Laundering Cloth Diapers
Berkeley Parents Network >
What/Where to Buy >
Laundering Cloth Diapers
A few months ago, we got a new (LG Tromm) high efficiency
washer and dryer. But, since then, I've noticed a big
difference in my baby's cloth diapers- they are definitely not
as soft and some are beginning to pill! They were purchased
from a diaper service- they weren't new, but they were very
soft when they arrived. My older child had diapers from the
same diaper service and those were washed in our old, beat-up
washer and never seemed to lose softness! I've tried drying
them on lower heat settings, til just slightly damp, and have
experimented with putting a small amount of vinegar in with the
wash, and with using a little less detergent...with no results.
I have also test-washed another kind of cloth diaper (organic
cotton, used but purchased new) which also came out not as
soft! Has anyone else had this problem with a HE machine?
Missing Those Soft Diapers!
Try putting fewer diapers in the load. Front-loaders use less
water. This causes detergent buildup, according to what I've read
on the internet. we have a Miele front-loading washer and are
using hemp diapers without a dryer. Reducing load size and adding
vinegar has made a difference in softness.
We've had a Miele HE washer and dryer for the last 4 years and
have been using cloth diapers for just as long. I've never had
a problem with the diapers being 'not soft.' After I change the
baby, I put the dirty diapers in a plastic box with lid (from
Ikea) and wash them every 1-3 days. If there is poop, I scrap
off as much as I can into the toilet first. I always use powder
detergent and have used Tide, Trader Joe's etc with the Oxy
Clean and they come out great. I dry the diapers, liners and
wipes in the dryer but air dry the covers. There's a ton of
cloth diaper websites and most of them have instructions for
washing them. The Chinese Diaper Quality Service (DQS) diapers
are great and very soft. I also have organic hemp diapers but
they are not and never have been, very soft. I use them as a
liner or changing pad when I change the baby.
How long do I need to keep the fuzzi bunz cloth diapers in the
sun for the full sun-bleaching and drying effect? I machine
wash them and put them on a drying rack. If the sun is out all
day and the diapers are dry, does it mean that it's as clean as
it's going to get? Will they get any cleaner if I bring them
in for the night and set them outside again the next day? Will
the sunshine not take out some of the stains??
I've never actually had a stain problem with our Fuzzi Bunz, so this doesn't exactly
address the problem, but I'm wondering how you wash them? That may be the key to
eliminating future stains... I first run a soak cycle with the poopy diapers in COLD
water with a little bit of All Free & Clear or Allen's Naturally detergent and a scoop
of Arm & Hammer washing soda (available in the laundry section at Berkeley Bowl).
Spin, then add the wet diapers. Wash with hot water and a little more detergent and
washing soda. Then run a cold rinse cycle. The cold water in the first step is key to
not setting protein stains (like poop). I used to do this process with a regular
top-loading washer, but now have a high-efficiency front-loading washer that can't do
a soak cycle. I just run a heavy-duty cold cycle first, then add the wet diapers and
run the hot one -- they're still stain-free after nearly two years (and two different
sizes) of Fuzzi Bunz.
Another Cloth Diapering Mom
Hanging the covers (and cloth diapers or inserts) in the sun until they dry is plenty!
On a hot day, if that means 2 hours, wonderful. Come winter, it might mean all day. In
the winter when it rains, I still hang diaper covers to dry, but inside, out of the
a mama who cloth diapers
I don't know about fuzzi buns but my prefold whiten pretty well after a day in the
(esp.) summer sun. I would check with fuzzi buns to see if you can do this, but
adding vinegar to the rinse brightens my prefolds incredibly!
can't beat prefolds!
I periodically bleach my Fuzzi Bunz in the sun, and I think it usually takes somewhere
around 4 hours for them to get stain-free. I think some kinds of stains (from rash
example) don't bleach out, but in my experience with only milk poop so far, the
diapers have gotten totally white again. Hope that helps!
Mama of a 9-week old
I've used Fuzzi Bunz with both my daughters and I've found that the strength of the
sun has a lot to do with how effective it is at bleaching any stains out of the
diapers/liners. The brighter and more direct the sun, the better. You can definitely
try setting the diapers out again to see if they will get any whiter.
Personally, I don't worry too much about faint staining on either the diaper or the
insert. As long as I know that I've laundered them thoroughly, I figure they are
Feel free to email me if you have any more questions - love those Fuzzi Bunz!
I am using Kushies Ultra cloth diapers which I really like.
However, I am wondering about the best way to wash them. After
a few really poopy diapers, they smell a bit funny even out of
the wash and I feel really tempted to use a bit of bleach now
and then to kill germs and to get rid of that slightly fishy
poopy smell. However, I have heard many times not to use
bleach. So my question is, how do you get these diapers clean,
germ-free and clean-smelling? Thanks in advance for any advice.
Based on two years of cloth diapering, I have two bits of advice.
