Cloth Diaper Question

I've seen that many people wash and dry cloth diapers different ways. I want to make sure I'm washing them so that they last as long as possible.

How do you wash your cloth diapers before you ever use them?

What is the best way to wash them after that initial wash?

Do you dry them in the dryer or let them line dry?

What is the best way to clean them after they've pooped in them?

Do you have any other tips that you think I should know about?

How are your cloth diapers holding up?

I have a few different brands and some instructions are a little different than others, but I want to wash them all together and I need to know what has worked best for everyone else!

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Laurel said...

1. You need to wash them a couple of times before using - but just follow your future washing pattern.

2. How to wash: I usually do a rinse in cold water, then wash on a long cycle with extra rinse - that one's as hot as my washer can do it. With just a TINY bit of detergent. The most common mistake cloth diaperers make is too much detergent.

3. I dry in the dryer, and have never had problems. But some friends with super-duper-intense dryers have had their elastics decay quickly. I would say that if you HAVE the option of line drying, go ahead and do that because they'll stay whiter.

4. After pooping, I found that a diaper sprayer (BumGenius makes a great one) is absolutely ideal. What I used before getting my sprayer was just a plastic paint scraper that I got at a hardware store for 50 cents... I would scrape the solids into the toilet and then proceed as usual.

5. Go check out - it has the most complete washing instructions I've ever seen!

6. My diapers are great - I switched my whole stash to BumGenius 3.0s and have never looked back.

Mighty M said...

I'm a disposable diaper kind of girl! Hope you get lots of great tips!!

Abby said...

I usually do a few hot washes before I put them on him.

As for regular washing, I do a cold rinse with some vinigar, then I do a hot wash with a small amount of Charlie's Soap, a cold rinse and then an extra cold rinse.

I have been line drying whenever possible so most of the time. The sun also helps eliminate odors.

When they are poopy I rinse them in the toilet and then wash them the same way with all of the others.

You probably need to strip them about once a month or so to remove build up and get rid of any residual odors. I do this by washing in HOT HOT HOT water without soap over and over until the water is clean and there are no bubbles.

I have also started using Charlie's Soap for all of my laundry because other soap will build up in the washer and will still get in your diapers even if you don't use it to wash the diapers.

Andrea said...

1. You should definitely wash them a couple of times before use, it will increase the absorbancy.

2. I do a cold rinse, hot wash cycle with purex free and clear and then another hot rinse. I have never had build up or stink for 1.5 years.

3. I occasionally line dry but usually dry in the dryer on medium heat. I heard awhile back that you need to dry them in the dryer at least once in awhile because it does something for the waterproof (sorry it's been awhile).

4. I dump the poop in the toilet and wash like normal.

5. Some of my cloth diapers are amazing, but some are awful. The elastic is all stretched out and won't be able to be used for a second child. =(

Good luck! Cloth is amazing once you get the hang of it.

Kristi_runwatch said...

Everybody does something different!! I used to do two rinse cycles, but I have found them to be unnecessary (I've been using the same cloth dipes for over 3 years on 2 kids)

I do one cold cycle with bleach (I'm a naughty cloth diaper user!) and baking soda, one hot with detergent and a vinegar rinse (about 1/2 cu in a downy ball). I usually dry them in the dryer, but during the summer I will hang them out on the line to dry and then "fluff" them in the dryer. I have prorap covers and line dry them.

Hope you find a good system that works for you! Don't feel like it's an "exact science" - it isn't. Everyone does something different. :)

Kristi_runwatch said...

Oh, and I have a diaper duck to rinse the poopy dipes in the toilet - love it, love it!! (someone gave me a diaper sprayer, but the thought of a sprayer in reach of my toddler did not sit well with me!!)

Sara in Seattle said...

When I first get my diapers, if it's a shell/insert type I'll wash the shell once and the inserts a few times (usually not the recommended 4-6, more like 3) before I use them. If it's an all-in-one I usually just wash once.

