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How To Clean Cloth Diapers

There are a lot of myths that cloth diapering is very difficult and messy. I would like to write this article to help point out some truths about the ease of how to clean cloth diapers.

Warning, some points in this article will be graphic and to the point. I have included a video at the beginning to help explain how simple it is to clean a cloth diaper.

I will admit you will be doing laundry frequently, but that really isn’t a big deal. You will be saving so much money over the cost over disposables.


What Do I Do With The Poop


Let’s get the most uncomfortable topic out-of-the-way first. Yes if they were in disposable diapers you could just wrap it up and throw it away. Instead, all you have to do is flush the poop down the toilet.


I have read a number of different articles and watched many videos but they all say about the same thing. You need to clean the poop immediately. Why, Elaine do you need to do that? Well there are many reasons. I will briefly address them here in this article.

  • The smell in the room
  • The stain it can leave
  • The irritation it can cause the baby
  • The early breakdown of the diapers
  • The over all look of the diapers

Dealing with the poop is a whole article on it’s on but this article is about washing the cloth diapers. So our next process will be letting them soak.



First we will put all the diaper, liners, covers, cloth rags, diaper bag turned inside out, and a small amount of detergent in the washer. Next I will discuss the settings for your machine.
First we will turn the dial of the washer to hot to sanitize the diapers. We don’t want to use any fabric softener because this will cause the diapers to lose their absorbency and that’s not a good idea.


We also want to set the washer on the extra rinse cycle so everything gets nice and coated. What I mean by that, is that all the pee and poop will be covered. You want to get all the poop and pee soaked in detergent during the first wash.



Soap Debate      

As I was reading and watching many hours of videos there was a debate on what kind of detergent to use. The main conclusion I have found is the type of diaper and the material used is what makes the difference. In other words, if you are using microfiber you need to use a special detergent made only for cloth diapers. On the other hand, if you are using cotton or a natural product you can use any detergent that is good for your baby’s sensitive skin. With either product you will need to add a booster to help clean and whiten the whites and brighten the brights.


Like I said before, you soak the diapers in hot and I will further explain why below.



What Temp     

You soak in hot water to sanitize. Well that makes sense. In my research I found mixed reviews about this step. Some found this great while other thought it unnecessary. To me, personally, it makes sense but I also can see where the controversy can lie because this does add an extra step. The end result is to have nice clean diapers that are fresh for your baby. It creates the end result so you have to look at whether that extra step is worth a healthy baby bottom that smell all nice, fresh and clean. As I read, the nose knows! The next step is to do a pre-wash as I will describe below.





During this pre-wash you will NOT add any detergent. This cycle is to mainly get out the pee and poop that remains in your diapers. You do not change the other settings on your washer such as temperature, extra rinse, and normal/heavy-duty. Of course, like I said before you NEVER want to use fabric soften so that setting is always turned off.


The next step will be to do the main wash cycle.




Main Wash  

During this last washing you will want to add more detergent and booster. You don’t change any of the settings except the wash cycle. By this I mean you put the machine on super wash and let it run it’s course. When it is done your diapers will be nice, clean and ready for the dyer/air.


I will explain what goes where in the next few steps.




To Dry    

In the dryer you will put all the cloth rags and white diapers only. For the reason you never use fabric softener, is the is same reason use dryer sheets. A diaper with no absorbency is no beuno. You will want to set your dryer on hot so you get your diaper good and sanitized plus dry. A mildewed diaper is not something you want to have on your baby’s bottom. Neither do you want to smell that when it is mixed with urine or worse.


Now we will talk about what you place out to air dry.




Air Dry  

There are somethings that you washed that need to be air dried. Things like all the diaper covers and the diaper bag. The reason you air dry them is that the dryer can break down the elastics and plastics in the diapers causing them to not last as long. You don’t want to put on a diaper and have a snap melted off because you dried it.


Another option would be to dry the white diapers, cloths, and everything outside in the sun. Any stains that may have been there would definitely be gone. They also would smell great!


The last step is to fold.




Ready For Another Day 


The remaining step is to fold everything and put it all away where it belongs With pre-fold diapers you would simply snap and fold the covers. Then fold the white diapers.


With pocket diapers you will need to stuff the diapers.


The point is get the diapers ready for use again no matter what style they are.


Now I hope you see how simple it is to clean cloth diapers. I had fun researching this article and watching hours of videos.




