I can’t believe I haven’t posted on this yet. I have posted on detergents, diaper stripping, additives, but I have never given concrete instructions on washing cloth diapers. Why not? Because it is so varied depending on your water type. But I feel like I need to lay down a few basics on washing diapers and present a simple washing routine that I use, and you can modify it from there (and I give you tips on how to do that). The neat thing is it is ONLY FOUR STEPS. This is pretty common advice that you can find on most cloth diaper forums, and even retailers like Kelly’s Closet/Diapershops.com. But I want to make it clear that once you start with that, you can feel free to use the resources there to tweak the routine.
NOTE: for HOT water, make sure it is no more than 150 degrees. To test, just set your sink to its hottest setting and put a meat thermometer under it. Do not use the Sanitize cycle on your machine.
Step 1: Start with a cold rinse
Step 2: Put in the recommended amount of detergent based on the brand you have. Don’t know what detergent to use? You can use this handy chart where I rate detergents based on how they did in different water types and machine types, based on over 2,000 survey responses.
Step 3: Do a Heavy Wash on HOT (this may void several warranties for diapers, so check the warranty if you care about it. I just have found this to be the most effective method for washing diapers). (Read your manual to see what program puts the most water through your machine)
Step 4: Follow it up with a cold rinse. If you have a Whites cycle, then likely this extra rinse is built into that program to clear out the bleach
Try this routine first. I generally recommend Tide Ultra Powder, but I know that is also taboo in the cloth diaper world because many feel it may cause damage, even though the survey results from here prove otherwise.
If you still have issues, try going to this page to troubleshoot. I’d also be happy to help you.
My personal belief is that CLOTH DIAPER WASHING SHOULD NOT BE COMPLICATED. I don’t care where you are, but if you are having to go to your machine more than 5 times, you may want to re-consider your routine–then that will give you a little extra time for playing with your kids, smooching your significant other, reading a book, or…let’s get real, stalking PINTEREST.
Please do not hold me responsible for any diaper damage that you may experience. Do all routines with caution, understanding that damage may occur. Make sure you check product warranties to avoid voiding them