There are many reasons to use cloth diapers, but one issue always seems to give people pause: washing the cloth diapers. I admit the idea of putting dirty diapers in my washing machine was alarming at first, but it turns out there was nothing to worry about. I wash my diapers every three days, using the following routine, and they come out clean with my washing machine no worse for the wear.
Taking care of “business” with dirty cloth diapers
The first step of my cloth diaper washing routine comes as I change my baby out of her dirty cloth diaper. If there is solid waste, I shake what I can into the toilet and use my diaper sprayer to wash off most of the rest. Then, I pour on some Biokleen Bac-Out: a natural cloth-diaper-friendly solution that uses enzymes to break down waste. It helps keep my diapers stain-free and makes my pail smell a lot better.
The cloth diaper prewash
When it’s a cloth diaper-washing day, I take my full diaper pail liner down to my old, trusty top-loader washing machine. I turn the water level to its highest setting to maximize the effectiveness of rinses, and I set my washing machine to run a prewash on cold to rid the diapers of waste. I shake my diapers into the washer and throw my pail liner in as well.
Washing cloth diapers with detergent
Once the short prewash is finished, I turn my water temperature to hot, add the appropriate amount of detergent (a fraction of what I’d use for regular laundry), and run a wash on the setting for most soiled laundry. I prefer powder detergent to liquid because it seems to rinse more cleanly. Diaper Jungle hosts a helpful chart for choosing safe detergent for cloth diapers. My machine runs an extra cold rinse after its hot wash, and every once in a while I run yet another cold rinse to prevent detergent buildup.
Drying and stuffing cloth diapers
I throw all my diapers into the dryer on its lowest setting since high heat can compromise the waterproof layer of pocket diapers. The diapers themselves usually dry quickly. The inserts take a full-length cycle to dry, and my higher-absorbency hemp inserts take even longer. After the pocket diapers come out of the dryer, I stuff the inserts inside them before putting them away. This is easily done while watching something on TV after the baby’s gone to bed. It takes little effort but saves a lot of time during diaper changes with my wiggly baby.
All in all, my cloth diaper washing routine takes a small amount of time and labor, especially since I can do other things while my diapers are in the wash. Plus, since I have a large enough stash, I don’t have to rush through the routine in order to have diapers clean for the next day. Call me crazy, but in many ways I enjoy washing my cloth diapers because I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile for our bank account, the environment, and my baby’s behind.
More on cloth diapers:
6 Accessories to Make Cloth Diapering Easier
My Top 5 Cloth Diaper Rookie Mistakes
6 Reasons for Pocket Cloth Diaper Leaks
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