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Cloth Diaper Laundry: Are You Wasting Time?

image of diaper laundry on bed

One of the most common reasons we hear from people deciding not to cloth diaper is that they “don’t have the time” to do cloth diaper laundry. Although we will be the first ones to tell you that yes, cloth diapering does mean a touch more laundry, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways you can save time washing cloth diapers.

Have you ever wondered how you could possibly save time doing laundry?

In this article, we are going to share all our best time saving tips and tricks to get you more comfortable with your cloth diaper laundry and help explain a few steps that may make you change your mind about how long cloth diaper laundry really takes.

Changing Your Routine


The number one place that people waste time doing cloth diaper laundry is continuously changing routines. It’s easy to get distracted when a friend recommends a new detergent or maybe you get a new washer and you start to play with the settings. However, changing your routine can set you up for less than clean diapers and frustration down the road.

In the midst of all the changes, it’s possible that your diapers are not coming completely clean. Buildup, especially ammonia buildup, can happen over time. In other words, you may not notice right away that changing your routine isn’t getting your diapers as clean as it should be, but eventually, you will end up with a problem you didn’t need to have.

The best cloth diaper routines are those that are tried and true, used often and are fairly simple. Remember that changing any part of your routine means you may also have to change another for your diapers to come out clean.

#protip When possible, print out and laminate your cloth diaper laundry routine. Hang it in your laundry room so that if someone wants to switch a load or help out, they will know exactly what step you are on and how to help.

Complicated Routines


Equally as bad as changing your routine frequently, is trying to use overly complicated routines with several products and cycles. The more products you add to your water, the more need to be properly washed out to keep your diapers clean. And if you are using long and complicated wash cycles, there is probably room for improvement in choosing the correct cycles for your cloth diapers.

Thirsties Laundry Tips is a great (and free!) resource for identifying a simple, easy to use routine that will get your diapers clean every time. In general, a great routine to use would be the following:

  1. Pre-wash on WARM with a small amount of detergent.
  2. Long, heavy duty wash on HOT with the recommended amount of detergent.
  3. Rinse on WARM, adding an extra rinse.



To save time while drying, you can remove your pocket shells, duo wraps and wet bags and hang dry them. The dry so quickly that they don't need to take up useful space in your drier. This will also protect the TPU fabric from breaking down due to excessive heat and give the items that need drying more room.

Inserts, prefolds, and anything made of absorbent fibers can be dried on medium. If you don't have a drier or you are choosing to hang dry everything, a good way to save time is to put your drying rack over a vent in your home and put the heaviest items (or the items with the most layers) on the bottom.

#protip Know your dryer. If your dryer has a tendency to run extremely hot or very long cycles, adjust your routine accordingly. Excessive heat can damage TPU/PUL and therefore lose the waterproofing ability of your diaper.

Switching Loads


Switching loads is absolutely an area where I tend to waste time. How many of us have heard the signal go off, been distracted by a poopy diaper and all of a sudden five minutes turned into 3 hours and now your cycle needs to run again? I don't know about you, but this is me almost every load.

Here are some great tips to try and keep loads switched up quickly and on time:

  1. Turn on that signal. Sometimes, you really do need to have a signal to remind you when you clothes are dry or when your washer is done. However, if babies are napping or dogs can get loud, this may not work for you. So...
  2. Set an alarm on your watch or timer in your kitchen. Inevitably, if I have to walk into the kitchen to turn off the signal and I find nothing baking, I will automatically remember that the timer is for the clothes and I hurry to switch loads.
  3. Leave the laundry room door open and the light on if there is a load going. My husband is insistent that we turn every light off all the time, so if there is a light on in the house, there's a good reason for it. In this case, it's to remind me that there is a load of laundry going!

#protip I like to start cloth diaper laundry before I leave the house to run errands. That way, I know the first thing I need to do when I get home is switch the loads!

Folding Cloth Diapers


Fun fact: You don't actually HAVE to fold cloth diapers. If folding isn't your thing, a clean laundry basket where the clean diapers live is just fine too. Don't feel like your diaper stash needs to look Instagram ready at all times to be 'successfully' cloth diapering.

Some people actually find folding diapers really relaxing. Try just putting in a podcast, focusing on folding and let your mind shut off a little bit. It could be just the break you need! And if it isn't? Chuck those clean dipes in the clean basket and call it a day. #youdoyou#

Accept Help


Remember when we talked about laminating your routine and hanging it up somewhere on the wall? That's part of accepting help. Your routine should be easy to read and easy to do.

And accept help! If grandma or husband offers to do cloth diaper laundry, point them to the correct detergent and the instructions and take the help. I know that cloth diapers being 'ruined' is always a scary thing, but if your directions are clear and simple, you should have a much easier time accepting (and receiving) help.

#protip Try switching up a chore with your partner if you are having a hard time getting them to participate. Maybe take a chore that isn't their favorite off of their plate and then request cloth diaper laundry help. And remember, there's clear instructions, so if can't be too hard.



As a mom to no less than four tiny humans, any and all time saving tricks are welcome at my house! Even after my almost decade of cloth diapering, I am still constantly looking for ways to save time and just get it done.

One thing I always found therapeutic was stuffing or folding diapers. I would put on a show or just spend some quiet time in the living room and stuff and fold until I was done. It was always weirdly a peaceful thing for me to do once the diapers were clean.

Do you have any laundry saving tips we didn't mention? Are you a super fan of one specific tip or do you use several of these? Tell us in the comments!

You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For more cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.

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