Top loaders are great for washing cloth diapers!
High efficiency front loading machines are great because they don’t use much water, but they can cause a big problem because of that too. Not using enough water to wash and rinse your diapers can cause serious residue problems.
Set your machine manually to maximum water level to wash your diapers. If this is impossible, call the manufacturer and ask them how to adjust your water level manually. If it is still impossible, use the wet towel trick! Reduce the number of diapers per load and add a wet towel or two to trick the machine into adding more water.
Multiple rinses are not necessary if you are using enough water to wash and rinse your diapers clean.
2. Before You Start Using Your Diapers – Very Important!
Wash diapers in hot water with a small amount of zero residue detergent before first use in order to make them absorbent. If your diapers are made of unbleached cotton, bamboo or hemp, you will need to wash and dry them at least three times to remove natural oils and waxes that will inhibit absorption.
Test your diapers for absorbency before you use them! If your diapers are made of natural fabrics, you can test their absorbency by pouring a small amount of warm water onto the fabric. It should be absorbed immediately. If your diapers have any sort of ‘stay dry’ synthetic layer, you will have to apply light pressure before liquid absorbs. If the water beads on your diapers, they are not ready to use! If your cotton diapers do not absorb properly after 3 washes and your synthetic diapers after 1 wash, please refer back to the previous “note about washing machines”, as you probably need to increase the water level in your washing machine.
Please check the washing instructions for the specific product you have purchased as they may be different!
3. What To Do With Dirty Diapers
Remove diaper and wrap from baby. Flush away flushable liner or shake off excess poop into the toilet. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is no need to shake excess poop into the toilet as it will wash out easily.
Unfold your diapers to ensure thorough cleaning and remove liners or inserts. Secure velcro type tabs by sticking them to the fold back tabs (on the inside back of the diaper cover or diaper).
Put wet or soiled diapers in a pail or a hanging diaper bag. Dirty wraps can be stored with your dirty diapers (never soak them!). Wash every 2-3 days. Polyester wraps can be washed with your diapers; nylon and wool diaper wraps should be washed separately.
4. Washing Diapers
- First run a cold pre-wash (or a short cycle with no detergent).
- Then do a regular wash in hot water (60C/140F max) Do not use a sanitize cycle on any products with velcro type closures or elastic. See detergent information below please!
- Rinse diapers in lots of water to avoid build-up of detergent, bacteria and urine.
- Dry in the dryer or outside on a clothesline (check the label of your product, as some products should only be hung to dry). Sunlight is a natural brightener and disinfectant!
- Once washed, your diapers should not smell like urine or detergent! If they do, chances are you have a residue problem.
We recommend using a zero residue detergent! If you have a top loader, you can use the full recommended amount of a zero residue detergent. If you have a front loader or HE machine, stick to the lower end of the recommended amount of detergent.
If you are using anything other than a zero residue detergent, use no more than half of what the detergent package tells you to use; use one quarter of the recommended amount if you have a front loader or HE machine.
Choose a detergent that does not contain any of the following additives, as they can create residue problems. Detergent residue will lead to leaking, absorbency issues and stinky wraps.
- Fabric softeners
- Natural oils
- UV brighteners
- Stain guard ingredients
- Enzymes (they will not affect performance, but may cause rashes on some babies’ skin)
Please be cautious about using vinegar and/or baking soda, as they can together or individually cause problems with some diapering products. We recommend that you do not use either of these unless specifically suggested by the manufacturer of your diaper or wrap.