Cloth Diapering Detergents Stripping Washing

Washing Cloth Diapers – What’s the Best Way?

washing cloth diapers

Washing Cloth Diapers

Want the too long;didn’t read version? Here’s the cliffs notes:

  • Remove solids from diapers (breastfed babies’ diapers can go right in the wash.
  • Wash every 2-3 days and don’t pack your washer full.
  • Use a detergent that works well for your family (choose one without fabric softeners).
  • Rinse diapers. (If you have very hard water you may need to add a small amount of detergent to this step.)
  • Run a hot/heavy duty cycle with the amount of detergent recommended for a heavily soiled load.
  • Rinse.
  • Line dry/lay flat covers and shells, tumble dry inserts.

Some families with extremely hard water choose to add calgon to the wash. I recommend keeping your routine simple and avoiding additives unless necessary.

I spent the first 6 months of my cloth diapering stint trying to figure out a wash routine. I had seen all the charts that told you which detergents were “safe” and which would cause your diapers to spontaneously combust (kidding.) I spent countless dollars and hours on detergents & stripping. What finally saved me was a detergent with pretty much all the “no-no” ingredients. Then I started to realize that all these companies said these detergents would damage your diapers, but did they really know? Some companies actually recommended the mainstream, “no no” detergents, saying enzymes were necessary to get your diapers cleaned.

I wondered, had anyone actually washed diapers in different detergents under controlled conditions? Before a company could justify voiding a warranty based on detergent, I would think they should have: washed 18 diapers at a time, every 3 days for whatever the typical life expectancy on their diaper is, checked after every 10 or so washes, Oh, and they would need to do this in soft water, hard water, top load HE, front load HE and standard top loading machines. Chlorinated city water & well water, with and without a water softener, and in different brand machines. Yeah. Too expensive and too much work.

So I thought the next best thing would be a database of actual user experience, rather than a star rating based on ingredients & conjecture. This was the basis of my cloth diaper detergent survey. In hindsight, I should have asked more yes/no and/or multiple choice questions, so I could let Google docs summarize for me and make assumptions based on that. Instead, I did lots of “fill in the blank” type questions so respondents could tell me more. This means I had to read a zillion responses. 🙂

My ultimate goal is to analyze & compile the data based on what is most and least likely to work in different water & washer conditions. Hire a programmer to create an SQL database so I can enter the data, then allow users to select one more options (water type, washer type, detergent type) and see a list of what is and isn’t likely to work for their situation. Unfortunately I don’t have the time or money to invest right now, but still hope to do so in the future.

For now, I just wanted to share with you what I learned, and what surprised me the most is that nothing surprised me! I’ve been cloth diapering for about 2 1/2 years update, 4 years 5 years and still feel the same, no spontaneously combusting diapers (which is peanuts compared to people who have cloth diapered for a decade or more) and it seems that my experiences and conclusions about detergents, wash routines, stripping & additives are nothing unique. I have not “scientifically analyzed” the results, this is simply a summary based on sorting and reading survey results.

94% of respondents report no damage to their diapers
. Those who selected “yes” for damage to their diapers were unsure as to whether the leaking, repelling, fraying, delamination etc. was due to detergent. Less than 1/4 of those people were using a “no-no” mainstream detergent. The remainder were using detergents that are recommended on “the lists” etc.

What do I do with a diaper when I change it?

If your baby is breastfed, simply store until wash day. Otherwise, shake solids into the toilet & store (I use a piece of TP to scrape what’s not “ploppable” and the rest goes in the wash.) Optionally, you can use a diaper sprayer on difficult to remove solids. You can use a kitchen size trash can with a liner or a zippered wet bag to store dirty diapers. I find that smells are minimized by leaving your pail open a crack. I prefer to remove pocket inserts as I put them in the “pail” so I can shake the whole thing into the washer without having to touch them again.

How often do I wash & how many do I wash at once?

Every 2-3 days is optimal. 18-24 diapers in each load works well; they need room to move around, but also need to agitate against each other to get clean. Washing less often may leave you with too many diapers to wash at once, and it may be more difficult to get them clean after they have been sitting.

