Cloth diapering: my washing process

Now that we have two under the age of 2, I am even more thankful that we are cloth diapering! I can’t imagine how many diapers we’d be going through otherwise or how much it would cost.

I wanted to do a series of posts on my current process but it turns out that it was way too long. I am breaking it into 3 parts.

  1. My stash (what diapers I use)
  2. Washing diapers
  3. Cloth Wipes


We started with a traditional top-loading machine, but last year we bought a high efficiency front loader. They both seem to work equally well, except that the front-loader doesn’t have a rinse cycle so I have to use a “Quick Wash” cycle without soap to do the rinsing.

For the breastfeeding infant, I don’t use liners, but for the toddler I use Bummis Biosoft flushable liners. These are laid on the inside of the diaper so that when the child poops, the poop actually hits the liner rather than getting absorbed into the diaper, and  I can dump the majority of the poo straight into the toilet without touching anything. For the rest of the poo, we installed a diaper sprayer to spray the poo off the diapers. I highly recommend installing one of these when your baby starts eating solids.

Here is my process:

  1. I throw the pee-only and newborn breastfeeding poo (which is water-soluble) diapers into a lidded trash can lined with a PlanetWise wet bag. I do not add anything to the pail.
    For the older child, when there is poo I do dump it into the toilet and use the diaper sprayer to spray most of it off into the toilet. I throw that diaper into the pail.
  2. When the pail is mostly full, I take the whole wet bag and throw it into the washing machine, including the wet bag itself. I have two wet bags that are identical, so I use one while the other is in the wash.
  3. One rinse cycle with hot water.
  4. Then a full wash cycle on hot with either Charlie’s Soap or Rockin’ Green.
  5. I hang the diaper shells out in the sun to dry and put the microfiber inserts into the dryer. The sunshine bleaches any stains out of the diaper, I have never had to use anything for stains except for once when I accidentally used diaper cream containing zinc oxide*.
  6. When everything is dry, I stuff the shells with the inserts and they’re ready to put on the babies!

*Never use diaper cream containing zinc oxide with cloth diapers, it creates a barrier of oils that will make the diapers stop absorbing moisture and you will have leaks. Also, the oils grab stains like you would not believe.

2 thoughts on “Cloth diapering: my washing process

  1. Jes says:

    I have a clarification!

    I had this same problem when I was a newbie and trying to figure out how to wash diapers – I took the instructions too literally. Sandra B finally had to sit me down and spell it out.

    Correction to Step 2:
    (this may be obvious to some, but it wasn’t to me. maybe i am too literal)

    You do not actually throw the whole wet bag, full of diapers, into the washing machine. You have to remove those diapers, and fold down the laundry tabs, and remove the inserts. Then you put the diaper covers and diaper inserts and wet bag all into the washing machine at the same time.

    Sorry. It had to be said. For people like me. 🙂

  2. Jenny Bradford says:

    Actually, I do -I throw the whole wet bag full of diapers into the washing machine. I turn the bag inside out when I throw it in, but I never touch my dirty diapers. I do not remove the inserts. They always come out in the wash by themselves, unless I have double- or triple-stuffed the pockets. When I double- or triple-stuff the pockets, I dump the insert into the wet bag when I take it off the baby but I still don’t ever touch them.

    I completely gave up on the laundry tabs so I don’t bother with that most of the time, all mine are worn out so they don’t work anyway, even after I replaced them. When they did work, I attached them after I removed the diaper from the baby but before throwing them in the pail. I don’t really mind the infamous “diaper chain” even though they don’t work anymore, since it’s never seemed to affect the cleanliness of the diapers that I can tell.

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