Cloth diapering series: Washing and drying | The Life of K: Cloth diapering series: Washing and drying

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cloth diapering series: Washing and drying

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The second post in my cloth diapering series to celebrate two years of using cloth diapers is all about washing diapers. This is something I was most worried about when thinking about making the switch from disposables to cloth. All of a sudden I would have to do laundry on the regular just so my baby's butt would be covered. Talk about responsibilities. Thankfully laundry is one of my fortes.

Cloth Diapering Series - Washing and Drying Cloth Diapers

Unfortunately it isn't as easy as throwing the diapers in the washer and dryer and being done with it. There are some things you need to know before even starting. Cloth diapers need to be prepped before you can use them. That's right, just like towels, they do not absorb well at first. Most diapers need to be washed and dried a few times first.

In general, diapers need lots of water and a little soap. And the soap should be a cloth diaper-friendly one, one that won't cause build-up in the diapers. Too much soap or the wrong kind of soap can make your diapers not as absorbant, actually repel liquid, or stink.

One of the best online resources I found is on a blog called PinStrips and PolkaDots. It lists all sorts of detergents and how diaper-friendly they are. If you're unsure, go to a diaper store and buy one of the detergents they sell.

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The best thing you can do when washing your diapers is to follow the instructions on the diapers or on the manufacturers website. At least use that as a starting point. It's not an exact science and things like the kind of washing machine you have (top loader vs. front loader), the type of water you have (hard vs soft), the detergent you use, and how many and what kind of diapers you have, all factor into what will work best for you.

When trying to figure it out talking to other people who also cloth diaper is very helpful. I found a Facebook group of people in my area and was able to troubleshoot there. It's a nice little community and I'm sure if you look you can find a similar group.

Some other things to mention when it comes to washing diapers is how to store the dirty ones. For this you'll need a pail or a bag - either a plastic or wicker garbage can of some sort or a wet bag, a bag specifically made to store wet things without leaking.

What I Do

I have two wet bags. One is in the wash and the other is hung right beside the change table in Little K's room. Dirty diapers go in the bag and every second night the bag gets emptied into the washer and washed with the diapers.

My wash routine looks like this: a warm rinse cycle, a hot wash cycle (with detergent, extra water, and an extra rinse), and a cold rinse cycle.

The diapers can go in the dryer on low heat, but mine get hung to dry on a rack beside my washer. In the summer I hang them to dry outside. They end up a little crinkly but the sun does wonders for stains, bleaching the diapers back to whiteness. 

Up Next

Tomorrow we'll take a quick break for my usual Wordless Wednesday/iPPP post. Thursday I'm going to talk about the tips and tricks I've learned in the past two years.

{See the previous posts in the cloth diapering series here: Types of cloth diapers.}


  1. OK this is great info! We were given a bunch of second hand Mother ease diapers but haven't started using them just yet...I'm worried about handling the extra laundry since we go through so many right now in a day. How old was K when you started using them?

    1. I'm glad!

      She was 3 months old. You do have to change cloth diapers more often than disposables in general but it's definitely doable at any age.