How do I wash them?

The most common successful wash routine is a rinse or quick wash (warm if your washer has it) followed by a hot wash (with detergent) and a double rinse. You may need to add a bit of detergent to your pre-wash and if you have very hard water, extra rinses can do more harm than good. In a standard washer use a slightly larger load size than you need so diapers are covered by water but not swimming in it (don’t go overboard, you can use “too much” water – diapers need to agitate against each other and the washer’s agitator). In an HE washer, you can add similarly sized laundry to bulk up the load.

61% of survey respondents have standard top load machine, 33% have a front loading HE and 7% have a top load HE.

machine type

Should I add anything to the wash?

Commonly used additives included Biokleen Bac Out, baking soda, bleach, Borax, Oxiclean, Crunchy Clean Oxygen, vinegar, tea tree oil, washing soda and Calgon. Use caution and only use when necessary. The most successful wash routines are the simplest!

Do I need to “strip” my diapers?

diaper stripping

49% of respondents to strip their diapers, even if their detergent is working well. 40% don’t strip, and 11% selected “other.” People strip because of microfiber stink, ammonia smell, repelling and other issues. Some people commented that they didn’t necessarily need it but didn’t think it would hurt, or were seeing if it would help with baby’s rash, thought it was a good idea since they shared a washer, were stripping preventively and so forth. “Stripping” varies from a soak and/or extra rinses, to some bleach, Calgon, dawn or similar added occasionally. (I find that with the proper detergent & wash routine, you should not need to strip your diapers)

What detergent works best?


73% of survey respondents use powder detergent, 27% use liquid and a few use soap nuts.

Finding the detergent that works for you is trial and error based on your washing conditions, but many people with very hard water have great results with Rockin’ Green. It seems that RnG either works marvelously or doesn’t work at all (several reported that it worked initially, but led to stink & repelling.) All Free & Clear, Arm & Hammer, Charlie’s Soap, Crunchy Clean, Country Save, (these 5 seem most commonly used with top-loading standard machines) Eco Sprout, Ecos, Eco Nuts, Tiny Bubbles and homemade detergent were most commonly used successfully by survey respondents. (There were others, but for now, I’m listing only those which appeared more than a handful of times.)

The most successfully used standard detergent is Tide. Overwhelming numbers of families with all water & washer types have great results with it. I realize many want to avoid the chemicals it contains, and no, we’re not sponsored by P&G in any way! 🙂

What are the most common water types?

50% of survey respondents have hard water, 19% have soft and 31% are “other” (don’t know, average, varies etc.) 12% have a water softener.

Rockin’ Green, Tide, Eco Sprout, Country Save, Crunchy Clean, Charlie’s Soap, Arm & Hammer & All are often reported as working well with hard water.

Rockin’ Green classic or soft rock, Tide, Country Save, Crunchy Clean, Arm & Hammer and All are often used successfully by people with soft water.

Tide powder ingredients (PDF) include water softeners while Tide liquid ingredients (PDF) do not. You can logically assume that the powder may work better for hard water, while the liquid might rinse out more cleanly in soft water. That said, I have a water softener and use powder with no trouble.

How much detergent do I use in my machine?

This is also trial & error & varies based on your washer, water, and how many diapers you’re washing. I recommend starting with the same amount you’d use for a clothing load the same size. If your diapers aren’t coming out smelling clean, up the amount a bit. If you are having to do too many rinses to get the majority of the suds out, cut back a bit. You don’t need to rinse the diapers a dozen times until every.single.bubble. is gone. Generally, you should be using the recommended amount of detergent for the load size (the lowest load line for a very small load of diapers, not a washer full.) It’s very rare that a miniscule amount will get diapers clean.

If you want to know all about the science of laundry, check out Bummis Laundry Science. Check out the RDIA’s detergent database to search for detergents that meet your needs.

Do any of the survey results surprise you? Will it change your method for washing cloth diapers?

Information is based on opinion & survey results. is not liable for any damage or injury that may arise from your diaper washing routine!

