Wondering how to wash cloth diapers? If you ask around, you will probably discover that no two cloth-diapering mamas will follow the same laundry routine. Here are some basic instructions that you can modify depending on your washing machine type, diaper fabric, and detergent use.
Note: Clean diapers should not smell. If your diapers are stinky after you have washed them, you may not be using enough detergent or enough water. If you have stinky diapers, learn more about urine residues here.
I always recommend that you wash your diapers at least every three days, and preferably every two. If you wait more than 3 days, stains can become more stubborn, urine can weaken elastic and break down the material, and residues and smells can become harder to wash out. Below is a standard laundry routine for cloth diapers, but be sure to consider your cloth diaper manufacturer's washing instructions so you don't void your warranty!
Dump your diapers, pail liner and all, into the washing machine
Did you know that hard water can have a major impact on your cloth diaper laundry routine? 85% of North American households are affected by hard water, and not every cloth diaper detergent is designed to work well with hard water. If you’ve run into (or would like to avoid!) problems, this article on cleaning cloth diapers in hard water conditions will help you find out how choosing the right detergent, changing the amount you use, or adding a water conditioner can simplify your cloth diaper experience by eliminating or reducing stripping from your laundry routines, and extend the life of your diapers, too! This is one of our most-popular articles, and it's a great place to start reading.
Almost any detergent can work for cloth diapers. If what you are using is working, there's no reason to change it! Our favorite cloth diaper detergent is Nellie's Laundry Soda. Please check out our article on cloth diaper detergents for more information on how to select a detergent that will work for you!
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