How to wash cloth diapers for the first time
When you’re expecting a baby, there are a lot of things that need to be done. You’ll need to buy everything from cribs and car seats to diapers and baby food. However, one thing you might not have considered yet is how to wash cloth diapers for the first time. This can seem like an overwhelming task at first when there are so many different brands and types out there (not just plain old cloth ones), but it doesn’t have to be so difficult if you take it step by step!
Clean the area that you’ll do the laundry.
- Remove old laundry. Take all of your dirty diapers and throw them in a basket or other container, preferably one that you’ll be able to wash later.
- Clean the tub. Fill it with warm (not hot) water, add some bleach if necessary, then take everything out and let it sit overnight before rinsing with cold water in the morning. If you have hard water or other issues with your tap water that make this step difficult for you, consider buying an inexpensive shower head filter instead—it may save your sanity when washing cloth diapers!
- Clean the sink and countertop where you’ll be doing laundry: Run hot water over these surfaces so there’s no residue left behind from last time’s washing cycle; then rub down any stuck-on bits using vinegar or lemon juice (or both), followed by a quick rinse with clean water just before putting on new clothes/diapers again 🙂
Gather your tools and supplies.
- Gather your tools and supplies.
- Make sure you have enough detergent to wash the diapers, and make sure it’s organic bamboo powder detergent. You will also need a tub (or laundry basket), towel, diaper sprayer and baby wipes if you are using cloth diapers for your baby. Whatever fabric softener sheets you use should be safe for cloth dipes—check their ingredients before buying!
Fill the tub with cold water and a small amount of detergent.
Fill the tub with cold water and a small amount of detergent. Don’t use too much detergent, as it can irritate baby’s skin.
- A good rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent per cup (8 ounces) of warm or hot water. If your diaper pail has measurements on it, then you can use them as guideposts for filling up your washing machine with this mixture. If not, just mix everything together until it looks like mud and then add more water if necessary until you have enough liquid to cover all of your diapers comfortably.*
- If you’re using cloth diapers that are new to you and haven’t been washed before: check out our tutorial on how we wash cloth diapers here!
Soak the diapers overnight.
Soak your diapers overnight. If you have time, soak them in a tub or bucket filled with warm water for at least 12 hours (24 if you’re in a hurry).
If your diapers are older and/or more fragile than newer ones, consider giving them a longer soak instead of rushing through this step.
Drain the tub.
Drain the tub. Use a large bucket or laundry basket to hold your diapers and any other items you’d like to keep out of the way while they’re soaking. If you don’t have a tub, use bath mat or towel in place of it—and make sure that they are placed on top of the drain so no water can spill over them during washing and rinsing.
If you have an infant-sized tub (which is what we recommend), then place individual cloth diapers one at a time into their own separate containers for drying; these small dryers are often called “pail liners” because they fit into your standard kitchen pail liner holder (though there are other options as well). Once all of your dirty cloths have been placed in these pails, turn on some music while they soak until completely wet before rinsing them again with warm water and turning off the lights so no one gets shocked by static electricity!
Refill the tub with hot water and rinse with another small amount of detergent.
- Fill the tub with hot water and add a small amount of detergent. The more soap you use, the less likely it is that your diapers will be stained or smell bad when you wash them again.
- Rinse until water is clear and then let air-dry on a towel for about 10 minutes before putting into pail or bag to dry completely
Hang up or lay flat to dry.
Once you’ve washed the diapers, hang them up or lay flat to dry. If you don’t have room to hang them, lay them flat. Don’t leave your freshly washed cloth diapers in direct sunlight as this can cause damage to the fabric and other materials used in their construction.
Don’t put them in a dryer—they’ll get tangled up with your other laundry and end up looking like soggy balls of fuzz if they’re not taken out right away! Instead, let them air dry completely so that any excess moisture has had time to evaporate before folding back into shape for use again later on down the road (or until next time).
Wash baby’s first cloth diapers by hand in the bathtub to make sure they’re clean for use.
Handwashing is the fastest, most environmentally friendly way to wash cloth diapers. It’s also more economical and convenient than using a washing machine. If you have time, hand-wash all of your diapers in the bathtub before use; if not, make sure that each diaper gets a good rinse before putting it back on your baby.
The process for washing cloth diapers by hand starts by filling up a large tub with warm water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). You should add some mild soap or detergent to this water; just don’t overdo it! Make sure your hands are washed before loading up the washing machine so that there won’t be any soap residue left between them when they’re used later on down life’s road (or maybe even today).
So, don’t worry about washing your cloth diapers. There are many advantages to using them and it’s a great way to save money, too! If you’re still worried about how often do I need to wash my cloth diapers? The answer is: as little as possible. We recommend that people thoroughly rinsing their diapers with water every few days will be enough for most people.