You may have seen my video on Instagram from last week where I shared my “washing routine” for Aria’s diapers. I thought writing up a blog post on the same topic would be helpful for those of us who’d prefer to see it all spelled out rather than sit through the video.
To catch my first FAQ post on cloth diapering click here.
Before I started cloth diapering Aria, my biggest hesitation (and still the most frequently asked question I get) was about washing dirty diapers and then reusing them….I’m used to the convenience of disposables and switching to cloth mostly required a mindset shift. I wasn’t sure how clean the diapers would actually be, but I figured I’d give it a shot since it obviously worked for every single mom in history until the advent of the disposable alternative.
So I jumped in. And guess what? it’s SO MUCH LESS DISGUSTING THAN I EXPECTED. Sure, diapering isn’t really a blast no matter what method you use and I’ll report back to you once we introduce solids in a few months. But for now, washing the diapers has been a breeze.
Here’s the routine I’ve found that works for me:
Step 1: Determine how frequently you’ll need to wash
Since we don’t have a washer/dryer in our RV, I have to plan my laundry days more than most. But even with a washer/dryer in your home, you won’t want to be washing diapers every day. I’ve found the sweet spot is about every 3 days (this means you’ll need about 25-30 diapers to go this long between washes). I usually wash once on the weekend and once in the middle of the week…if it’s a major diaper week sometimes I’ll add in a third day or wash some of the diapers to give me some more time.
Step 2: Decide where/how you’ll store the dirties
Again, since our space is limited, I store all of the dirty diapers in Glow Bug Cloth Diapers’ wet bags. They’re made of the same material as the diaper covers, so they’re water (or rather, pee) proof, and don’t let out the smell of the diapers much. I have 5-6 wet bags total and keep one in the car, one in my bag, and the rest in our room to stick dirties at home.
For people with more space, a diaper pail or something along those lines will work just as well.
Step 3: Separate the diapers
When it’s time to wash, I always separate the insert from the cover. This is an extra step and you don’t necessarily need to do it (you can totally just dump them in and wash) but I’ve found that it gets them even more clean when I separate them.
Step 4: Pre-Rinse
If you have time, a HOT pre-rinse without any detergent works wonders for getting the smell out and getting your diapers extra clean.
Step 5: Wash
I wash everything on hot/heavy duty/extra rinse. If you have an HE washer, it should conserve water and wash in a timely manner. When it comes to water useage, I can promise you that cloth diapers use WAY less water than disposables do in production.
Step 6: Dry
Although most diapers are dryer-friendly, I try to air dry them as much as possible. Sunlight works WONDERS for baby poop stains, so if there is a stain on an insert, letting it dry in the sun usually does the trick.
If I need diapers ASAP, I’ll toss them in the dryer on light heat and they’ll be dry super quickly.
That’s it! Like I said before, it has been so much easier than expected and to any new-to-cloth-mama’s, I’ll tell you what everyone else told me before I started: It just takes a few weeks of trial and error to find out what works for you. Once you do though, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Any questions? I’d love to help out if I can!
*This post is part of a long term collaboration with Glow Bug Cloth Diapers. As always, all opinions/photos/thoughts on dirty laundry are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who make the world a little more green.*