If you’re planning on cloth diapering, you might be wondering how to wash cloth diapers. This is what many mamas worry the most about when it comes to choosing to use cloth diapers, but it’s actually surprisingly simple! Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to wash your cloth diapers.
First, Choose a Laundry Detergent
The first thing you will need is a good, safe, and effective detergent for washing cloth diapers.
When deciding what detergent to use when washing cloth diapers, you first need to make sure that the detergent does not have any built-in fabric softeners. You should also make sure to never add fabric softener to your washer when washing cloth diapers because it can cause them to repel rather than absorb which is the last thing you want! (Also, I would encourage you to stop using fabric softener altogether, as it is unnecessary and uses extra chemicals and fragrances that you don’t need.)
You should be able to use any laundry detergent that you’re already using to do your laundry, as long as it isn’t homemade. (Those won’t be strong enough to handle the job.) One of my favorite laundry detergent brands is Molly’s Suds, and they make a super enzyme laundry powder that works well for washing cloth diapers.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers — Step by Step
Now that you’ve chosen a laundry detergent for your cloth diapers, let’s move on to how you should actually wash them.
Step 1: Collect Your Diapers, Inserts, and Wet Bags
To wash your diapers, you’ll first empty them into the washer from the diaper pail. You can go ahead and throw your pail liner and wet bag in the wash right along with the diapers themselves. Don’t forget the inserts! (Check your diaper bag, too!)
Step 2: Prewash
You’ll need to do a prewash when washing cloth diapers, so you can start off by only adding a small amount of detergent – usually line 1 on the scoop or cap to your laundry detergent is good for the prewash. Run a short wash cycle for the prewash. The temperature of the water you use for washing cloth diapers doesn’t matter as long as you do everything else correctly. The prewash gets rid of the majority of urine and any remaining waste on your diapers.
Step 3: Run a Heavy Duty Cycle
Once the prewash is finished, you’ll run a full wash to really get the diapers clean. To do a full wash, add however much detergent your box or bottle suggests for the largest size load of clothing to the washer. This is typically around 4 times as much as you would use for the prewash. Then, run a heavy-duty cycle.
Step 4: Dry Your Cloth Diapers
Once you’re done washing cloth diapers, you’ll need to dry them. There are no hard and fast rules to drying cloth diapers other than you should never use dryer sheets as they can also cause the diapers to repel rather than absorb. Not to mention the unfortunate amount of chemicals in them. If you want, you can use wool dryer balls with your diapers.
There’s nothing wrong with drying your diapers in the dryer, but if you want to preserve them as long as possible and save a little energy by not using the dryer, you can line dry your diapers. The one added benefit of line-drying your cloth diapers outside is sun exposure, which is great for stain removal.
Depending on where you live and the time of year, you may not have the option of line drying your diapers outdoors, but you can still air dry them indoors. You can do this by hanging them in the window, or hooking them to hangers, or buying an indoor drying rack. If you do choose to dry your diapers in the dryer, either use no heat or make sure that your diapers are cooled completely before using them as stretching the elastics while warm can cause them to relax more quickly.
I hope these easy step-by-step instructions on how to wash cloth diapers were helpful! Got any tips you’d like to share?
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