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
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  • Jessica
    August 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Hi there! No babies yet but researching for the (hopefully near) future. I’m just wondering how this works with washing your other regular loads of clothing. Is the machine going to be free of poo/pee residue when I go to wash my sheets and adult clothing?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • August 11, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Jessica! The only time I’ve ever had poop in my washer was when I didn’t realize that a diaper was full of (toddler) poop and hadn’t been cleaned out!

      If you have a breastfed baby their poop is water soluble & will rinse away. For older babies you’ll remove as much solid waste as you can before washing. Many people use a diaper sprayer which gets them almost completely clean but I just scrape what I can with TP and toss the rest in with no issues.

      Your initial wash/rinse will loosen up the yuck so that in your main wash you’ll have clean water for your detergent to work.

      Hope that helps!

  • Cassie
    July 7, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been biting my nails through all of the articles and rules and charts out there regarding washing routines and detergents. I have started collecting a stash of cloth diapers for my first baby arriving this fall and have been scared to death to wash them at all!

    After spending 45 minutes on your site, I feel my blood pressure dropping, so thank you! Your common sense approach is just what I needed to read.

    • July 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      I’m so glad it was helpful! Washing can take a bit of trial and error so don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  • April 10, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    […] Washing Cloth Diapers […]

  • Paige McKinzie
    February 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for this post. I have to come back to it every few months. I will persevere despite stinkies!

    • February 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      You shouldn’t have to deal with stinkies! If you need some 1 on 1 troubleshooting I am happy to help!

  • February 15, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Good article! Felt much more balanced. I like the RDA’s guidelines and feels it gives good parameters but knowing that everyone has different successes with the ‘less ideal’ methods is good to know. Especially for moms who can’t afford the ‘just for cloth ‘ detergents.

  • November 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

    […] Washing Cloth Diapers […]

  • Aaron
    October 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I have been using a residential ozone laundry system called the Wash It to do all of our laundy for about over a year and been washing CDs with this system for 3 months and I still use minimal amounts of detergent with hardly any diaper rashes because this system will remove the chemical residue from the fabric. I recommend looking into this laundry system.

    • October 28, 2014 at 10:31 am

      I had never heard of ozone until this year at an RDIA diaper services conference. It sounds incredible – I’d love to have a residential system!

  • Kapree Clark
    August 8, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I have some diapers in the mail and I’m totally coming back to this for reference! thank you so much!

  • Jennifer Nutter
    August 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    love the basis of your cloth diaper detergent survey. Great pointers!

  • July 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

    […] Washing Cloth Diapers […]

  • Ambee
    July 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I use all free and clear with very hard water and haven’t had an issue with smell or repelling. I do notice that my cloth prefolds kind of seem stiff though. It doesn’t bother my son’s skin at all and we haven’t had any diaper rash so it must be fine.

  • July 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

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  • Brittany Turner
    June 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Believe it or not my amazing hubby shared this with me as I’m dead set on cloth, and I did my heels in further the more people say I won’t be able to do it! Pfh!! But his was extremely helpful. They latest was a rant from a trusted baby sitter at our church about how those diapers are so much stinkier and the smell is horrendous, and basically begged us not to join the group. She talked about washing like it was crazy, even though she’s done it! I hate the lack of support I have, but my husband is with me so we’re jumping in feet first with our first one this August and this helps so much.

    Any tips for newborns? We’re considering using disposables until about 6/8wks or until his circumcision is healed. Then we want to switch. Anything I should know or consider to not give up right out the gate?

    • June 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      Congrats on the baby! I think sometimes people make it more complicated than it needs to be. You may have to tweak your routine to find what works for you, but keeping it simple is best!

      Some decide to use disposables at first, especially since newborn cloth tends to be less cost effective. However, prefolds & covers work well and aren’t too pricey, plus they hold resale value.

