Washing Instructions for Cloth Diapers

Washing your cloth diapers can be very intimidating at first. Bust remember that their are a tons of different routines and not one is better than the other, as long as your diapers are coming out clean and smelling fresh. 

A few things to remember before washing:

  • Always discard feces before washing as they do not break down in water (unless your baby is breastfed and even then, I like to get rid of as much of the feces as possible.) You can do this by shaking and dumping it in the toilet. You can use a piece of toilet paper as well to take it off if you're having a hard time. You can use a diaper sprayer to spray the feces off into the toilet. Some like to dunk the entire diaper into the toilet water and swoosh it around until the feces fall off. Whatever you feel more comfortable doing, do that! 
  • Store your soiled diapers in a wet bag or pail and keep the bag open for air flow. This will help with bacteria and smell. 
  • Try to wash every 2-4 days to keep the smell at a minimal and this way you'll be less likely to run into other issues.
  • If you stuff your pocket diapers, before you wash anything, you'll need to pull all inserts out to ensure the best wash. 
  • Detergents can make a huge difference in the final cleanliness of the diapers. Here is a list of detergents and whether they're best for cloth diapering or not. Detergent Index | Fluff Love University
  • If you start to smell a barn smell or ammonia smell, something isn't right. Your diapers should always smell like regular clean clothes. 


 Different machines have different washing recommendations. If you'd like to see what recommendations are for your machine, check out this link:

How to Wash Cloth Diapers | Fluff Love University

Here is a general guideline for washing cloth diapers:

  1. Pre-wash: This will only have diapers. Start by rinsing soiled diapers in cold water to remove any solid waste. Then, run a pre-wash cycle with a little detergent to remove any remaining residue. A rinse and spin or quick wash isn't enough. Make sure it's a minimum of 30 minutes cycle.

  2. Main wash: Fluff up the diapers (peel them off the side of the drum). You can add other laundry at this point. But don't overload your machine. You want good agitation for the diapers to move around. Don't add too big of items like sheets as they can wrap around the diapers and not allow them to wash properly. Wash diapers in hot water with a cloth diaper-safe detergent. (Most recommend Powder Tide as a general detergent) Use the recommended amount of detergent based on the size of your load and water hardness. (If you have hard water, add your water softener as well)

  3. Rinse (Optional): Do NOT rinse if you have HARD WATER. You'll simply be reintroducing hard minerals that you just worked at removing. 

  4. Drying: Hang or lay flat to dry or use a dryer on low heat. Avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets as they can reduce absorbency. When hanging avoid putting tension on the elastics 

  5. Stain Removal: For tough stains, try sunning or using a cloth diaper-safe stain remover before washing.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer's care instructions and to avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage your cloth diapers.

We hope this washing instruction card helps you care for your cloth diapers and extends their lifespan!


Troubleshooting smell issues:

If your cloth diapers have a barn smell or ammonia smell, it could be an indication that they are not being properly cleaned or rinsed. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue:

  1. Increase the amount of detergent: If your diapers are not getting clean enough, try increasing the amount of detergent you use in the wash cycle. Make sure you're using a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers and that you're following the manufacturer's recommended amount for your machine.

  2. Add an extra rinse cycle: If you're not already doing so, try adding an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent has been removed from the diapers. This can be needed if you have a older model washing machine.  This can help eliminate any odor-causing bacteria.

  3. Check your water hardness: Hard water can cause buildup on cloth diapers and lead to odor. Test your water hardness and adjust your detergent and rinse cycles accordingly. You may need to use a water softener or add a vinegar rinse to your wash cycle. You can add a water softener like Calgon or Borax. But do not add it to the "softener" compartment as its for fabric softener and will not work properly to soften your water. Here is more information: Washing in Hard Water | Fluff Love University

  4. Strip your diapers: If the above steps don't work, it may be time to strip your diapers. This involves using a special detergent or solution to remove any buildup or residue on the fabric. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and avoid using fabric softeners or bleach. 

  5. Dry in the sun: After washing, hang your diapers to dry in the sun. Sunlight can naturally bleach and freshen cloth diapers, helping to eliminate any lingering odors.

By taking these steps to troubleshoot a barn smell in your cloth diapers, you can ensure that your baby's diapers are clean and fresh-smelling. If the problem persists, it may be worth consulting with a cloth diaper expert. There are many resources online that could further help with issues.


How to strip your diapers:

Over time, cloth diapers can accumulate buildup or residue that can affect their absorbency and cause odor. Stripping your cloth diapers can help remove this buildup and restore their effectiveness. Here's how to strip cloth diapers:

  1. Gather your supplies: You'll need a large washing machine, hot water, a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers, and a stripping agent. Some popular stripping agents include RLR Laundry Treatment, GroVia Mighty Bubbles, or a mixture of bleach and hot water (check your diaper manufacturer's recommendations before using bleach).

  2. Pre-wash: Give your diapers a quick pre-wash with cold water to remove any solids or excess urine.

  3. Preparing to soak: In a tub or large bucket add your cloth diapers and hot water. You need enough water to cover all the diapers and give you some room to be able to move the diapers and water around. 

  4. Add the stripping agent: Add the recommended amount of stripping agent to the hot water. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, as each product may have different recommendations.

  5. Soak the diapers: Soak your cloth diapers in the stripping solution for several hours or overnight. Make sure the diapers are fully submerged in the solution and agitate them occasionally to ensure the solution is evenly distributed.

  6. Rinse: After soaking, run a full wash cycle with hot water and no detergent. This will rinse away any remaining stripping agent and residue.

  7. Rinse again: Run an additional rinse cycle with cold water to ensure all stripping agent and residue has been removed.

  8. Dry: Hang your diapers to dry in the sun or place them in the dryer on a low or medium heat setting.

By stripping your cloth diapers periodically, you can help maintain their effectiveness and keep them fresh and clean for your baby to use. It's important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and avoid using fabric softeners or bleach on your cloth diapers, as these can damage the fabric and reduce absorbency.

You can watch the following YouTube vidoes to see exactly how it's done: