Cleaning your cloth diapers doesn’t have to be super time consuming and gross. Learn how to make your cloth diaper maintenance even easier with the complete guide to washing cloth diapers.
If you are considering cloth diapering, the #1 thing you’re probably not sold on yet is how to clean cloth diapers. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories from friends about how hard they are to clean, or how gross they are to handle.
I honestly think the fear of cleaning cloth diapers is what turns off the majority of parents off from cloth diapering. As a parent who did full-time cloth diapering for nearly a year (and now we do part-time cloth diapering, since we have 2 under 2), I can tell you that your cloth diaper maintenance doesn’t have to be a pain!
I learned through trial and error the easiest way to clean cloth diapers. This method has worked well for every single parent I’ve recommended it to!
I’m going to break it down for your super simple how we clean our cloth diapers, and each step we take to make sure they come out stain free and fresh each time.
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The Complete Guide to Washing Cloth Diapers
There are a lot of different ways out there to wash cloth diapers, mainly because there are multiple different types of cloth diapers you can choose from.
If you’ve never cloth diapered before and are also searching for more information on the different types of cloth diapers out there, be sure to read Cloth Diapering for the Modern Mama to learn all about the diaper options.
Our family chose to use pocket diapers. If you’re looking for an affordable pocket diaper to try, I love this set that you can get on Amazon! We liked how easy the process was, but also that we could full separate the cloth diaper pieces in case something needed an extra soak.
Cloth Diaper Cleaning Tips
These are my biggest tips for cleaning your cloth diapers.
1. Pull the liner out of the diaper every single time you put a dirty diaper into the diaper bin.
When I change baby, I pull the inner liner from the pocket diaper every single time, and put both in the diaper pail. If there are solids I dumb them down the toilet, and also spray the diaper and liner with the SmarterFresh Sprayer before placing them in the diaper pail.
This is a really important step. If you don’t remove the liner prior to placing the diaper in the pail, you’re going to risk forgetting to remove it when you put the diapers in the wash. The cloth diaper liners HAVE to be removed before washing, or your diaper won’t get clean enough.
It’s also important to not skip using the SmarterFresh Sprayer after a poo diaper. It makes such a big difference with stains! If you’re worried about the spray, I recommend you also get the Spray Pal Cloth Diaper Shield. You can spray down the diaper directly in this shield.
Note: You can get the cloth diaper sprayer and the shield I recommend separately, but they are also now sold bundled together for a reduced price here!
2. Wash your dirty cloth diapers regularly, and don’t let them sit for too long.
We wash diapers every other evening, even if the pail isn’t full, for one big reason: when dirty cloth diapers sit for too long, they get super smelly and gross! The longer they sit while dirty, the tougher it is to get them sparkling clean.
3. Double check for stains before putting your cloth diapers into the washing machine.
I swear by an OxyClean soak for tough diaper stains! Simply mix a few tablespoons of OxyClean with warm water in your sink, and let your diapers sit for at least 4 hours fully submerged.
How to Get Your Cloth Diapers Clean
These are the simple steps I personally take to clean our cloth diapers. Follow these steps for the cleanest cloth diapers ever!
1. Dump the diapers into the machine, along with the reusable diaper pain liner turned inside out. Double check that you’ve removed every liner from every diaper!
2. Do a plain rinse cycle with no detergent.
3. Set washer to normal warm cycle, and also select “presoak” and “extended rinse.” I throw in our regular detergent (we use Seventh Generation) and half a scoop of OxyClean. I let the diapers soak, then go through the regular cycle with an extra rinse just to be sure they’re extra clean.
4. Cloth diaper best practice says you should line dry cloth diapers… but tbh, how many modern mamas have time for that? So I throw our cloth diapers into the dryer on low heat.
Cleaning cloth diapers doesn’t have to be gross and take forever. Experiment with what works for your own diapers, and leave any questions in the comments below.