Cloth Diapering Cloth Diapers Mailbox Mondays Washing

Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 5/16/11 – Washing Diapers with Other Laundry

Sometimes even experienced cloth diaperers have cloth diaper questions. Mailbox Mondays are where I take user-submitted questions, answer them, and ask my readers to weigh in too!

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or Fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Hannah says:

Hi Maria,

I have a question that maybe you could weigh in on, or your readers!

My 22 month old son has been doing great on the potty, woo-hoo! My diaper pail is getting 3-8 wet/dirty diapers or training pants every 3 days. I don’t like letting things sit longer than that, and it doesn’t seem worth doing a load of laundry for just that many. Is it OK to put them through a rinse cycle or two and then wash them with other items like his clothing, or towels or sheets? Is there anything I shouldn’t wash them with? Any other options people have done, like hand washing?

Thank you!

Hannah VW

Yay for the potty! You’re definitely right to not want to let the diapers/trainers sit for more than 3 or so days and yes, you can totally wash diapers with other stuff!

I still wash lots of diapers, so I don’t really wash diapers with other laundry, but I do wash other laundry with diapers. I try to maximize my load size, so if I have a few washcloths, cloth napkins, towels etc., I will throw them in with a load of diapers.

What wouldn’t I wash them with? Well, I personally wouldn’t wash diapers with anything really heavily soiled (partially because those items might need more detergent than you’d want on your diapers), anything greasy/oily (like rags from the garage) or anything very dark colored that may bleed onto the diapers. I also never have luck adding items to loads of sheets; the stuff always gets balled up/tangled in the fitted sheet, but maybe that’s just me!

So how about the rest of you? Do you wash diapers with other things? Anything you won’t wash them with? I know we have some hand-washers/former hand-washers here. Has anyone hand washed because you had just a few diapers?



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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
11 Comments
  • April 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm
    Reply

    When LO was first born, I was told I HAD to wash diapers seperately. That lasted about two weeks 😉 It’s just me, my husband and baby, so I wash a load every 2 days with all our clothes and diapers. I use mostly flate (well, old recieving blankets) so for pee diapers I drape them over the edge of the basket, and my girl saves it up and only goes poop every other day, so that really isn’t an issue for us!

    I throw all the diapers and anything really soiled in for a rince cycle, then add the other laundry and wash with a homemade laundry soap. It works fine for us, but like I said, we mostly use flats which are easier to get clean.

    • May 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm
      Reply

      Thank you for your insight!!

  • Adrienne
    October 17, 2011 at 1:36 am
    Reply

    Hi, I’m looking to convert to cloth and found your postings about washing. Is the extra rinsing (if I wash with other laundry) for the benefit of the hygiene of the other laundry or for the benefit of the absorbancy/maintenance of the cloth nappies. I’m looking at using AIOs with the PUL….
    Thanks for any comments

    • October 17, 2011 at 9:29 am
      Reply

      Hi Adrienne!
      Extra rinsing is for the benefit of the diapers. Detergent can potentially build up in your diapers and cause stinkies or repelling (when the diapers don’t absorb well) or it could possibly irritate your baby’s skin. So I always recommend adding an extra rinse, whether or not you’re washing the diapers with other laundry!

    • October 17, 2011 at 9:29 am
      Reply

      Oh and if you mean the pre-rinse, it’s again really for the benefit of the diapers, to remove some of the heavier soil before washing!

  • Hannah
    May 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the input! I’ve been washing them with clothing and towels (after giving the diapers a rinse first) so far and it’s worked well. Also I have been throwing in the newborn prefolds I just got, to prep them.

  • Beth
    May 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm
    Reply

    I’ve always washed my diapers and other laundry together. We didn’t want to waste the energy of the washing machine without maximizing my work. I do a rinse with just the diapers, then I throw in the other laundry, then while I’m throwing the laundry in the dryer I take out the diapers, and give them a hot rinse, just to make sure I get all the soap off. We found it saved us money, and made the cost of cloth diapering even cheaper. Yeah, some people give me funny looks when they hear I wash diapers in regular laundry, but those are the same people that look at me funny for doing cloth anyway.

    • May 17, 2011 at 8:01 am
      Reply

      I’m the oddball who thinks it’s not weird at all, LOL. If one of my kids had an accident, diaper leaked, feminine product leaked etc, I wouldn’t wash that one article separately! That’s what hot water is for, LOL.

  • Delora
    May 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

    I usually throw other items in my diaper loads (the above mentioned towels, cloth napkins, etc). Since I wash diapers on a heavy-duty setting, I just make sure that they’re substantial fabrics that can take a lot of washer agitation. My son’s regular clothes are fine, but I wouldn’t wash nicer-weave polo shirts or sweaters, or anything that couldn’t handle being stretched out a bit.

  • Trisha W.
    May 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry has some great info and videos on hand washing diapers.

  • May 16, 2011 at 11:02 am
    Reply

    I have done a bit of all three things. Washed diapers (mostly wipes) with other laundry, had laundry in my diaper load and hand-washed. If you weren’t too sure about washing your diapers with your other laundry (of course making sure that you are still using the cloth detergent and no softeners), you could always try hand washing. I use a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger to make a sort of camp style washer. It works nicely. I just follow my usual washing routine but in the bucket.

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