Washing cloth diapers

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

Cloth or disposable diapers? I was going with a cloth diaper service, but unfortunately it is going out of business and its the only one in town. My baby is only 5 weeks old. I'd like to conitnue with cloth for the health and environmental benefits but the prospect of washing them myself is a little scary. Anyone else washing diapers? Do you need a specific type of washer? How many diapers do you figure you need on hand? Do you find you can manage the additional task of washing diapers?


View replies by

Alice - posted on 01/31/2011




I use washable diapers for in house and disposables if the baby is going to grandmas or something.
We soak them in a pail of water with baking soda (I use the washer tub if I don't have other clothes scheduled for wash, b/c it's easier). I add about 1/4 cup of bleach to my washer (it has one of those built-in bleach dispensers) and wash them first in that. Then I rewash in the gentle baby soap and baking soda (vinegar works too). I line dry them when the weather is good; it helps them last longer. DO NOT dry the rubber pants (if you use them) in the dryer, they will crack from the heat so you'll only get to use them like 3 or 4 times before they are destroyed. I love those "bumpkins" and other one-peice washable diapers, but you have to follow their directions regarding drying. We use the old fashoined rectangle clothes that I have to fold into my own diapers and cover with a plastic/rubber pant.
I typically wash my diapers every other day as I go through 5 to 12 diapers a day depending on the baby's age. (more for younger babies, less for older ones) I always had at least 24 diapers on hand, but if you wash a smaller load every day you can get by with 12 to 15. Just make sure you know your washer/dry time and compensate so you always have at least two dry spares :)
I find that the extra task of washing diapers is worth it for us. It takes an extra 8 or 10 minutes to rinse the diapers and stick them in the washer, then about 30 minutes on the line in a nice day. We spend $45 on 228 disposable diapers at the wholesale club, so it's 25 cents a diaper. We run $3 worth of water, electricity, & cleaning materials for about 20 diapers so it's a savings of about 10 cents a diaper. For us it's a savings of 50 cents to $1.20 a day. Honestly I use it more because babies appear to detest wet cloth diapers and so being end up wanting to potty train faster. But saving even just $30 - $45 a month is saving & every little bit counts! :)
~Hope this helps!

Elfrieda - posted on 01/29/2011




Oh, I feel for you, trying to wade through the cloth diaper options with the little sleep that a 5weekold baby will let you have. And after you choose the kind of diaper, you've got to worry about washing! That's the reason I didn't start cding until my baby was 8 m old. Blech.

I'll tell you what I did. You'll have to change the number of diapers because little babies "go" more often than bigger babies.

I counted how many diapers we go through in a normal day (8) and doubled it (16) and then added 2 just to be safe. 18 in all. I ordered 4 diaper covers. (we're using kissaluvs, and they need covers) I also bought a mini garbage pail and waterproof bag for storing the dirty diapers. If it's wet, I just throw it in the pail. (no water) If it's dirty, I dump the poop in the toilet and sometimes swish it (so gross the first few times) and throw the whole mess into the pail. (the same pail as the wet) In the evening, I wash it. (we use a nighttime disposable diaper on the baby for overnight. that way he can pee two gallons overnight if he wants to, and we still don't have to change him until morning!)

One thing that I wish someone had told me, is to use fleece liners when the baby starts eating solids and the poop gets thicker. When I finally clued in, I took some fleece that was lying around the house from a sewing project, and I cut it into rectangles to go between the baby and the diaper. The baby stays dry and the poop falls off no problem no mess. So great. I wash the liners in the same load as the diapers.

I have a frontloading, high efficiency washer. It works great!

For a regular load - this means that it hasn't been sitting overnight, and there aren't any spectacularly poopy diapers in there:

1) wash with detergent (I use Shaklee. You can't use the regular kind, because they stick to the diapers and that causes badness. Just poke around any cloth diapering forums, you'll get tons of suggestions.)

2) Rinse & Spin (this is a setting on my machine)

3) Dryer for one cycle to sort of soften and fluff (no fabric softener or dryer sheets, of course)

4) Air dry outside or next to the fireplace

If I left the diapers for 2 or 3 days, or there was a really yucky one in there, I do this:

1) Soak in cold water (this is a setting on my machine)


3)Rinse and Spin


5)Air dry

Once a month, I strip them. (If you don't have hard water, you don't have to do it that often. Hard water means spots on the faucet, gunk in the kettle and coffeemaker, and dirty-looking glasses in the dishwasher.)


2)Wash with detergent

3) I haven't decided yet. There are two settings "Whitest Whites" and "Sanitary" that both use really hot water. I choose one, and run it without detergent.

4) Rinse and Spin I peek in to see if there are still suds. If yes, I rinse again.

5) Dryer

6) Air dry.

It's not that hard, really. If you're home anyway, you don't care if the washer is going or not, and it takes 10 minutes of actual work for a regular load.

Frances - posted on 01/28/2011




I just used Dreft and borax when I washed diapers. Using cloth diapers was not really all that much extra work, even when I had two in diapers at once. Even then, it was just three extra loads of laundry per week. I let the diapers soak in a diaper pail until I am ready to wash. Sometimes I also used a disposable diaper liner. I always rinsed out the BM diapers in the commode before putting in the diaper pail. I find now, with teen agers in the house, that I actually do more loads of laundry per week than when I had babies in diapers.

Jennifer - posted on 01/27/2011




we use cloth, and wash them ourselves. its been pretty easy, overall. we have just a regular top loading washing machine, nothing fancy. if you have a newer, energy efficient washing machine it can be kind of tricky, though. we have a stash of 24 pocket diapers and that works perfectly for washing diapers every other day. the most important part is having the right detergent. most detergents that you buy in the store are NOT cloth diaper safe...you have to find a detergent that is free of enzymes, fragrances, softeners, and brighteners. all of those things will stick to your diaper and cause them to repel moisture (leak). a very very good diaper detergent is called Rockin Green but its pricey, in my opinion. we use Country Save (its much, much cheaper and works well)...i bought a case of 4, 10 lb boxes from amazon.com and because it was bulk the shipping was free.

here is an EXTREMELY helpful link for finding a good cloth diaper safe detergent...


washing diapers really has never been a big deal to me. here is my wash routine...

light wash on cold with no detergent

extra rinse

heavy wash on hot with detergent

extra rinse

then the covers are lined dried (ours have velcro closures and velcro doesn't do well in the dryer). the liners are thrown in the dryer.

good luck. call me weird but i actually like doing the diaper wash...i find it to be relaxing, and i love knowing that we doing the best for the environment, and our wallet.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms