My cloth diaper washing routine

We have been trying to potty train. My beautiful daughter is 26 months, give or take. I introduced the potty at about 18 months. Now, that was a little early. I should have probably waited. She gets all the mechanics of going potty but just doesn’t want to. So, instead of fighting, we are taking a step back.

I thought now was a great time to reflect on my cloth diaper routine.


My total investment in cloth diapers is somewhere between $15 and $20. Yes, that is all. I received some hand me downs but mostly my wonderful mother and I made a bunch of diapers. My mom made a couple dozen fitted that worked great when my little one was tiny (and will work again when baby number 3 gets here in August). I made 3 or 4 dozen pre-folds, which has been my go-to for my older toddler. I just fold them up and place them in a cover and snap them on. We both made them out of rags and old sheets that we had lying around. Neither of us bought anything. I have had to buy a few covers over time but when I did, I would hop on ebay and get some for no more than $3 shipped. What helped was that I’m not picky about condition. All the covers are worn and not the prettiest but they work and are covered in pants 95% of the time.



I, also, work at keeping the washing routine as simple (and cheap) as possible. When the baby is little and breast feed only, it is really easy. Their poo is water-soluble, so I would throw everything in the wash machine. I did a hot rinse first, then did a normal wash (I will go into that in a second). Once you introduce solid food or if you formula feed the situation changes. You can’t throw the diaper in the wash with any solids in it. I rinse the diaper with solids in the toilet, you can use a sprayer if you have one. I, just, have never invested. Plus, hands wash easily and I am not squeamish. That is a me thing, though. There is no judgement if you choose to use a sprayer. I throw wet diaper straight into the wash (or diaper pail).

When I wash I use a quarter of a cup of my homemade detergent and a scoop of OxyClean. I am using OxyClean only because it was cheaper per load than bleach. I have used bleach in the past and see no problem with it. I just try to save as much money as possible.  I set my washer on the “small” load size and hot. I use vinegar and 1-2 drops of lemon oil in the fabric softener dispenser. If you don’t have a dispenser, invest in a Downy ball. They work great. The vinegar pulls out any left over detergent and icky-ness that may be left in the diaper, as well as killing bacteria. The lemon oil accomplishes the same thing.

I dry on a normal cycle in my dryer, on low heat. I have you high heat in the past but I found it drys just as well in low heat and uses less energy. Hang drying in the sun is best but here in the greater Seattle area, the days you get to do that are few.

Do you cloth diaper? What does your routine look like? Have you done anything that really didn’t work or tried something that worked well, that you weren’t expecting?



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