Are you a new parent and want to start using cloth diapers for your newborn? Are you worried about all that’s involved in washing cloth diapers and having them ready for your little one? You are one of many parents who have made the move to using cloth diapers for their children. While parenthood may seem daunting at first, you can tap into so much love and support and even internet guides to help you navigate it.
The argument between disposable or cloth diapers is never ending. But cloth diapers can change your routine and can save you a lot of money in the long run, in addition to the environmental impact.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when using cloth diapers is developing a wash routine and sticking to it. A consistent cloth diaper washing routine ensures your diapers stay clean and leaves you feeling more organized, and as a result less stressed.
So, what exactly is required to maintain a cloth diapering routine and how often should you wash cloth diapers? We are here to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate cleaning reusable diapers into your routine on how to wash cloth diapers.
When to start a new cloth diaper wash routine
If you want to get into reusable diapers, it is essential that you get a cloth diaper wash routine in place straight away. Especially one that is quick and easy to follow.
If you let soiled cloth diapers wait too long to be washed, bacteria can become entrenched in the fabric and be more difficult to remove. Furthermore, the build-up of bacteria can cause stains and yucky odors, which no one wants.
So, before those diapers start to really smell, wash them.
If you are hand washing remember to do a pre-rinse with cold water, using a small amount of detergent, followed by a heavy-duty wash with hot water, using the recommended amount of detergent.
Preparing New Cloth Diapers for the Laundry
If you are using new cloth diapers for the first time, it is essential to wash them before using them. When you wash the diapers beforehand, it helps them to open up and become more absorbent.
Most cloth diapers, especially those made of natural fibers, are not completely absorbent right out of the package, due to oils trapped inside the fibers. These oils can also stick to other diapers, making them all slightly water resistant—which is obviously problematic.
Despite the absence of natural oils, synthetic fiber diapers should also be prepped before being placed on your baby's bottom.
Deciding on whether natural or synthetic fibers are correct for you and your baby can also influence your cloth diaper washing routine and cleaning cloth diapers.
Different Types of Cloth Diapers May Require a Different Wash Routine
Here are a few popular cloth diapers to consider and how to clean reusable diapers:
Flats are still one of the most common type of cloth diaper, and your parents and grandparents are likely to have used them. They're composed of absorbent fabric, often white cotton, that can be folded to fit any size. They dry quickly and are cheap, although they do require folding and pinning.
Fitted cloth diapers feature a contour form similar to disposable diapers, with elastic or gathered edges at the legs and back to trap messes. Both flat and fitted diapers require the addition of a diaper cover to be waterproof.
The creation of pocket diapers is something to be excited about! These diapers have a waterproof outer layer and a wicking inner layer that keeps the baby dry. The also have an inner pocket to hold absorbent inserts that keep your baby dry. And, as a bonus, if you run out of inserts, you can use pre-folds or flats in the pocket in an emergency.
All-in-one diapers are just like disposable diapers, except you can wash them. There is an inner layer connected to the waterproof outer layer. They are the preferred diaper for ease due to their simplicity and the fact that everything needed for diapering, from an absorbancy layer all the way to fasteners are all part of one single unit.
Storing Clean Cloth Diapers
Thankfully, diapers can be stored almost anywhere. As long as they are clean and dry, they won’t grow any mildew or anything and will be ready for use when needed. Remember to fully dry out the diapers before you store them.
You can find lots of creative storage options for cloth diapers, some parents even use hanging shoe organizers to store their diapers, but many parents just like to line them up on a shelf near the changing table to keep them ready to go. Find a storage method that works for you and your cloth diaper washing routine, so you don’t have to stress about running out of clean diapers for your baby.
In addition to keeping your baby’s cloth diapers within easy reach at home, always keep a few clean ones in your diaper bag for when you are on the go. Try getting into a routine of putting some fresh ones in the diaper bag right after you wash and dry them.