One, don't put your washing machine to the acid test of throwing
in REALLY poopy diapers. Put on some gloves and remove most of
the poop with a brush reserved just for that. Second, consider
bleaching. Although you hear alot about the horrors of bleach,
upon examining that (and my stained diapers) critically, I
decided that the problem was really with bleach that's not rinsed
out. My son's diapers were gorgeous, fresh and clean after
judicious bleaching. If I bleach, I always use an extra rinse and
run them through the washer an additional time to assure they are
To wash my Kooshies and other diapers I use 2 steps. First a
soak cycle with detergent (mild/environmentally friendly stuff)
and oxygen bleach (non-chlorine) Then a heavy duty wash cycle
with detergent and sometimes baking soda or white vinegar added
as well. Bac-out by Biokleen is also a great product to add to
the wash cycle. Berkeley Bowl and other stores carry it.
Even though the products we use are mild, the diapers are always
clean. We also do a quick rinse of poopy diapers before
throwing them in the pail but don't soak them.
Here's how I wash my diapers:
First, whenever I change a poopy diaper I shake whatever solids
I can into the toilet. Then I put it in the dry pail -- no
soaking. On wash day, I run the diapers through a prewash/soak
cycle with cold water, a small amount of detergent, and a scoop
of Biz (this fights protein stains and really helps). The cold
water keeps stains from setting. Then I run a long hot wash
with a little more detergent. Then I sort out anything that
shouldn't go in the dryer (covers, etc), hang them, and toss
everything else into the dryer on hot. You could also line dry
if you like. This routine has worked great for me for nearly
two years now. Every once in a while I get a stain, which I
squirt with lemon juice and sit in the sun for awhile.
Sometimes odor problems are caused by using too much
detergent. Try using less (less than half a cup per wash).
You want to make sure all the soap is rinsed out of the diapers
or it will hold odors. Good luck!
I found this method for washing cloth diapers on line and it
has worked well for us, poops and all. We keep our wet-only
diapers in a ''dry'' diaper pail and sprinkle them liberally with
baking soda. The poopy ones, after being emptied/rinsed in the
toilet, go into a bucket in the basement full of water and Dr.
Bronner's peppermint soap. Every two days or so, the whole lot
goes in the wash with regular unscented detergent for a hot
wash/warm rinse. Then we repeat the rinse with about 1.5 - 2
cups of white vinegar, which needless to say we buy in bulk. We
line-dry whenever possible, to take advantage of the UV rays'
sterilizing/antimicrobial properties. But we always finish up
with a short fluff in the dryer for softness. So far, no fishy
smell, and very little discoloration of diapers.
I washed diapers for three children and avoided bad smells in
recently washed diapers by soaking the dirty diapers in borax
and water as soon as the diaper was changed, by adding borax to
the wash along with the detergent, and by adding white vinegar
to the rinse cycle. If you have access to a clothesline,
outside drying results in very sweeting-smelling diapers as
This is how we wash our Kushies:
1) Soak them in water sprinkled with baking soda in a trash bin
until we're ready to wash them.
2) Run them through a spin cycle in the machine.
3) Add detergent and WHITE VINEGAR (or baking soda) and wash hot
in regular cycle.
I've heard you can bleach them once or twice a year--it's the
regual bleaching that will ruin them.
Or, better yet, wait for a sunny day, and hang them out to dry.
I was also truned off by the occasional stain, but got used to
it. My diapers, however, never smell, so maybe something we do
will help avoid that for you?
There are a number of things you can do, without using bleach,
which will assure you of clean, fresh, cloth diapers.
Make sure to completely dampen the freshly soiled area of the
diaper even if it is a b.m. that just ''rolls out''. Remove as
much soil as possible with rinsing. Store in a tightly sealed
diaper pail (urine soaked and b.m. diapers can be in the same
pail). If you wash diapers every 2-3 days or sooner there is no
need to add liquid to the diaper pail. If you have more diapers
and can, therefore, go longer between washings it is a good idea
to add water to the pail along with some dissolved Borax powder.
When washing: If you use a wet diaper pail: Pour entire contents
of pail into washer and select a prewash or rinse and spin
setting. Use hot water unless suggested otherwise by the
manufacturer. (This step is included as an easy way to get rid
of the smelly water with as little ''hands on time'' as
possible) Then following general washing instructions below.
If you use a dry diaper pail: Pour entire contents of pail into
washer and then follow general washing instructions below. (I
find it is not necessary to do a prewash or rinse and spin if
you do a good job at rinsing out the b.m. at the time it occurs.
General Washing Instructions: Spot treat any stains (if desired)
with a color-safe bleach or stain treater. Select a HEAVY DUTY
CYCLE. Always use hot water unless suggested otherwise by the
manufacturer. Use your choice of laundry detergent and add
Borax, if desired.(I find it is not necessary to use as much
detergent as the detergent manufacturers suggest, try for
yourself and see.) Then select a 2ND RINSE. Dry diapers as you
wish. For lingering stains and extra freshness hang in bright
sunshine every other week or so.
When removing diapers from the washer they should smell sweet
and fresh. If they don't, they are not clean and should not be
dried. Repeat the washing, and add a prewash with detergent and
then a regular wash with detergent, then the 2nd Rinse. Hang in
the sun, then fluff in the dryer. If your washer is older you
may find it necessary to always do this prewash with detergent
Hints from C.M.
this page was last updated: Dec 10, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network