How To Wash Cloth Diapers?

Cloth Diaper

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Several mothers choose cloth diapers because they are eco-friendly, economical, and can be personalized.

No matter what the reason is for their choice, you must wash cloth diapers regularly. Washing baby diapers is not very different from washing baby’s clothes, although it involves a few additional steps and precautions.

In this MomJunction post, we tell you how to wash baby diapers the right way to keep them clean and free of germs.

How To Wash Baby’s Diapers?

Washing a baby’s diapers is a multi-step process. It involves:

1. Pre-washing:

  1. Use a bucket exclusively for storing soiled diapers. You can then soak the diapers straight away in this bucket.
  1. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, then it is highly unlikely there will be too many solids in the diaper to dispose of in the toilet. However, if your baby is on solids, then there is going to be solid poop in the diaper. Make sure to drop it into the toilet before you wash the cloth.
  1. Use a hand shower or spray water on the diaper to remove any fecal remains on it.
  1. Soak the diapers in cold water for about ten minutes. It will help eliminate the remaining solids stuck to the cloth and get rid of the initial stench that emanates when you remove the diaper.
  1. Don’t accumulate too many diapers for washing at once. Wash a few at a time to ensure that they are cleaned properly.

It is essential to clean the diapers with plain water before washing them with a detergent. Once they are free of any fecal material, you can wash them by hand or machine.

[ Read: Yeast Diaper Rash In Babies ]

2. Machine wash process

  1. Toss the diapers into the machine, set the desired water level, and pour a baby-safe detergent.
  1. It is best to wash diapers separately from other clothes. It prevents color or chemicals from other garments getting transferred to the baby’s diapers.
  1. Once they are clean, put the diapers in the dryer, and then hang-dry them under the sun to kill any germs.
  1. Do not use the warm or hot setting since it may affect the quality of the cotton, which is used in making infant diapers.

3. Hand wash process

  1. Pour warm water into a bucket or a washing tub. Add baby-safe detergent. Build foam and soak the diapers in the water for about two to three minutes.
  1. Rinse the diapers in the soapy water and rub the stained portion of the fabric together to get rid of the marks.
  1. Gently wring the diaper to remove the excess water. Transfer it to an empty bucket.
  1. Pour clean water into the other bucket and rinse the diapers to get rid of the soap completely. Gently wring the diapers to remove the water.

4. Drying process

  1. If the machine’s dryer completely dries the clothes, then you can fold and store away the washed diapers. But if the diapers are damp even after machine-drying, then hang them to dry under the sun.
  1. Drying under direct sunlight is the best way to rid the diapers of moisture and also disinfect them naturally. Choose a spot that gets direct sunlight and hang-dry the diapers on a line, side-by-side, so that they get dried quickly.

Washing cloth baby diapers is easy and does not require a lot of effort. But you may want to know about the frequency of washing reusable diapers.

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How Often Should You Wash The Baby’s Diapers?

It is best to wash the baby’s diapers every day. If you are up to it, wash a soiled diaper soon after you change the baby. Otherwise, store the soiled diapers in a bucket and wash them at the end of the day or first thing in the morning. Some parents like washing the diapers once in a couple of days, but it can get messy since the stored soiled diapers can cause quite a stench.

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[ Read: Why Is Baby Hygiene Important ]

Can You Use Baking Soda To Disinfect The Diapers?

Yes. Baking soda can be used for disinfecting cloth diapers (1). About half a cup of baking soda will be enough for a bucket full of baby diapers.

Soaking time varies depending on how soiled the diapers are. You can soak the diaper for any time between half-an-hour and an hour.

Baking soda helps remove foul odor and pathogens. It can be particularly useful when your baby’s poop is very smelly. It is best to soak the baby’s diapers in baking soda water before washing them with detergent, to remove any baking soda residue on the clothes.

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Can You Use Vinegar To Wash Baby’s Diapers?

Vinegar makes an excellent household disinfectant and can remove germs from clothes. However, it is acidic and may cause skin irritation. Vinegar also has a pungent smell that may cling to the clothes even after washing them. If you intend to use vinegar, then use edible white vinegar for a pre-wash soak.

Make sure you rinse the diapers thoroughly at the end of the wash to remove the vinegar smell.
Remember, never use vinegar and baking soda together for disinfecting diapers. Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. Combining the two leads to an acid-base reaction, which can cause the water to become uncontrollably frothy due to the release of carbon dioxide (2).

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Should You Use Bleach After Washing The Baby’s Diapers?

It is good to avoid bleach since it contains several chemicals that can stay on the fabric even after rinsing. The baby’s skin is very sensitive, and the use of bleach may cause irritation. If there are tough stains on your baby’s nappies, then you can consider soaking the diapers in detergent water for longer. You can pour the detergent directly on the stain and scrub it lightly with a brush to remove the stain.

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Washing baby diapers is simple and straightforward. You need to observe only a few precautions that make it safe for the baby to use the diaper. You can always experiment with different types of detergents to see which works the best to keep the baby’s diapers hygienic and free of stains.

[ Read: How To Use Cloth Diaper For Babies ]

Have tips on how to wash a baby’s cloth diapers? Tell us about them in the comment section below.

References:

1. Baking Sod — The Everyday Miracle; University of Wisconsin-Extension, Oconto County
2. Why do baking soda and vinegar react to each other?; University of California (2009)

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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games. LinkedIn profile – linkedin.com/in/rohit-garoo-263115aa
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