water just because my machine has no hot water line. Of course, if you’ve got hot water, definitely wash in hot.
NOTE: I wash diapers every 2 days, generally a load that fills my washing machine to the small-medium line. I use Ecos Free and Clear detergent, and measure out to the “1” line measure on the lid. When you wash cloth diapers, you generally use a lot less detergent than when washing clothing.
This is the most important step in the entire CD washing routine. You’ve got to GET THE SUDS OUT! Any detergent that remains on the diapers will eventually lead to buildup, which leads to repelling, meaning your diapers won’t be absorbant. <— This is a major problem! Allow the machine to cycle through the regular wash/rinse cycle and as the rinse is finishing, peek inside to see if there are still suds present. (Most likely there will be.) Let that water spin out and then rinse the diapers again. Check the water for suds and rinse again if necessary.
If possible, line dry your diapers under full sun. The sun’s rays help to kill any lingering bacteria that might be in your diapers and also helps to bleach them out. My newborns wear infant prefolds exclusively during the day, which end up with awful yellow poo stains. The sun takes that right out! If you must, dry your diapers in the dryer, but be sure not to put them on excessively high heat or overdry, which will promote premature deterioration.
In a nutshell:
- Soak diapers 1 hour. Drain.
- Wash in hot water with CD-safe detergent.
- Rinse and repeat
- Line dry
That’s it! See, told you it was easy. Honestly, I think washing cloth diapers was potentially the biggest deterrent for my husband and I when researching cloth. I’m so glad that we decided to take the challenge and choose cloth diapering from day one with our first child. It’s been a fantastic way to save money and actually very low-maintenance.
If you’re scouting out all the possibilities with cloth diapers, check out these posts:
- Low-budget Newborn CD Stash
- 10 Most Common Cloth Diapering Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- How to Use Infant Prefolds on a Newborn (and save money!)
- How to Use Cloth Baby Wipes