When I wash them after, I usually do one quick wash (called Express Wash on my front-loader) in cold, followed by a Whitest Whites (long hot/cold) cycle. I wash all my diapers together, regardless of brand.

I do usually dry mine in the dryer. In Seattle we don't have reliable hang-dry weather, though lately it's been nice.

I haven't had many problems with stains, but if you do get stains, the sunshine is the best thing for them. Just wash them, hang them up to dry while they're still wet outside, and that'll take care of most stains.

After 9 months (the past 6 months all in the same size), mine are holding up very well! I'm very pleased.

Eileen said...

It's been a little over 20 years since I slung my last cloth diaper over a washline but I don't imagine much has changed since then (pardon the pun!).

I was lucky enough to have a double sink where the machine drained. When I was ready to wash the diapers I emptied the diaper pail into the sink and washed a load or two of regular wash so the draining water would also rinse the diapers in the sink.

I used the thin blue diaper liners for the poopies and clean up was generally a snap.

I dried them on the line whenever possible.

Disposables for traveling was a must!


Eileen said...

PS - old cloth diapers make great rags - my husband loved using them out in the garage, too.


Ingrid said...

The new cloth diapers are really something. When my children were babies I onlyused cloth diapers. I would wash them in Ivory washing powder and in the dryer. Those were the kind you had to use baby pins with. Here we are getting ready to have a new baby in our family and I'm finding out the new cloth diapers are so easy to use. I would wash them in a mild detergent on the gentle wash mode and put them in the dryer. Good luck ladies on washing them.

Kim Webb said...

Here's what I do- and I have pockets, hemp and bamboo inserts, and some fitteds.

Julia said...

1. I have every few brand new cloth dipes. usually buy mine used (but in very good condition) from BUT if it is new, I wash at least once... inserts maybe 2 or 3 times.

2. Normal wash routine goes something like this:
Cold rinse to get all the poopies out.
Hot wash w/ detergent (oxy clean sometimes, maybe once a month)
Cold rinse, no detergent.

3. I was drying them in the dryer ALL winter and I just noticed one of the dipes' PUL layer peeling off on the inside. no idea if it's from the dyer, but I won't dry anymore. Now that it's summer, I line dry in the sun. if it's raining or can't line dry, i will hang dry them in the basement. Inserts do get put in the dryer though.

4. I just dump the poop in the toilet. If it's not completely solid, i will dip and swish in the water a bit. kinda gross but it works.

5. Tips? find what dipes work for you. we like one size dipes so 2 yr old and 4 month old can use them.

6. they are holding up ok. like i said, i bought most of mine used and we don't have a HUGE stash, but i do try to take care of them so they are re-sellable

we have mostly Bum Genius (a mix of 2.0 and 3.0 although 3.0 is WAY better), some swaddlebees, 1 blueberry, 2 happy heinys, 1 haute pocket, and a few fitteds (Susie One Size, goodmamas, mutts)

Angela said...

For the first time wash, I just do a few hot washes. One with soap, and the rest without.

This is my wash routine:
-Cold soak overnight with about 1/4 cup of baking soda
-Hot wash with soap, cold rinse
-Hot wash without soap, cold rinse

I dry mine in the dryer on low hear because I really don't have anywhere to hang them, but maybe when we move to a house I will line-dry

Newborn breastfed poop diapers just go right into the machine, when Mason was a toddler I just dumped his poo into the potty.

My dipes are doing great, and my Bum Genius 3.0s have been through many a poo without a single stain!

Candy said...

How do you wash your cloth diapers before you ever use them? - Depending on the manufacturer instructions I generally wash them once but for prefolds or hemp especially I wash the items 6 or 7 times. Soap the first wash then just water the next washes.

What is the best wash them after that initial wash? I do a cold rinse (I sprinkle baking soda each time I throw a dipe in the pail) and a hot wash with very little cheer powder, then an extra cold rinse.

Do you dry them in the dryer or let them line dry? You can dry your diapers and they should hold up but the manufacturers say its best to line dry. I line dry the pockets and put inserts and prefolds in the dryer on high.

