How to Wash Cloth Diapers, the Easy Way

Samantha Griffith

Written by Samantha Griffith

how to wash cloth

How to Wash Cloth Diapers for Everyone’s Convenience

Probably, one of the dilemmas of a first-time parent is asking how to wash cloth diapers. With this type of diaper, they will have extra laundry to deal with, and the mess can freak them out. But, there are other options available if parents don’t wish to deal with this concern. There are diaper-cleaning services that are ready to be picked up, wash, and deliver every washcloth diaper right into your door. If they want a more cost-effective way, doing it yourself is the best choice. 

If you know how to use cloth diapers, you should certainly know how to wash cloth diapers as well. Since they are not disposable, and can be more costly than ordinary diapers, they need to be handled gently and correctly. This article guides you on how to wash cloth diapers properly to make them last longer.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers the Easy Way?

Aside from asking how to use a cloth diaper, we have heard many parents asking how to wash cloth diapers. That’s why we gathered the easiest and most useful tips for doing this load.

  • Step No. 1: Prepare the dirty cloth diapers.

For breastfed babies, the poops are soft and can easily be rinsed with water. You can directly put the dirty diaper in a container or bag where you store all the used diapers. But if the baby is eating solid foods or consuming formula milk, their poops are more solid. With this condition, to the proper diaper disposal, dump the mess into the toilet before combining them with the other cloth diapers.

  • Step No. 2: Wash a Round of Cloth Diaper

When testing how to wash cloth diapers for the first time, the ideal number of cloth diapers that you can wash in a round is 12 to 18 pieces. If there is a bigger container or barrel available, you may choose to add more diaper. But make sure that there is enough material inside the washer to avoid agitation between the cloth diapers. Use the highest water level of the washer and pre-rinsing the diaper with cold water. Find a cloth-friendly detergent because they can wash and clean well with water.

  • Step No. 3: Dry the Cloth Diapers

How to wash cloth diapers includes the process of drying them. Depending on the type of cloth diaper, you can either use a dryer or air-dry them. Upon buying the item, check the instructions about drying the cloth diaper properly. A lot of people used to wash cloth diapers by hand inside a pail and leave them drying out in the hot sun all day. Nowadays, the dirty diapers are kept clean inside a load in the washing machine and dryer.

What is the Best Way to Clean Cloth Diapers?

If you are looking for the best way to wash cloth diapers inside the best diaper bags you have purchased, you have to be ready with all the preparations needed. These three factors will contribute to the great result of washing cloth diapers – setting of water temperature, wash cycle, and detergent.

The Washing Cycle

How to wash cloth diapers has three stages that you should remember. They are the following:

  • Pre-rinse Stage

The main goal of this stage is initially removing the stains or babies’ poops in the cloth diapers. Pre-rinsing commonly runs between 15 to 30 minutes, and you don’t need to use any detergent during this stage. Rinsing the cloth diaper with water along.

  • Wash Cycle Stage

The best wash routine with your machine is the cycle that will perform the most prolonged agitation. For common washers, it can either be ‘heavy-duty’ or ‘extra heavy’. If the machine that you are using at home doesn’t have this option, opt for a normal or regular setting and put the level of the soil to ‘heavy’. The recommended agitation time is around 12 to 15 minutes to guarantee the cleanliness of the diaper.

  • Rinsing Stage

Any machine will only do one rinse for every washing cycle. But for the case of baby cloth diapers, second rinsing must be done. This extra rinse must be done manually, and it’s labeled as ‘extra rinse’ or ‘second rinse.’ The second rinse will make sure that there is no detergent leftover on the diapers.

The Temperature Settings

Following the instructions about temperature settings will improve the result of the washing cycle. Every stage of the washing cycle will require a different level of water temperature. They are as follows:

  • Pre-rinse Stage

During this stage, you should set the water setting into cold temperature because it can help in avoiding stain with your cloth diaper.

