Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cloth Diaper Q & A Week 4! {Prepping and Washing Cloth Diapers}

Welcome to another week of Cloth Diaper Q & A! In previous week's we've talked about the different types of cloth diapers, the cost of cloth diapers, and how many diapers you will need. Now we are going to talk about prepping your diapers and washing them once you actually have them! Some diapers require a little more prep than others to do the job to the best of their ability. For other diapers it's as simple as washing the diaper before you use it. 

Prepping Brand New Diapers

I always wash new diapers at least once before I use them. Even if they don't need to be prepped for absorbency I just wash them to remove any residue or anything else that could be on them from the manufacturing process. Some diapers, however, need to be prepped to reach their maximum absorbency. Fabrics like hemp, bamboo, or cotton need to be washed 4-8 times to be the most absorbent. Fabrics like microfleece or microsuede only need to be washed once or twice. 

So how do I prep them? It's almost exactly like my normal wash routine. I just do a cold rinse, then a hot wash with soap, and then another cold rinse. If they need to be washed more than once I do the hot wash a few more times and then the cold rinse to finish it off. I don't usually bother drying them in between washes when I'm prepping. Some say you should but I've never noticed a huge difference in the amounts of time I need to wash the diapers or anything like that. When I am ready to dry them after they've been prepped I do usually dry them in the dryer the first time. This way they get nice and soft and fluffy and it will also seal off the PUL. 

Washing Dirty Diapers

So after your diapers have been prepped and you use them you'll need to wash them again! (Duh!) So what do you do now that they are all disgusting and smelly? First let me say, I would definitely wash every other day to every two days. Anytime I've gone longer than that I run into stinky, yucky issues. My diapers also tend to all come out stained if I wait any long er than that. I usually try to wash every other day, no matter what. Sometimes I don't get to it until the third morning, but I definitely don't wait any longer than that. I throw all my diapers in the wash, (wash my hands) and set it to a cold rinse. This rinses out all the pee and poo. Then I set it to as hot as I can get it ( I have a switch behind my washer that turns the cold water off) and do a hot wash with 2 tablespoons of Tide powder. You only want to use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount of detergent you normally would on your clothing. I know this doesn't really seem to make sense but it works. If you use anymore than that you will start to get buildup in your diapers which can then lead to stink and other issues. Then after the hot wash I do another cold rinse. Not all washing machines give you the option to do just a rinse so you can do another wash with just cold water if that's the case.  Then I hang my covers and pockets to dry and throw my inserts, cloth wipes, and fitted diapers in the dryer and dry on high heat. 
This has pretty much been my wash routine for three years now and it has worked well for me. I've tried a few different detergents but really like Tide the best. You may have to try a few kinds to find out what works for you. Depending on what kind of water you have and how your washing machine works you may have to tweak your wash routine some. Just give it a try and see what works best! 

Have a cloth diapering question you would like me to answer? Leave a comment below or email it to me at mommyferg02 (at) gmail (dot) com!


  1. You know my mom used Tide for my cloth diapers in the 60's, I used Tide in the 80's and my daughter used tide in 2004 for my grandson's cloth diapers. It's a family tradition. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I tried Tide a few times, but it didn't work well for our diapers, although we use it for everything else. We use Eco Sprout on our diapers. Charlie's skin is pretty sensitive and that seems to work best for us.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who washes them at least once even if they don't need to be prepped! I think it's always good to get the factory/packaging "ick" off them and it just seems to make them softer even if they don't "need" to be prepped! Lots of good info!

  4. I don't cloth diaper, so I found this very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I remember those days....I enjoyed using cloth diapers, but I am so glad my kids don't need them anymore, because that is a lot of washing! :)

  6. Diaper Sprayers a few facts: No Diaper Sprayer on the market was manufactured for that purpose; they are all originally Hand Held Bidet Sprayers. That is why so many people are complaining about their sprayers breaking, because they were not made to handle the abuse. You can save money and buy a cheap plastic sprayer and then need to buy another one soon or you can get a Stainless Steel Sprayer at for a little more that will last, it comes with a 5 year warranty. Just a thought.....


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