10 Laundry Tips for Clean Cloth Diapers

Truly clean cloth diapers aren't just a dream.  Read on for 10 helpful laundry tips and suggestions to make your laundry even easier!

Image credit: Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net

Washing your own cloth diapers isn't hard, and cloth diapers save you money, too!  If you haven't read our article on how to wash cloth diapers, start here for the basics, including a general laundry routine and laundry tips for front and top-load washers.

If you're looking for more ideas and suggestions to improve your laundry experience, check out our tips and suggestions below.

  • Follow your manufacturer's laundry instructions as closely as you can.  Keep in mind, you may need to adjust based on how hard or soft your water is.

  • Clean cloth diapers do not smell. If your diapers do smell, this means one of two things. You either have a detergent residue issue, or you aren't using enough water. Read more about cleaning cloth diapers with detergent and urine residues in our article on stripping cloth diapers.

  • Take care of the little steps before you throw your diapers in your diaper pail.  Un-stuff diapers before washing. If your diapers have aplix (or Velcro) closures, be sure to fold the tabs back onto the insides of the covers to protect them.

  • Use the recommended amount of detergent - the amount recommended by the detergent manufacturer, that is!  Laundering instructions for cloth diapers differ broadly by diaper manufacturer, retailer, and blogger, so it's generally best to follow the instructions included with your laundry detergent.  Cutting back on the amount of detergent you use can lead to stinky diapers over time!

  • Do not use bleach - it can weaken fabric, and in many cases will void the manufacturer's warranty.  Oxyclean is safe for cloth diapers, so if you need an extra boost, try a scoop of it instead.

  • Do not use fabric softener as it will create a residue in your diapers and will reduce the absorbency.

  • You should wash your diapers every 2 to 3 days to avoid staining and odour build-up, and to keep urine from breaking down the fibres.

  • Unless you use a liner, do not use diaper cream - it can build up in the fabric and retain odour.

  • Machine dry on medium, rather than hot, or hang in the sunshine - it will naturally bleach and remove odours from your diapers. Do not use dryer sheets, as they will also build up in your diapers. One great laundry tip my sister offered when I was first starting out: Quit using dryer sheets altogether, they cause residue in the drum of the dryer, and this can rub off on cloth diapers. Wool dryer balls are great a alternative, and can be used again and again!

  • If you're using your clothes dryer, you can cut your drying time by running an extra spin cycle or adding a dry towel with your diapers before you start the dryer. If you plan to machine-dry your cloth diapers, and are looking to save on energy for cleaning cloth diapers, you may also want to look into a spin-dryer. These machines are much more energy-efficient than regular dryers. They can be used alone or can reduce the drying time for a conventional dryer. They spin at high speeds, stripping water out.


Washing cloth diapers isn't as hard as many make it out to be.  We hope these tips will make it easier for you to get clean cloth diapers!

More in Our Laundry Series

  1. Overcoming Hard Water:  An Understanding of How to Get Your Cloth Diapers Clean
  2. Choosing a Detergent
  3. How to Store Your Diapers Until Wash Day
  4. The Basic Laundry Routine
  5. Wool Dryer Balls
  6. Off on the Right Foot:  Prepping Your New Diapers
  7. The Stinkies:  How to Strip Cloth Diapers
  8. 10 Helpful Laundry Tips
  9. Diaper Service: Cloth Diapers Without the Laundry

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