      My boys are intact, but I’ve heard others say that using a cosmetic round works well to protect the diaper from vaseline or creams that are used. I hesitate to mention circumcision at all because I definitely don’t want anyone to feel judged. I just want to mention that if you aren’t 100% sure about the circumcision decision, I’m happy to direct you to some resources that helped me. 🙂

  • Abby G.
    May 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Common sense dictates that washing poop and pee out of cloth is the dirtiest load of laundry you will do. You need a strong detergent with enzymes to effectively clean your diapers. You also need a prerinse or wash to get most of the poop and pee out so you are not washing them with the poop and pee in the main wash. Then you need a hot main wash with a strong detergent, and a long cycle time to get the proper amount of agitation. Then an extra rinse only if there are still significant bubbles.

    I would only consider a weaker detergent if my child had an allergy or other reaction to the stronger detergent, as ammonia burns from unclean diapers would be my first concern.

    I use Tide powder or Ariel powder. I have never had to strip my diapers or had smelly diapers, because they get fully clean with one easy wash cycle.

    I get so mad about so many of the wash recommendations to use a weak detergent and very little of it, and then hear about the babies with ammonia burns on their little bottoms.

    • May 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I’m hopeful that in the future, more brands will be vocal about this!

  • May 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

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  • Sue B.
    April 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I wish I had thought about load size yesterday before putting all of my diapers in as they need to be stripped. Had to take half out as there wasn’t enough room.

  • Amy Jay
    April 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I’m printing this out and putting it on the lid of my washing machine! My little one is due in June, and washing cloth diapers seems a little daunting, but I’m excited to get started!

  • Jaime S
    April 25, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    This was very helpful! Thank you so much for the info 🙂

  • Jennifer
    April 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    3.5 years later, and completely on my own without fancy schmancy research, I’ve found much the same results. I used Rockin’ Green for quite awhile, but started having stink issues that I emailed the RnG people about several times to troubleshoot with no good results. Then my hubby started to get tired of having to order the detergent online before we actually ran out, so we eventually switched to All free’n’clear, which we already used for the rest of our laundry. The only thing I found that really gets rid of the stink is bleach. I put bleach in just about every load. Our cotton prefolds are fraying, and some of the PUL is starting to disintegrate on the older pocket dipes, but we didn’t start seeing any of those issues for at least a year and a half after switching to All + Bleach, so I’m half-convinced it has more to do with having two kids in diapers simultaneously and washing nearly every day. Plus, I run an extra water-only wash cycle with double-rinse after the bleach because because the bleach residue tended to give my youngest a rash. But the money we’ve spent on newer replacement (maybe $400 over the last four years) dipes still beats the 30-50 bucks a WEEK that each of my sisters spends on disposables for their kids!

    • April 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      I’m glad you found something that worked for you! I can’t imagine spending that much on disposables, yikes!

  • A. Prosser
    April 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Interesting! All the data is helpful….glad to see my personal go-to (Ecos) on an “approved” list for cd’s.

  • Sarah Hayes
    April 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Ive had so many issues with my wash routine and am still trying to figure out what works best. just recently I started using a regular amount of water in my HE machine and Im seeing how that goes. I use tide but would like to switch to All or maybe Tide free and gentle. I have regular water so I dont need anything special. your blog has been a big help in providing me with the info I need to find what works best for us. thanks for the great post!

    • April 19, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Glad it helped! Feel free to email me if you need help tweaking your routine!

  • alma ruff
    April 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    This is great info especially for a newbie like me!

  • Tracy Dennison
    April 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the info! When I fist started CDing, I was so confused, wish I had read this then!

  • Cindy B
    April 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for all the info… we’ve worked on/played around with our cloth diaper washing routines through the years, too… Kudos on the surveys… I think I may have filled one of those out when you did them.

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  • Noelani
    December 7, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I washed cloth diapers for my first three babes and used a diaper service for the fourth. I came up with a washing method that resulted in soft, fluffy, sweet smelling, diapers, that lasted for a long, long time! I think I only bought one dozen new diapers after the initial purchase of three dozen for my first. I put them through three full wash cycles, with one rinse, each.

    The first cycle was with nothing but cold water. I did not rinse my diapers right after use. I just shook off any solids and then put them in the bucket which contained no water.

