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My Laundry Routine for Washing Cloth Diapers

One thing we cloth mamas like to talk about is our stash. We are protective of our stashes, taking care to keep them in beautiful condition. It’s not unusual to discuss laundry routines. We like to compare what we’re doing and seek advice and suggestions when we run into stink or stain issues and just over all advice on washing cloth diapers.

I read about others’ wash routines as I experimented with my own. I tweaked ours until I found what seems to work. I’ve been using the same routine now for a couple months.

I’m sharing it with you in case you still haven’t found the right routine for you. However, please keep in mind that there are lots of variables that contribute to any laundry issues. I also admit that my routine doesn’t necessarily match the recommended laundering instructions of the manufacturers of our diapers. Have you noticed that they don’t all agree on the best care either?

Some say a cold rinse, some say a cold wash, some say a warm wash and still others say a hot wash!

So, keeping all that in mind…here we go!

Washer: GE, top loader
Dryer: GE, gas
Water: Hard (have softener system)
Detergent: Rockin Green

I do a warm soak with a cold pre-rinse to start. We have an option for a 30 minute auto soak, which will then do a power rinse.

I add 2 scoops of RnG (3 if its a very large load or very poopy load). The wash cycle is HOT on heavy cottons setting. It rinses on cold.

Then I do a cold power rinse.

Before hanging shells on the line and putting the rest into the dryer, I give ’em the sniff test. They say if they stink out of the washer, you need to tweak amount of detergent. After washing cloth diapers, they should smell like nothing. Well, that’s what I hear. Mine smell like wet towels to me. Not stinky, just wet. I figure they are clean if I need to really bury my nose into my inserts and not smelling much of anything.

All the inserts and prefolds go into the dryer. All my shells go on the line except for my AIOs and my Happy Heiney organic hemp pocket. I put them into the dryer because they take took long and get crunchy otherwise.

We have very few light stains. Throughout the winter I sunned stained diapers in the front window. I’m not sure if I’ll get a line for outside yet or not…

What’s your laundry routine for your fluff? 

Laura O in AK

Monday 27th of June 2011

I miss my top loading washing machine as the pre-soak followed by rinse has just become a pre-rinse, then wash with a second rinse. I almost wish we'd spent more for the one with steam option.

Jamie McMillan

Friday 17th of June 2011

I haven't found a routine yet for my diapers. We just started cloth diapering about 2 weeks ago. Our stash consits of 5 Kawaii shells and 1 grovia shell, 5 soakers and a bunch of recieving blankets :) I still need to find a good detergent...I have to find something locally, but I'm hoping I can get some Rockin' Green. PS. baby swings make great shell hanging spots :)


Thursday 16th of June 2011

As a first time mom this year who plans to cloth diaper, I find this very helpful!


Monday 13th of June 2011

gah. i change our routine alllllllllll the time. but currently i am handwashing everything every morning. fill sink with HOT water. toss dipes in and get ickies out. drain. fill sink with HOT water and put 1 tbs of RnG in there. squish dipes around. set timer for 50 mins. every so often squish dipes around. drain when timer goes off. rinse with warm / hot water. hang to dry outside <3 i love it. i feel like our diapers get much cleaner this way! they seem whiter and the morning dipes have ZERO smell with MF inserts. whoa!


Monday 13th of June 2011

I have an older top loader with very simple dials and hard water. I start everything in a cold wash on the gentle cycle with the water level on high. Then I add 2 Tbsp. of Rockin Green and run a full regular load with hot water. then I rerun a full load with warm water to rinse out the diapers. Then I throw all the inserts, prefolds, and fitted into the dryer. I hang all the shells and covers on my drying rack. Its always by a huge window in my kitchen and is moved outside when its not raining. I do usually hang the prefolds and fitteds after the dryer since they are not quite dry. So far no stians and no stinks. I do a overnight soak once a month using Rockin Green to help since I have hard water.