A Complete Guide on How to Clean Cloth Diapers

A Complete Guide on How to Clean Cloth Diapers


Cloth diapers continue to gain  popularity as an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable diapers. Proper cleaning and maintenance are crucial to ensure the longevity and hygienic use of cloth diapers. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean cloth diapers, helping you keep your baby comfortable and the environment happy.

1. Preparing for Diaper Cleaning:

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to set up a convenient and organized system for handling cloth diapers. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Diaper pail or wet bag: Use a designated container to store soiled diapers until wash day.
  • Diaper sprayer or liners: A diaper sprayer that attaches to your toilet can help you remove solid waste easily. Alternatively, you can use disposable liners to catch solid waste, making cleanup simpler.
  • Cloth diaper-friendly detergent: Choose a detergent that is free of additives, fragrances, and enzymes to prevent diaper rash and maintain absorbency.
  • Plot out your washing schedule: This will be based on how many cloth diapers you have, how many diapers you use in a day and your availability. With home washing, it is often recommended to wash frequently (every 2-3 days).

2. Removing Solid Waste:

For exclusively breastfed babies, there is no need to remove solid waste before washing. However, for formula-fed babies and older infants, you should shake off or rinse off any solid waste into the toilet using a diaper sprayer or by holding the diaper under running water. Remember to avoid using hot water as it can set stains.

3. Pre-Washing:

Before the main wash, it is recommended to pre-wash your cloth diapers. Pre-washing helps remove urine and bacteria, making the main wash more effective. Follow these steps:

  • Place the soiled diapers in your washing machine without adding any detergent.
  • Set the machine to a short wash cycle with cold water.
  • Once the pre-wash cycle is complete, proceed to the main wash.

4. Main Wash:

The main wash cycle is where you will thoroughly clean the diapers. Follow these steps:

  • Add the recommended amount of cloth diaper-friendly detergent to the washing machine.
  • Select a long wash cycle with warm water, ensuring the water temperature is safe for the diaper fabric.
  • Use an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent is rinsed out.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as they can reduce absorbency and cause skin irritation.
  • For optimal agitation, load the washing machine with an appropriate number of diapers. Overloading can hinder proper cleaning.

5. Drying:

Proper drying is crucial to maintain the integrity and absorbency of cloth diapers. Consider the following options:

  • Line drying: Hanging diapers under the sun is a natural and effective way to remove stains and sanitize them.
  • Machine drying: If time or weather constraints prevent line drying, use a low-heat setting on your dryer. Do not use dryer sheets as they can leave residue and reduce absorbency.

6. Stain Removal:

In case your cloth diapers develop stains, here are a few methods to tackle them:

  • Sunning: Placing stained diapers under direct sunlight can help fade stains naturally.
  • Lemon juice or vinegar: Apply a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to the stained area before washing. These natural substances can help break down stains.
  • Oxygen bleach: If the above methods don’t work, consider using an oxygen bleach specifically formulated for cloth diapers. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.


Cleaning cloth diapers doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these steps and maintaining a consistent cleaning routine, you can keep your cloth diapers fresh, hygienic, and long-lasting. Remember, each diaper brand may have specific care instructions, so always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best results.

If doing all the cleaning yourself is too much or you want to give yourself the gift of time with your little one, check out a cloth diaper delivery service in your area like Do Good Diapers. They do all the dirty work for you so you can spend your time where it matters most! Whether you clean your cloth diapers at home or use a delivery service, embracing cloth diapers is beneficial for your baby and for the environment, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.