    The second cycle was with hot water, detergent and about a third cup of bleach (not the concentrated kind available now). I put the bleach into a quart jar and filled it up the rest of the way with water. I slowly added it only for the last few minutes of the wash cycle. The bleach was very important in killing the bacteria and taking away all odor. If anyone wanted to stop, there, I would advise adding an additional rinse.Having fought with detergent allergies all my life, and knowing how uncomfortable they were, I wanted to take it one stop further.

    The third cycle, I did, in warm water, with about a half cup of soap flakes. In those days, Ivory Snow was soap flakes (it has been detergent for quite a while now) and you could also get White Cloud soap flakes. The soap flakes took out any residue from the detergent and bleach and made them soft and fluffy, which diaper pins would easily pass through. If someone wants to try it, and can’t find soap flakes, just get a bar of mild, unperfumed, soap, and grate it like cheese.

    With my third baby, we were in Germany, at Hahn USAF base. We lived off-base, but were provided with American laundry appliances. Since the German washers heat their own water, the only water going to the washer was cold. I found that the stains didn’t always come out as easily but, as long as I didn’t forget the bleach, they still came out odor free. I did find, however, that it was more efficient to use liquid detergent, in cold water because, with the powder, it took part of the wash cycle just to get the powder dissolved.

    My sister-in-law put her diapers through one small rinse, then a wash with detergent and a rinse. She felt that less time in the washing machine and not using something to disinfect would help the diapers last longer. Mine actually lasted longer, though! I think leaving those chemicals in them probably weakened the fibers. It also burned her kids’ skin and made it so that you could literally smell them coming, even if they had recently been changed.

    • December 7, 2013 at 9:31 am

      That’s interesting! I’ve never heard of using soap flakes on diapers – generally it is said that soap is a no no. Thanks for your comment!

      • Noelani
        December 10, 2013 at 2:18 am

        I’m a little confused. You say you’ve never heard of using soap flakes but that soap is said to be a no no? I don’t understand because it seems that for you to have heard that it is generally said to be a no no would clue you in that there had been people who had used them. Does that make any sense? Actually, people used soap flakes to wash diapers, and other laundry, for many years. It probably wouldn’t be good to use a large amount of soap and then not rinse it well enough, but I can’t imagine using a small amount, like I did, ever causing any problem at all!

        I got some positive feedback from my oldest son, when we got back from a trip to visit his paternal grandparents. I usually tool cloth diapers with me, unless it was going to be a short trip and we wouldn’t have laundry facillities, and I took them, that time. My MIL’s drier was broken so we had to wash the diapers in detergent and hang them on the line. They had VERY hard water there. When those diapers came off the line, I could literally bend them in half and stand them up! I sat and scrunched them up and shook them around, to get them loosened up a little. When we got home, I washed all of the diapers, including the ones he hadn’t used since I had washed them there. When I was folding them my son, who was 2.5 came in, picked up a diaper. He looked at it and said “mmm!”. He sniffed it and said, “cean”, then rubbed it on his cheek and said, “sof”. He definitely appreciated them!

        When we got out second son, he had been in foster care for a month, during which the foster mother had him in Huggies. He had the worst diaper rash I had ever seen, with all kinds of broken skin. I recognized it as a contact allergy, immediately. I took him home and put him in my carefully washed cloth diapers. There was a difference in a few hours and by the end of the day, the broken skin had all grown a layer of new skin. By the next day, all that was left of it was some redness.

        Even with my fifth and sixth babies, by which time I had so much laundry that I mostly used sposies, if they ever got a rash, chicken pox, etc., I put them in a thick layer of my specially wash cloth diapers, always with good results!

        • December 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

          I meant that it is generally said that using any detergent containing soap is a no-no (such as homemade detergents that use shredded soap) though many use these successfully. However, I had never heard of someone using soap flakes separately, as in, not part of a detergent but just shredded soap added to the wash. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the comment.

          Washing synthetic fibers like microfiber, suedecloth etc. is not quite as easy as cotton prefolds & flats. I’ve had great luck hand washing flats in just about anything!

