How To Wash Cloth Diapers
#Read the insert first before you wash
Not every cloth diaper is created the same. Read each product insert before you toss that new diaper into the washer.
# Prep new diapers before use
Prepping new diapers mean that you have to wash your new cloth diapers at least twice before you let baby wear them. Run them on the hot cycle and dry in cold. Prepping helps to improve a cloth diaper’s absorbency. You have to do this or risk leaky diapers and poop stains during baby’s first use.
# Close the diapers snap before you wash
Diaper snaps can get caught up and tangled while washing. They might also break if left unattached. For Velcro enclosures, secure and hook them together before washing. Unsecured Velcro will scratch and damage the surface of other diapers. Your diaper depends on these snaps and enclosure so take care of them well.
# Don’t mix and do not stretch!
When washing, don’t mix your cloth diapers with other clothing. It is messy and smelly and can likely transfer its odor to other items if mixed. After running in the dryer, just clip the diaper in the hanger. Do not stretch while still wet as it can damage the diaper’s elastics.
# Use the right type of detergent
Use a fragrance-free detergent if available. Fragrant detergents can mask the odor residue of your cloth diapers. It will make you assume that they are clean when in fact; they still harbor some germs and odor even after washing.
# Stay away from bleach and fabric conditioners
All you need to wash your cloth diapers is a plain detergent and water, no more, no less. Avoid bleach as it can weaken the fabric and wear out the diapers’ color. You don’t need fabric conditioners when washing cloth diapers as it will reduce absorbency. These harsh chemicals may also lead to allergies and skin irritation.
# Instead of bleach, let the sunshine do the work
Limit your use of bleach to just once a month for cloth diapers. Use the sun instead to do the work for you. Let the diapers hang under the sun to dry. You can also add in half a cup of lemon juice in the final rinse to aid on bleaching white diapers. Air drying outside and lemon juice soak are also both effective in removing odor residue.
# Smelly diaper remedy
You may soak your smelly diapers in 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part water. Add in half a cup of baking soda and let the diapers sit in this mixture overnight. This will help to eliminate odors without resorting to harsh detergents that can harm your baby’s skin.
# Why must I “strip” my diapers?
Stripping is important to remove the build-up of nappy creams, hard water mineral residue, ammonia smell and microorganisms that cause skin rash and ringworm. Read your diaper insert to check on how to perform stripping for your particular diaper brand. If there is no information on-hand, just run your diapers in a hot water cycle without detergent and dry in between. Repeat this at least twice.