What is the best way to clean them after they've pooped in them? - My baby has solid poos most of the time thank god so I just let the poop roll into the toilet. When its not so solid I will use my diaper sprayer to spray off as much as I can.

Do you have any other tips that you think I should know about? - Use water softener if you have hard water. It helps a LOT. Also microfiber stinks no matter waht after a while. Stick to natural fibers if possible!

How are your cloth diapers holding up? - My BumGenious is getting wear and tear but they have been washed SOOOOO much in the 8 months the baby has been here. Its why I prefer snaps also, velcro wears out on Bumgenious.

amanda said...

it seems you have gotten loads of answers. he he he. :0)

here's what i do after the initial washing of 3 times in hot water.

quick rinse on cold.

then i wash with teeny tiny bit of detergent. i like allen's for our front loader. then i do an extra rinse. with some vinegar.

then i do a few more cold rinses after that. basically until there are no more soap bubbles in the washer.

it's really a 'personal' choice on how to wash your diapers. everyone does something differently. i dry mine in the dryer most of the time. i also live in wisconsin. they'd freeze solid in the winter!

when my son was only breastfed, no food, i never rinsed the diapers. just threw them in the bag. i had minimal staining. and rinsing them in the toilet pretty much gags me. :0) i do peel of the solid poo with the wipe though.

our cloth diapers are holding up well. i wash every other day and have three in diapers. i prefer fuzzi bunz over happy heinys. and i prefer prefolds over contours. prefolds seem to help hold it in better...the poo. i love our bummis covers. again all different choices. i'd love to try bg's out! i don't have any of them, but everyone seems to love them!! :0) hope some of this rambling mess helped!!

Hyla said...

We wash ours starting on hot, after the initial fill we switch it to cold.

We use less than half the amount of detergent than usual. Do not use fabric softener.

And we line dry ours. We have tons of different ones including lots of handmade ones from Etsy. My favorites are the Bummis diapers though and I like pocket diapers.


Hyla said...

Oh and we use a wipe to get the poops off anf flush in the toilet. And we have one of thosefolding clothes racks that we use inside.

Stephanie said...

How do you wash your cloth diapers before you ever use them?

With towels, on hot, w/ an extra rinse. I use 7th Gen Free & Clear for HE.

What is the best wash them after that initial wash?

I do the same all the time!

Do you dry them in the dryer or let them line dry?

I prefer to line dry, but normally don't have in the dryer they go. I never ever dry PUL. I don't ever dry pockets either.

What is the best way to clean them after they've pooped in them?

I dump the poop (with TP) into the toilet. Then I use a wet-pail if they'll be sitting long or just a dry-pail if I'll get to them that day. I use the same wash routine ALL the time. (in w/ the towels if I don't have a load of diapers, hot, w/ extra rinse in the cycle & then an additional rinse as well) I have a frigidaire frontloader.

Do you have any other tips that you think I should know about?
Dryer balls are awesome! Wet pails and the dryer will take life from your PUL diapers.

How are your cloth diapers holding up?
Pretty well, I've had most of them for 2 years but not in regular use. I'll be full time CDing my Nov. newborn!

Jess said...

1 wash 3-5 times in HOT
2 I use a diaper sprayer so I dont ever do a cold rinse EVER I just rhwo them in with a lil detergent (allens) & do a hot wash cold rinse then I do another hot wash cold rinse (just to make sure the soap is out)
3 LINE DRY if you want your diapers to last then line dry them PLUS the sun helps bleach out any stains you might have!
4 I have a diaper sprayer so I spray the poo in the toilet then throw the diap in the pail & flush the toilet. VERY easy!
5 I have only once stripped my diapers! Most places dont want you adding additives in with your wash (bleach vinegar & such) it will void your warranty if you do. Like I said early the sun is your friend use it alot ;)everybody is different so dont go by what everyone else does!
6 my diaps are in awesome shape!!! I really don't like APLIX closing cause my lil guy can undo it esp on the bumgenius 3.0s since they are not as sticky anymore but other than that we have been using them 11 months & they are going strong!

