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Cloth Diaper Care- WAY easier than you think!

Home / Mothering / Cloth Diaper Care- WAY easier than you think!

I believe I just washed my last load of cloth diapers (nostalgic sigh).

Think it’s silly to get all emotional about diapers?  Yes, of course I have an idea how many times they’ve been loaded up with pee and all forms of poop, who do you think cleaned them out each time?  These diapers have gotten me through 2 kids and are still in such good shape that they’ll soon be passed down to another family (as soon as I replace the elastic!).

Cloth Diaper fleece

Call me crazy, but these cloth diapers are one of the sweetest parts of raising babies, and by far the best choice I made in the “gear” department.  The fuzzy, fleece is so soft for baby’s bum, and quickly wicks the wetness up so they always feel dry, and keeps them (mostly) rash free.  Then, of course, there is the uber cuteness of the cloth diaper booty!

cloth diaper booty

Now that we are fully potty trained and sleeping through the night without wetting (and done having kids), it is time close the chapter on these sweet little treasures (oh man, feeling sappy again!).

Over the years I feel like I perfected caring for my cloth diapers, keeping them in beautiful condition.  There is no reason to be grossed out or think you can’t deal with them when they are soiled, really!  Follow my method and you will find that it is actually quite simple, and you will be thrilled to be doing the very best for your baby’s booty and for the planet.

Cloth Diaper Care

The Diapers
Have you bought cloth diapers yet?  Do that first.  There are tons of places to buy them, Diaper Junction is a great place to get started (disclaimer: if you make a purchase, I will get a tiny commission).  My favorites over the years are Fuzzibunz, Bum Genius, Bumkins and Kushies.  I would say invest in the type that have snaps, no velcro (loop and hooks), it doesn’t last!

Cloth Diapering

Wash and dry your diapers according the manufacturer’s directions.  Some people wash and dry them several times before using them, it sort of depends on what they are made of.

The Supplies
These supplies are not exactly necessary, but will make your life much easier!

  • Wet bags– these are bags that hold tons of dirty diapers without leaking.  Get a big one for your main storage and small one for your diaper bag.  Just buy a really good, basic one.  This was a total game-changer for me when I finally got mine.
  • Toilet sprayer– Sure, you can keep a pair on tongs next to the potty to swish the poop off, but why?
  • Dry rack- Wash the diapers in the evening, set them on the dry rack, and they’ll be ready to go in the morning.

The Cleaning Station
After a diaper has been used, put it directly into the wet bag, which lives on top of the toilet (remove any inserts from pocket diapers).  If there is poop, knock into the toilet, spray off any big chunks.

Cloth diaper cleaning station

Washing the Diapers
Dump the diapers into the washing machine and throw in the bag.  Wash 2 cycles.
The first cycle is “Heavy” with cold water and detergent (see below) and will get the big stains out.
The second cycle is also on “Heavy” but with hot water.  Use a tiny bit of detergent and bleach when necessary.  This is the sanitation cycle.

Was the diapers every other day or so, wait too long and they will get ruined!

Drying the Diapers
You can use the dryer, but why?  It uses lots of energy and is rough on your diapers.  Use a drying rack inside or hang them in the sunlight for a little of Mother Nature’s bleach.  Sun lightens stains and sanitizes.

Cloth Diaper Drying

The Soap
Detergent for cloth diapers needs to be free of all the junk that the big supermarket-brands use as filler, like fragrance and softeners.  You can buy the expensive “for diapers” detergent if you would like, but I have found that you can use detergents like Planet and Eco’s (my favorite) that are low sudsing, good for the environment, and only have a few basic ingredients (I use the same detergent for all of my laundry).   The fragrance and softeners will build up on the cloth and actually make it water-resistant, which is not what we are looking for in diaper duty!

Bleach should be used when they get stinky, which happens every few weeks.  I’ve spoken with rep’s from the companies themselves, and they recommend adding a small amount of bleach about once a month.  The urine smell builds up, and this about the only thing that will kill it.

Some people need to “strip” their diapers because of build-up.  I never had to, but there are plenty of other experts out there who can walk you through it.

Fold and Store
Folding the clean and fluffy diapers (affectionally called “fluff” by many-a-Mama) was always a favorite little chore of mine.  I stuffed the diapers  so they would be ready for use and neatly stacked them in a basket with wipes and a pad.  I changed the kids right on the living room rug.  Yes, I loved Kirkland wipes from Costco.

Cloth Diaper Storage

See, now isn’t that easy?  Cloth diapers today are made so well, that they are really a joy to use.  Go ahead and do your internet research on the best kind to buy, then relax, because your cloth diaper care is covered!



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