How to Wash Cloth Diapers || with GlowBug Diapers

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.

Using cloth diapers can seem intimidating at first, but once you jump in, you'll find that it's so much simpler than you expected. Washing is the trickiest part: here's a simple routine to follow.

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.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

See? look how happy I am about laundry day.

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.*

#InspiringZeroWaste || An Intro to Cloth Diapers

Oof. After an unintended (really long) break from my own Zero Waste challenge, I’m back! If you’re not sure what #InspiringZeroWaste is, be sure to catch up on the explanatory post here, or you can read my other ZW goals for 2019 here. Have you kept going with the challenge? I’d love love love to hear about it!


At first glance, using cloth diapers is complicated and far less convenient than disposables. But what if I told you they were way less intimidating than you think? This overview of cloth diapering will give you all of the info you need to ditch disposables for good.
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When I found out I was pregnant with Aria, I knew, deep down, that I’d be giving cloth diapers a try. With my other girls, I had no idea that anyone even used cloth diapers anymore (other than the most woo-woo hippy-dippy of mamas). But now that I “know better”, I couldn’t let myself not give it a shot.

Anyone who has looked into cloth diapers before knows how overwhelming it can feel at first. Once you go down the cloth diapering rabbit hole on the internet, it’s hard to recover (or even comprehend most of what’s being said). There are an array of opinions, diaper styles, insert materials, liners, wet bags, nighttime routines, washing methods, and weird terminologies to make you go nuts.

But the biggest piece of advice I got from other mamas was just to "jump in and figure it out along the way”. And so I did.

This post, the first of many in partnership with Glowbug Cloth Diapers, is an introduction to cloth, if you will. I hope to answer most of your questions (from my friends over on Instagram) and share a little bit about how the first few months of using them has gone so far. Keep in mind that I’m no expert…I may use the wrong terminology (sorry, Reddit), and I’ll be the first to admit that like all parts of sustainability, it’s not black and white.

When to start…

This is different for every parent and every baby. Aria was fairly small when she was born (7 lbs 14 oz) and there was no way that the One Size snap diapers I had were going to fit her. Although newborn size diapers exist, buying some that I’d only use for a few weeks or months seemed silly. So we used disposables for the first two months until she grew enough to fit into the one-sizes.

The newborn phase is HARD no matter how many times you do it, and so this time around, I intentionally built in extra grace for myself, and disposable diapers was one of those things. Of course, lots of people use cloth from the get-go and that’s amazing too.

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How many diapers do you need…

I don’t need to preface each question with “it looks different for everyone”, but truly, that’s the best answer to most situations. How many diapers you buy will depend on your situation, how much storage space you have, how often you can do laundry, etc. For me, I knew I’d need a few extra diapers because we don’t have a washing machine in our RV (this will of course change when we move out…but for now that’s our reality), so I haul our diapers up to my parents’ house nearby and wash diapers about twice a week. We need enough to last 3-ish days, so my grand total is close to 25+ diapers. If you can do laundry once a day or every other day, you can get away with less than that.

What’s my washing routine…

I plan to do a full blog post on this soon, but I’ll go over the details because this was the most common question by far. As I mentioned, I wash diapers 2-3 times a week (I don’t have specific days, but usually at the beginning of the week and again at the end of the week. Once on the weekend if I need to.) This wouldn’t be sustainable if my parents didn’t live nearby, so it’s due to the easy access to their laundry room that I’m even able to use cloth currently.

When I wash, I typically run them through a rinse cycle first using cold water and a bit of vinegar to get rid of the smell. From there, I wash again on hot/heavy duty/extra rinse using a mild detergent and a bit of Borax to clean deeper. I air dry in the sun when I can but on cloudy/cold day I just hang them inside.

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What about stains? Do they actually get clean?

When you think about how dirty kids get and how frequently blow-outs happen in the baby phase, cloth diapering doesn’t really seem all that strange. Clothes wash out normally, so why wouldn’t diapers?

As long as you’re washing adequately, the diapers will be good as new each time you wash them. For baby poop stains, you can use a regular stain remover, but believe it or not, sunlight works wonders on stains. If all else fails, rub a bit of blue Dawn dish soap into the stain and then wash and let dry in the sun.

Do they work as your baby grows?

Yes! One of my favorite things about Glowbug’s diapers is that they “grow” with your baby. They’re easy to adjust and are supposed to last from newborn to toddler-hood. So far, they fit Aria perfectly at three months. This size guide from Glowbug was helpful for me when I started using them.

Basic terminology?

There is A LOT of information out there and it can get super overwhelming, especially to a new mom who has no experience with cloth. This blog post from Glowbug is super helpful for breaking down each type of cloth diaper and the pros and cons.

How to prevent leaks at night

Double up on your inserts! For my pocket-style diaper, I use two inserts one bamboo and one hemp (with the hemp on top) for nighttime, as per Glowbug’s recommendation. I also use bamboo liners to help keep her dry (and make poop clean up easier). These are the ones I’ve used so far.

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I can’t afford to buy as many cloth diapers as I need

Although using cloth diapers ends up being far more cost effective (it’s a one-time purchase that will be used for 2-ish years, as opposed to a weekly/bi-weekly purchase that only lasts a week or so) it can be a sizable cost upfront. If you can’t afford to buy brand new cloth diapers, there are TONS of resale groups on Facebook and other resell sites. If the diapers are in good shape you won’t even be able to tell they’ve been used before. Affordable AND sustainable.


If you’re a first time mama, take all of this with a grain of salt. Adjusting to motherhood for the first time is H.A.R.D whether you have an easy baby or a tricky one. Don’t feel pressure to do cloth diapers perfectly (we still use disposables at night sometimes!) and know that it will get easier with time. Make changes that you can make when you’re ready to make them and know that your mental health and your baby’s health always come first.

What questions did I miss? Let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them next month!



*This post is part of a longterm collaboration with Glowbug Cloth Diapers. All photos/storytelling/creative direction is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible*