Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How do you wash your cloth?

Image from Apartment Therapy
Image from: Apartment Therapy
Everyone seems to have a different system when washing cloth diapers. Believe it or not, the way you wash your diapers really depends on the type of clothes washing machine you own. There is such a variety of powerful washing machines on the market, it's hard to decide exactly what you need. If you purchase your machine with the intention of washing cloth diapers, then you'll have an idea of what you need

However, you do not HAVE to have any one specific type of washing machine- you really can make it work in any machine. 

I own a front loading high-efficiency washing machine. It was my first big purchase when we moved into our first home together. I felt SO grown up. Not only that, I felt like I was doing good for the Mother Earth by selecting a machine that wastes less water and wastes less electricity through spinning the laundry more to remove more water, thus resulting in shorter dry times. I purchased it, with the expectation of having a family in the future and having all those large things a home needs to wash. What I didn't think about washing? Diapers.

Most cloth diaper fanatics will tell you that my machine is probably one of the worst for washing cloth diapers. There are three problems with this: first, cloth diapers need that "swish" in the water to get them good and clean; second, you might have a bit of leftover residue from the detergent you use if you're not using a good low-residue brand, and; third, it's hard to give them a good soak when you need a strip. The reason you have these problems is because most front-loading washers use much less water than a top-loading washing machine and you can't just fill up the washer to the top with water and open the lid for a soak. Newer front loading machines have an "extra water" option, but mine is about 7 years old and doesn't have that lovely feature.

But, that's okay.

What I do with my diapers is this: Get rid of the solids in the toilet (or if you have a EBF baby- you can skip this step!), rinse, wash, dry (hang or machine, doesn't even matter). Yes, it really is that simple.

My rinse/wash routine: I run them on a COLD rinse cycle, with an extra rinse added. This means double rinse time for any left over solid stains and rinses the urine clean from the cloth. I've been told you don't want to use a HOT cycle because it'll set in poop stains. However, if your baby has a case of thrush diaper rash, you need to use a super hot wash to kill the yeast *unless you boil your diapers on the stove, but that's another post entirely*. 

Following my rinse cycle, I add in a scoop of my Rockin' Green Laundry Soap. Then I select the longest cycle that my washing machine allows with the following settings:
  • Hot Wash/ Cold Rinse
  • Cotton/Towels
  • Pre-Wash
  • Extra Rinse
  • Soil Level: High/Heavy
This has my machine run approximately 1:47 minutes. It's a super long wash, but it only takes about 25-30 minutes to wash my diaper inserts with wool dryer balls. Side Note: Never, ever, add fabric softener because it causes the diapers to be less absorbent to urine, using dryer balls helps keep the cloth from getting crunchy and helps them dry quicker.

If you've got some stains on your diapers, just put the diapers out on the clothesline to dry, and after a few hours, the sun will most definitely "bleach" the stains out. Trust me guys, this REALLY works. I've used this technique on my sofa cushions when my cat decided it was important to pee all over the middle in the crack mark the new sofa. You'd never even know. Really.

My stripping technique? I have three. I'll save those for another post though.


Okay Mamas: Leave a comment below!
What's your cloth diapering washing routine?

 xoxo~ Michelle  

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tesco and monetary compensation was received for this post. The sponsor in no way affected any content presented in this post, all opinions and statements above are my own. As always, the Nurse Mommy blog will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend products or services that we feel are of benefit to our readers. Links enclosed may contain affiliate links. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle from The Nurse Mommy at babagrlshell {at} gmail {dot} com



  1. Great idea for washing cloth diapers! I will share this with my CD friends! :)

  2. Great post! Thank you for the information!!!!

  3. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. I think if we have another baby I'd like to try cloth diapering.

  5. I dont have kids so no need for cloth diapers but I will refer to this for future reference. I also emailed it to my sister in case she wants to use cloth diapers. They use a laundromat tho so idk if she's up for doing this but I like your article!

  6. Those were things I hadn't thought about with those HE washers. Thanks!

  7. We're past the stage of this, but my daughter in law is expecting and I'm forwarding her the link.

  8. I do pretty much the same thing. I have a top loading HE washer. I run a rinse cycle with no spin, and then a heavy duty cycle with extra rinse, and another rinse. I wrote about it here,
    I bought mine knowing that I was going to be washing diapers in it. I got a great deal on it and I figured that if other people were doing it, I could too. :-) Mine doesn't have an extra water feature either.

  9. We just got a new washing machine - a top loader high efficiency, and we've only had it a couple of weeks. So, I'm still playing with the settings to find the "right" one for our diapers. Mostly, though, our cloth washing routine sounds a lot like yours!

  10. Great post, full of great information. Thanks for sharing with us..

  11. Great info. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. We just got an HE washer/dryer set, and with a new baby on the way & my 2yo still resisting potty-training, I've been dreading the issues I anticipate with the diapers. (I haven't really had any issues, pre-HE; I've stripped my diapers twice in two years.) But my HE routine is similar to the one you describe, so maybe it'll be okay after all.

  13. I havent started cloth diapering yet! But these are great tips for when I do... It seems a little overwhelming, but I know once I get it down it will be a snap!

  14. What about for someone who doesn't live in a house, but an apartment and is not allowed to have washers/dryers in the apt? We have to use a communal washer downstairs where detergents are constantly used. What are some alternatives for urban mommies who live in this kind of situation but want to cloth diaper? Thanks!