Erica said...

How do you wash your cloth diapers before you ever use them? Uhm, I only washed mine once, they were homemade.

What is the best wash them after that initial wash? Depends on your settings, but I prefer, pre-soak/drain on cold, then hotwash with free & clear plus some TTO and an extra rinse with a couple splashes of vinegar. My current washer doesn't have the soak cycle so I just rinse/wash/rinse

Do you dry them in the dryer or let them line dry?
dryer, except empty pockets or covers, I hang those around the laundry room. I'm sure line drying does help though.

What is the best way to clean them after they've pooped in them? Depends on the poop, if it's breastmilk only poop, I would throw it right in the wet bag and put it the wash like that (just don't wait more than a day or two). If it's solid at all then dump as much as you can in the toilet, then into the wetbag. I never had a problem with stains.

Do you have any other tips that you think I should know about? I CD'ed more with my last baby than current. It just didn't work out as much this time, don't feel bad if it doesn't work out for some reason!

How are your cloth diapers holding up? I used to dry my pockets and they wore in about a year. Part of that was the velcro though. But my others lasted about two years. My 4 yr old wore the same size forever! He was chubby then thinned out.

The Hargett Family said...

I've been cloth diapering since my daughter was 2 months old (she'll be 11 months on Wednesday). I have two in diapers -- dd is almost 11 mos. and ds is 35 months. He is super skinny, so the bum genius' still fit him, but if I don't have shorts or pants on him, the velcro comes undone easier (either by itself getting caught with his acrobatics -- or him undoing it). I have 12 Bum Genius 3.0.

I put my diapers in a metal garden bucket that I got at Hobby Lobby in the garden section. For #2, I just dump it in the toilet. Then I put the diapers in the washer and run it on a simple cycle on cold. After that's completed, I set it for the soak/long cycle with the rinse with Purex Free & Clear detergent. I try to hang them to dry, either outside or on an indoor wooden rack to try to preserve them as long as possible. I have thrown them in the dryer a few times when I've been in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

i have several brands and wash them all the same.

1. cold soak/prewash with 1/2 scoop of charlies soap (and a few squirts of BioKleen Bac Out every few times for odor).

2. hot wash and 2 rinses with 1/2 scoop of charlies soap in the hot wash.

3. dry in dryer although i sometimes hang my diapers that have aplix/velcro. They tend to get curled and pill, and quit being sticky. They also get sharp on the edges and make marks on my son. so i hang them when i can, and dry them if i'm in a pinch.

4. i use a regular kitchen garbage can w/lid with a swaddlebees pail liner on top of a regular plastic garbage bag. if i'm washing the liner and need to place a diaper in the pail, there's already a bag in place! Some people purchase 2 pail liners, but to save money, i use a regular garbage bag as a back up. I have rarely used it bc the liner dries so quickly, i can usually just take it out of the dryer when i need it! (that saved me $ on buying just one pail liner!) the $ saved is better spent on a ...

5. Diaper sprayer (bumgenious) that attaches to the toilet! a must imho!

I've been doing all of this for over a year and my diapers are holding up well. (especially the fuzzi bunz and prefolds). if i had to do it over, i'd buy all snapping diapers and prefolds with covers. The aplix tabs (velcro) on bumgenious and happy heiny's just haven't held up as well over time. they loose their stickiness, become sharp on the edges, and are VERY easy for the older baby/toddler to remove (NOT good!!!). The happy heiny prints do leak through the PUL sometimes. I find that I'd better make sure those are changed quickly and ONLY use them for daytime use. overall, cding has been wonderful! I'm so glad i discovered it... i wish i would have used cloth with my first! :)

thanks for asking this question... i thoroughly enjoyed reading others' responses!

Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review:

Bitsy said...

When I was exclusively breastfeeding, I just threw the poopy diapers in with all the rest (no rinsing or dumping first). Once Baby started eating solids, I started using flushable diaper liners. I hate that there's some throwaway waste, but it does make life easier and cleaner.

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