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How Do I Wash Cloth Diapers?

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Image: Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer | The simple way to rinse cloth diapers before washing | The adjustable high-pressure spray is perfect for rinsing messy cloth diapers in the toilet | No more dunk and soak!

Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer
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Dear Catherine;
I know I want to use cloth diapers on my baby, who will be born very soon.
How do I find a diaper service?
Are the diaper services more expensive than disposable diapers?
If I can't find one in my city, how hard will it be to wash my own?

In the 1950's, diaper services flourished. Now, because of disposable single-use diapers, the larger cities and their suburbs are often the only areas with diaper services. Check your Yellow Pages book under Diaper or Diaper Services.

Diaper Services are much more expensive than home laundering, but usually less expensive than disposable single-use diapers. Many parents find the added convenience of clean, fresh diapers arriving on their door-step each week worth the extra cost. For the early weeks, and for parents without washing machines - this is often an ideal solution.

Washing diapers at home is actually quite simple. This is a very detailed description. Initially it may sound complex, but you'll soon find it routine.

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20 Mule Team Borax
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1. Shake poop into toilet. Rinse poopy diapers in toilet bowl. You can use a bumGenius Diaper Sprayer or rubber gloves will help keep your hands clean.

2. Collect soiled or wet diapers in a plastic pail with no liquid added, or (only if you prefer) in a solution of water mixed with 1/4 cup of vinegar, Borateem®, Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster or Ivory Snow® 2x Ultra Liquid. This can help control odours and staining. Do not soak your diaper covers in this though, as it can ruin their waterproofness.

3. When ready to wash, if you've been soaking your diapers - drain excess solution into toilet. Use your spin cycle to drain the diapers of any remaining solution.
Otherwise, or in addition, run your diapers through a cold wash /cold rinse presoak cycle - if you have this setting on your washing machine. For optimum cleanliness, wash only 24 diapers in an average load.

4. Then, use HOT wash and COLD rinse with high water level. If rashes are a problem, try a double rinse to remove detergent or soap residues. Use a mild soap or detergent with no phosphates, and a minimum of additives.

5. Dry in dryer on high heat for an average of 60 minutes to help sterilization. Drying in direct sunlight is also an excellent method, and it helps wonderfully with getting rid of stains.

6. Some parents like to add Arm + Hammer Super Washing Soda, vinegar or borax to the wash to keep diapers white, and to help sterilize them. Some parents prefer to boil diapers for 10 minutes once in a while, especially after a bout of diarrhea, or a yeast infection, to help prevent rash and provide optimum sterilization. But this is absolutely NOT necessary on a regular basis or for all babies.


Hope that helps! Write again to if you have a diapering question you would like answered.


P.S. Here are some other articles that might interest you:

How Do I Get Started With Cloth Diapering?
How Do I Make My Diaper Covers Last?
Cloth Diapering With a Diaper Service


P.S. Here are some other articles that might interest you:

The Diaper Facts column:

How Do I Get Started With Cloth Diapering?
Cloth Diapering With A Diaper Service
How Do I Wash Cloth Diapers?
Expensive to Wash Cloth Diapers?
The STINK on Stinky Diapers
Why are my cloth diapers and covers stinky?
Here's my Stinky Diaper Solution!
Why are my cloth diapers and/or diaper covers leaking?!?
How Do I Make My Diaper Covers Last?

Other articles that might be of interest:

How to Choose the Perfect Cloth Diapering System
Feeling Confused About Your Cloth Diapering Decision?
Diapering Expert Shares Secrets!
Do Cloth Diapers Seem Too Expensive?
Frugal Diaper Washing
Frugal Diapering
Frugal Baby Tips: Make Your Own Baby Bum Sweaters!
Your Choice Does Make a Difference!
What's Wrong With 'Disposable' Single-Use Diapers?
Environmental Concerns - What Do They Mean For You and Your Baby?
Environmental Concerns II - Looking at Both Sides of the Issue


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Last updated - February 8, 2017