Dealing With Liquid Waste And How To Prep/Store Dirty Diapers
One of the most common questions new cloth diapering parents ask is how to deal with liquid waste. You have options to choose from based on your personal preference on cloth diaper cleaning.
Using a wet bag is great for when you’re on the go. It is a water resistant bag, which will keep the diaper in a secure place until it is time to wash. This is a great option to have if you are out of the house.
A diaper pail is the perfect solution for the home. This container holds the dirty diapers until it's time to wash them and it’s great for saving space. There are lots of options out there when choosing the best diaper pail for you and your newborn. Make sure to have pail liners so it's easy to transport to the washer when you do your cloth diaper laundry.
The third option is to place the dirty diaper in your washing machine and then wash it as usual. This is the easiest method. If the diaper only has liquid waste then there isn’t any precleaning to consider and they can be placed straight into the wash.
It is important to note that you can end up struggling with ammonia from cloth diapers, if they’re regularly left too long.
Dealing With Solid Waste And How To Prep/Store Dirty Diapers
Solid waste, like liquid waste, can be dealt with in a variety of ways in your cloth diaper laundry routine.
- Use a diaper sprayer and spray the waste into the toilet. It is very easy to use – just place the diaper above the toilet, spray the excess waste into the bowl, and flush.
- Use a diaper liner. These are disposable, paper-like materials that can catch the solid waste. Note that they are just for one-time use, so they can be flushed or discarded after use.
- You can also just dump the solid waste into the toilet. As long as it’s not too messy, this is also an option a lot of parents take.
How Often To Wash Cloth Diapers
When it comes to using cloth diapers, wash frequency definitely matters. How often to wash cloth diapers is closely related to how many diapers your child needs in a day. You'll be able to estimate how often you'll need to change your child's diapers if they have a pretty regular bathroom schedule. Of course, factor in a little buffer for the extra diaper or two. Try to have some cloth wipes handy too.
As an example, let’s say your baby needs 10 diapers a day and you have 20 cloth diapers. What this means is that you will need to wash your diapers every other day to guarantee that you have enough for your baby. Of course, in this example, if you have 30 diapers, you only need to wash every 3 days. Keep in mind, of course, that you’ll need a couple of diapers to use while you’re running the wash!
Of course, if you have diaper covers or all-in-two diapers, then you are the lone exception to the rule. The inner layer will receive the bulk of the mess, so it has to be washed every time. The outer layer, however, can be used for two or three diaper changes as long as the cover is still clean. After that, it is advisable to also wash the outer layer.
Washing cloth diapers is pretty easy—check out our guide on washing cloth diapers. The important part is that you develop a regular routine and stick with it.
How To Stick To A Regular Cloth Diapering Laundry Routine
Try to make a habit of washing your cloth diapers at a certain time or on specific days. Even scheduling it on your calendar with a notification on your phone would be a helpful reminder to be sure you don't forget.
One way to establish this is to have enough diapers so that you can wash diapers on the same days each week. For example, if you have enough diapers for 3 days, you can wash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. We generally don’t recommend letting dirty cloth diapers sit for more than 3 days.
Then add in other patterns that help keep you organized. Every time you change a diaper, it goes into the pail, even if the diaper pail is upstairs and you changed a diaper in the living room. Every time you come home, you empty the wet bag into the diaper pail. Every time you wash diapers, you add 3 diapers to the diaper bag. There are a lot of simple organization techniques like this, but what’s important is figuring out what works for you.
Establishing these cloth diaper wash routines will help keep your system flowing and ensure that you always have diapers ready to go.
Keeping Things On Easy Street with Your Cloth Diapering Routine
When it comes to using cloth diapers for your little one, it’s imperative to wash them regularly. Maintaining a clean and germ-free environment is essential to keeping your baby healthy and happy.
Cloth diaper laundry doesn't have to be hard. By following the tips we've provided and perhaps tweaking them to fit your lifestyle, you can make cloth diapering work for your family.
And don't forget that if you ever need help along the way, our team is always happy to answer any of your questions.