  • Wash Cycle Stage

Using the hottest level of temperature for your water is the best recommendation during this stage. Forget worrying about the elasticity of the diaper because manufacturers have expected that this product will be cleaned under hot temperatures. Hence, they made every cloth diaper as sturdy as possible.

  • Rinsing and Extra Rinse Stage

You can use cold water during the final and extra rinse because the machine will try to remove any detergent left in the cloth diaper.

The Type of Detergent

This is one of the struggles of every parent – choosing the right detergent in washing cloth diapers. Out of all the available products in the market, no one can tell what is the best one. But one thing that you should keep in mind in finding the right detergent is choosing the one with the fewest ingredients. Avoid buying detergent products that contain fabric softeners, bleach, enzymes, and oxygen-based cleaners. These components will not be removed in the final and extra rinsing, and they can cause allergic reactions to the baby’s skin.

Can You Wash Cloth Diapers in a Washing Machine?

The answer is a big YES. A washing machine and dryer is effective in cleaning the used cloth diapers of your baby. Using hot water, you can start this cycle. It is not recommended to use a fabric conditioner while washing the cloth diapers because this material can decrease the diapers’ absorbency. As an alternative, get a 3/4 cup of vinegar and add it to the hot water. Vinegar will help keep the diapers absorbent and soft.

How often Should You Wash Cloth Diapers?

The frequency of washing the cloth diapers will depend on the poop of the baby. Here are the two situations that will tell how often you should wash the dirty diapers:

  • When the cloth diaper is heavily soiled

The recommended number of times that you should wash the used diaper cloth is every 1 to 3 days. If the diaper contains a significant amount of poops, never leave it unclean for more than two days since the stain and smell could stay longer. As much as possible, do a regular wash within the day and dry it immediately. Most couples don’t use the same cloth diaper cloth within the same week for hygienic reasons.

  • When the cloth diaper is mildly soiled

When the diaper cloths are mildly soiled, and they don’t need immediate attention, washing them after a couple of days is acceptable. But, it is not advised that you wait for more than three days before washing and cleaning them because it can create irreversible stain, and it will increase the chances of bacteria forming in the diaper.

When thinking about how often you should wash the baby cloth diapers, the first thing that must come into your mind is avoiding the possibility of bacteria forming in this material. Bacteria is a real threat to the safety of the baby, and you must do everything to prevent them from getting near your child.

Do you really Save Money Using Cloth Diapers?

If you’re one of those mothers who asked if you are indeed saving money by using cloth diapers, your concern will be answered with this simple explanation.

Let’s start with determining the cost of both disposable and cloth diapers. With the disposable one, the price will be around $0.25 to $0.30, depending on the diaper brand. On the other hand, the cost of the cloth diaper is about $0.07 each use. If a baby is using diapers around 7 times a day, you are saving around $1.50 to $2.00 per day if the baby is using a cloth diaper. That’s a big win.

But one important thing that you should know about cloth diaper is the up-front cost of this product. If you purchase 24 diapers in the market, the estimated cost will be between $100 to $600, depending on the brand of the cloth diaper. The price can also change due to various factors such as the size, fit, and style. And while using cloth diapers, you will need to invest with different cleaning materials such as cloth-friendly diaper detergent, wet bags, diaper pail, and diaper pail linens. In the end, your total expenses in choosing cloth diapers can run from $500 up to $700, which means that you won’t have any savings on your baby’s first year. But, in the second year of your child, that’s when the parents start to see the savings which can run from $600 to $800 every year. If the baby keeps on using the cloth diaper during her third year, that only means you are saving more.


Baby cloth wash diapers are an excellent choice for every parent, especially for those couples who are tight with money. But as part of your responsibility, you have to take care of these diapers as well. You must know how to wash cloth diapers. They must be cleaned as often as possible to avoid the presence of odor, stains, and bacteria. But you have to avoid cleaning them so much because it can wear off the diapers and you will lose your money’s worth. In the end, you have to trust your judgment and decide whether a diaper cloth needs to be washed or not. If you are in doubt about your choice, the next best step to do is wash it and keep the safety and comfort of your baby.

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