Cloth Diaper Washing Instructions
Diaperpin.com recommends that you wash and dry new diapers up to ten times before wear to remove chemicals as well as increase their absorbency. Pre-washing your cloth diapers allows them to become absorbant, but ten prewashes may not be necessary! To test your diapers absorbency, pour a little water onto the diaper. If the diaper absorbs the water, it is ready for use. If the water sits on top of the diaper, you need to wash and dry until this absorbency test works. Cotton pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers may need as little as one wash before they are ready for use, while pre-fold diapers will take several washings (especially unbleached prefolds) before they fluff up beautifully and are ready for wear. Diapers and accessories made of hemp may take eight or more washes to become full absorbent.
You will probably want to wash your cloth diapers and accessories every 2-3 days, while diapers are easier to clean. This also helps to keep smells and bacteria growth to a minimum.
Try to keep your loads to 24 diapers or diaper accessories so there is ample room in your machine to get everything nice and clean.
Store wet and soiled diapers in a dry diaper pail. Shake off solid waste into the toilet (or flush the biodegradable liner) and remove all inserts and covers before throwing them into the pail. Covers can be worn several times if they are not soiled.
Diaperpin.com recommends using a detergent that is “Phosphate Free or low (containing trace amounts) in Phosphate, Fragrance and Dye Free and does not contain Fabric Softeners. “ Diapers Etc does not recommend a particular brand, but the following appear safe and have been recommended by other cloth diapering moms: Allens Naturally Powdered & Liquid Laundry Detergents, Bio-O-Kleen Laundry Powder, Bio-O-Kleen Liquid Laundry Detergent, Charlie's Soap, Country Save Liquid Detergent, Country Save Powdered Detergent, Ecos Free & Cear
Liquid Laundry Detergent, EnviroRite Laundry Detergent, Maggie's Soap Nuts, Mountain Green Free and Clear, Nellie's Laundry Soda, Planet Ultra Powdered Laundry Detergent, and Sun and Earth Deep Cleaning Laundry Detergent.
Empty your diaper pail and liner into the washing machine and run a COLD rinse or soak cycle. While some suggest using detergent during this cycle, others suggest using only baking soda during this rinse/soak cycle to help eliminate the smell of urine and remove detergent build-up.
Next, wash on HOT. If you added detergent in the first rinse cycle, do not add more. If not, add detergent (a little less than recommended). Avoid soap based products, detergents with whitening enzymes, baby detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, and borax powder. 2-3 drops of Tea Tree Oil may be added during the wash cycle to help with cleaning (but avoid using this with pocket diapers since the oil will stick to the fleece).
Double rinse on COLD. Some parents like to use ¼ cup of vinegar during the first rinse cycle (especially if baking soda was used during the first rinse/soak), but this may make diapers smell like vinegar in hard water areas. Rinse a second time on COLD.
You now have the option of drying your cloth diapers in your dryer, or hanging them on the clothes line. Hanging them out in the sun allows you to save electricity and the sun will naturally bleach your diapers super white (never use chlorine bleach on your cloth diapers). It also preserves the life of your diapers and ensures continued waterproofing abilities. However, tumble drying your diapers on low also works and may be necessary at times.