        • December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

          Ah, I re-read and see that you said Ivory snow “soap flakes.” I had soap on the brain and was thinking Fels Naptha etc. (Oops and now I re-read the whole thing and see you suggested grating soap.) Have you only used prefolds/flats, or have you use the newer pocket diapers (etc.) with microfiber? This is generally what people are dealing with when they are having problems getting them clean and are being told by manufacturers that using soap etc. will void their warranty.

        • Noelani
          December 10, 2013 at 6:01 pm

          I don’t see a way to edit, but just realized that my wording at the beginning of this might sound rude. It’s not meant to be, though, so I apologize if you were offended!

          • December 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm

            Thanks Noelani. I tend to be a little bit sensitive and I know I need to grow a thicker skin. I really appreciate your comments and the clarification. <3

          • Noelani
            December 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

            Yes, I only used flat prefolds. I used plastic pants with my first kids and the velcro covers later on. I would think it would be tricky to get all of the thicknesses of the pocket diapers washed and rinsed, properly. What is microfiber? With cotton, it worked great but, as I said, only a little bit of soap flakes. If there was soap residue on the fibers, I would think it would decrease absorbancy and probably not be good on the baby’s skin, either.

            I’m not that familiar with Fels Naptha, but I have smelled it in the store and I think it has a lot of perfume, which wouldn’t be good!

            I wasn’t suggesting that everyone should use my method. I was just offering it as a possibility for anyone who hadn’t yet found a satisfactory method, especially someone who had a child with exceptionally sensitive skin.

          • December 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm

            Have you ever seen the towels they sell in the automotive section for cleaning cars? I think they have a really creepy feeling, they grab at your skin. That’s the common absorbency in the “modern” diapers. They LOVE to hang onto oily residue and fats. Pocket diapers/all in ones etc. are definitely easier to get started with, but prefolds and flats are so much easier to get clean! I mean really, most of our mothers and probably all of our grandmothers used cloth diapers, and they didn’t need to attend cloth diaper washing support groups, ha! 😉

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  • Jacy Garrison
    August 8, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I’ve been using the same cloth diapers since my first, so almost 4 1/2 years now (BumGenius All-in-Ones). I started out using Country Save powder, now use homemade powder detergent with Borax, Washing Soda and OxiClean. It seems to be working just fine and saves a bundle! I do a cold rinse first, then a sanitary (extra hot) cycle in my HE washer, with a double rinse. The cycle takes over 2 hours. I wash up to 24 diapers every 3-4 days and store the dirty diapers in a wet bag (I’ve been using the same wet bag for all this time – though the zipper is broken now and the outside fabric is showing some wear). I think it’s safe to say I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of my cloth diaper investment! 🙂

    I think I’ve tried to “strip” my diapers no more than 2 times in the past four years. We are on a well and also have a water softener.

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  • February 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I was surprised by the amount of respondents who stripped their diapers even if their detergent was working well. For the first couple of years of cloth diapering, I never stripped my boys cloth diapers, but when my family and I moved to our current location, we struggled with EXTREME hard water for the first time and dealt with detergent issues, so I started stripping the cloth diapers about once per month. If I could do without the whole stripping process, I surely would!

    • February 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      I think so many people start out with all these detergent fears, that they end up stripping because they are not washing properly!

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  • Vickie Couturier
    July 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

    wow,thanks for this ,has some great ideals,my daughter in law will be using cloth diapers so ill have her read thi

  • June 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I JUST started CDing today!! and was nervous about the whole washing business since theres so many do’s and don’ts out there. Thank you for your post! I’m actually looking forward to having to wash my first load!

    • June 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      So exciting!! Please get in touch with me if you need any help at all!

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    […] Washing Cloth Diapers […]

  • May 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    […] Washing Cloth Diapers […]

  • angela
    May 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    what brand is the pirate printed diaper up there in the washing machine picture?!?!

