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How to Wash Cloth Diapers

April 03, 2016

Simple Laundering Instructions


Wool items must be washed differently. See Caring for Wool and Lanolizing.

Washing Instructions

  1. Place diapers and diaper pail liner in washing machine
  2. Run one (1) HOT rinse cycle with no detergent. *add Calgon or Borax if you have hard water
  3. Run one (1) HOT wash cycle (Heavy load) with 1 scoop of a recommended detergent
  4. Dry (either in dryer or on clothesline)

Special Note on Load Size and Detergent Amounts:
For top loading washers, the amount of water you use and the amount of detergent you use can be critical in whether or not your diapers get clean. Add too much water and your diapers can't brush up against each other to get clean. Add too little water and your diapers can't move around enough to get clean. We recommend that your wash load looks like stew and not soup or chunky chili.

Hard Water

If you live in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona or southern California, you likely live in a hard water area. This will make it tougher for your detergent to be effective. To get around this, use a powder detergent and add a capful of Calgon or Borax to both your prewash and wash cycles. Do NOT run extra rinses.

Poopie diapers

Dirty diapers from exclusively breastfed babies can be thrown into the wash without removing poop. For formula fed babies and babies eating solids, you will need to remove the poop first by rinsing it off. You can do this using a diaper sprayer, scraping off the poop into the toilet using a spatula or something similar, or dunking the poopie diaper in the toilet and swishing it around to loosen and release the poop from the diaper.


Cotton and microfiber diapers can be used after one full wash. However, hemp and bamboo diapers have natural oils that can repel moisture. For this reason, you'll need to wash them 6 - 8 times using hot water before your first use. Washing them multiple times is known as “prepping” them. While you can use them safely prior to prepping them, just know that they won’t be as absorbent until they’ve been fully “prepped”. *Note: hemp and bamboo diapers can be washed along with other diapers in your stash.

Caring for Wool

Wool items should not be tossed in the washer - this will ruin them. Instead they must be hand washed. See Caring for Wool and Lanolizing. for instructions on how to clean your wool covers and longies.

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