I have talked about nine steps to get a cloth diaper clean. So let’s review them briefly.

  1. The Poop should be flushed immediately.
  2. Use a small amount of detergent during the soak time.
  3. The detergent type depends on the style of diaper.
  4. Hot water is used to sanitize.
  5. No added detergent during the pre-wash.
  6. Add more detergent but the cycles on the machine don’t change during the main wash.
  7. The dryer is used for whites only.
  8. Air dry cover and pail liner.
  9. Get diapers ready for using again.



If you have any questions or need a hand, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.


All the Best,


Elaine Smith






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5 Proper Diaper Changing Procedures

Today I want to list the proper diaper changing procedures. But before we can begin, there is one very important item we must take care of.

What item is that, Elaine? Well, silly, We need to wash and dry our hand. We don’t want to get germs on the baby, now do we?
Oh yeah, also we need to lay out another cover and diaper just in case. In fact, why don’t I just tell you the supplies you will need. That way you can have them ready when it’s time to change the baby.

You will need:




First thing to do is unfasten the diaper cover, (that would be the colorful one) and pull it down. The next step would be to unfasten the dirty diaper, (usually white) and also pull it down but only half way. This way if you are changing a little boy you can put another clean absorbent cloth or something to cover his penis so you don’t get sprayed by flying urine.




Now the reason you brought the front of the diaper down is so you could use it to clean the baby’s bottom. You will fold the dirty diaper in half just for a moment. Plus this will give the baby extra padding.


Clean the baby’s front with a cloth/wipe. Remember if it’s a girl to use the front to back wiping method to keep germs out of her vagina.


Now gently lift the baby’s bottom off the changing surface by holding both ankles in one hand and lifting very carefully and gently in an upward direction. If your baby has pooped, grab another wipe so you can clean the bottom. Lift the legs as I have described before and be sure to clean in the creases of their wiggly legs and thunder thighs. This sometimes will get missed!! Many grandmas just loves to pinch this area when they are loving on the child.
If there is time to let them air dry that’s great but if not then just pat them dry with a clean cloth. If it’s needed at this time you can apply some diaper cream but make sure it is approved to work with cloth diapers. Remember you only need a thin layer!


Last thing is you will want to remove the soiled diaper and cover if necessary. Remember though, Safety first, so if you are changing the baby on a changing table just put the soiled diaper to the side. You can deal with it later when the baby is safely off the table.



Now we will discuss how to line up the clean diaper plus touch on the difference for a newborn.


Place the clean diaper underneath your baby so the back edge is lined up at about the waist. You will pull the front part to the baby’s tummy. One note here, if you baby is a boy you will want to point his penis down so he is less likely to pee over the top of the diaper.


Then for Newborns, be sure that the back of the diaper is higher than the front. You don’t want the fabric to rub on the umbilical cord stump. Many newborn diapers and covers will have snaps or fold-down areas for the cord.


Well, now that your baby is back in a clean, fresh diaper you will need to wash your hand again. Just in case you got some germs on you while changing their diaper. Once you have the baby in a safe location you can go back to take care of that dirty diaper. Of course, you will want to take care of that before you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.



Now here are a few tips that I hope you will find useful.

  1. Make sure the middle of the diaper that is between the baby’s legs is spread as wide as possible. Too much material in that area can cause discomfort and rashes. After all I wouldn’t want to walk around with a bunch of material between my legs either. Just makes sense to me.
  2. Fasten the cloth diaper with fasteners or pins. Make sure the diaper is tight but not so tight that it pinches. Diapers like per-folds and flats that you fold will need fasteners but there are some that have built-in snaps or tabs.
  3. Once the clean diaper is on, you will need to put on an outer cover. You can either use the one the baby had on, if it is still clean or put a clean one on. Just simply fasten the cover with its snaps or tabs.






So today we talked about the proper diaper changing procedures. Of course the very first step is to wash and dry your hands. This is important so we don’t spread germs to the baby as discussed in the beginning. We covered all the step-by-steps to changing a cloth diaper. If anyone still has questions a video has been included which should further explain this procedure. These steps will vary slightly with the style of diaper used and the age of the child.

I hope you took away some valuable information because I thoroughly enjoyed researching this. I myself delight in this topic and grasp great mysteries. I enjoy seeing the evolution of progression of what they were back in the 1950’s and what they are now.




If you have any questions or need a hand, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.


All the Best,


Elaine Smith