  • S. Harmon
    April 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    These results really weren’t surprising. If you look into WHY “no-no” ingredients ARE “no-no” ingredients, it usually is because of the desire to go greener/use less chemicals, or avoid possible baby bum irritations. Of course, soap and fabric softener do leave behind eventually water-repelling residue on cloth, causing a need for stripping, but other than that and disinfecting chemicals (i.e. bleach) that we all know are harsh on any piece of clothing, most “no-no” ingredients have less to do with diaper wear and more to do with crunchiness or baby’s sensitive skin.

    • S. Harmon
      April 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      I should add that, for myself, I still prefer using a plain surfactant rather than detergent with enzymes also, or any other added chemicals / unnecessary ingredients. I have fairly sensitive and eczema-prone skin and I am not sure if it is just the placebo effect or not, but I like it better. I also do not usually cause heavy soiling or stains on my clothes, though.

      For my HUSBAND’s laundry, on the other hand, I still use traditional surfactant and enzyme, stain-eating, stain guarding, disinfecting detergent as needed (frequently) because he is worse than a toddler when it comes to dirtying his clothes, and his skin is not sensitive at all.

      I do not have any experience with cloth diaper laundry specifically, as the baby does not need any diapers in utero! 😉 But I know that there are good cleaning agents out there that can still be gentle on skin, especially with rinses if my baby has sensitive skin, but not so much as I do.

      Basically I was just trying to say that everyone is different–their family routines, their skin, their crunchiness–and so they really should not just rule things out that people tell them not to get without looking into why. If you agree, follow; if you do not, lead.

  • March 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    […] Surveys: Maria at Change-Diapers surveyed over 500 cloth diapering individuals and “94% of respondents report no damage to […]

  • March 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

    This is great info. One of the most informative posts I have read on the web about cloth diapering. I was surprised by the use of bleach. And no mention of drying diapers in the sun.

    • March 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Hanging diaper in the sun is a great way to fade or eliminate stains. I use clothes pins to hang mine from the wire shelf above my W&D, others use a wooden drying rack, and some toss theirs in the dryer every time with no issues. 🙂

    • April 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Bleach certainly isn’t necessary all of the time. We recently blogged recently about It:

      If the sun isn’t a possibility, Buncha Farmers Stain Stick also works very well.

      • April 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm

        I have recently begun using bleach after years and years of fighting against it. My bumgenius elementals are getting holes a bit faster, but it is totally worth it in terms of rash fighting and time lost to stink fighting/sunning/rewashing. Yay!

        • April 23, 2014 at 9:38 pm

          That’s great! Glad you found a solution!!

  • Myah
    March 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

    The results of this survey are wonderful. I have a 9-year-old girl, who we used disposable diapers and wipes on as a baby and toddler. I tried cloth for about a week when she was first born, but was so overwhelmed that I gave it up. (I was using pre-folds and a waterproof bloomer.) This time around (currently pregnant), we’d like to use cloth if we can hack it! In doing research, it’s tough to figure out exactly how we’ll go about the “messy” reality of cleaning diapers easily and effectively. Your site is great for getting information. Thanks so much for your time and effort in making all of our lives easier!

    • Leeanne
      December 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      we used disposables (about 60% of the time) for our first. I think we would have probably found it awfully overwhelming to use exclusively, especially when she was very young. We used cloth for our second – we had to he had an infected umbilicus and disposables didn’t fit and for the 3rd we used exclusively cloth for the first 12 months then only used disposables at night.
      Go for simple when it comes to washing – we stored in a dry pail (flip top rubbish bin), used an extra rinse and less powder. Don’t worry about stains – who sees them but you anyway? Do use a liner – especially when they are little! Dry in the sun (we have to, no dryer).
      I wouldn’t go back to disposables, my second child hated “those yucky scratchy things” (as he used to call them) anyway.
      The hardest thing isn’t the washing, it’s all the folding and putting away and storage.

      • December 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

        I feel that way about laundry in general. 😉

  • February 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for this article. I get so overwhelmed sometimes with the contradictions of the large diaper companies. It’s nice to see a comparison of what real mamas are trying.

  • christine jessamine
    February 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

    thank you for the information. i haven’t started cloth diapering just yet, but this has been very usefull for when i do start

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