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Washing Cloth Diapers Tips & Myths

water image with text Clean

You Can Clean Your Cloth Diapers

The number one reason families *do not* choose cloth diapers as an option for their growing family is hesitancy about laundry and getting their diapers clean.

Let's debunk this a little and talk about how we can overcome it! If you are in cloth diapers part or full time, you probably have seen a plethora of differing opinions and misinformation when it comes to keeping these pieces of fabric clean. Something previous generations did without issue is now a hot mess of confusing jargon, "approved" wash routines and clean "tests" that take time and open Pandora's box of fixes with the added bonus of worry that your diapers could actually be harming your baby with trapped bacteria. Take a deep breath and remember, you can successfully clean cloth diapers without overcomplicating things.

Keep Your Wash Routine Simple


Cloth diaper washing IS easy! The graphic below outlines this in four simple steps from start to finish, nothing more, nothing less. Your detergent can be a mainstream detergent, and if you have sensitivities email us for recommendations! Much like your favorite cookie recipe, once you start adding a-pinch-of-this and a toss-of-that, things can get complicated. As you stray from these four steps, all of a sudden you may notice stains or odors creeping up.

cloth diaper basic wash routine

Signs Your Diapers Are Not Clean


Odors. Simply put, odors. Stains happen, especially with new foods, illness, teeth, all kinds of things! Sunning wet diapers outside (yes, even in the winter!) is very effective and for stubborn you can use Shout stain remover gel. Stains fade over time and are not indicative of a poor wash routine.

Odors can also be normal at two times:

  • for soiled diapers in your pail
  • overnight diapers in the morning

Diapers are fabric, and if they are sitting in urine + feces for hours at a time, you will have odors coming from them. When odor is not normal:

  • A freshly peed-in diaper
  • Fresh out of the dryer

Such orders indicate you need to disinfect and troubleshoot the wash routine, email us for help!

cloth diaper laundry meme

Let's talk about Build Up"


Can detergent buildup in your diapers? Yes. Is this indicated by dribbling water on them? No. What about slightly murky water after swishing them around in a glass of water? No. See this article or email us if you're concerned you may have some kind of build up in your cloth diapers.

MOST issues of leaking are from fit or absorbency issues, not buildup. If you have enough detergent buildup to repel urine, the diapers will have odors. Even the most fragrant detergent cannot hide this smell, you will have a perfumed-feces smell (not pleasant, don't recommend, 0 out of 4 stars).

If your diapers are leaking, email us for fit and absorbency troubleshooting, we are happy to help.

cloth diaper laundry tips

Bleach & Cloth Diapers


Bleach seems to be a 5 letter word in the cloth diaper world. Chlorine bleach is necessary for some parts of your cloth diaper journey, but should not be a *regular* part of it. If your wash routine continually leaves your diapers full of odors, email us to fix it. An occasional and necessary bleach wash cycle (not soak) may be needed during a bacterial rash issue, yeast, pre-used diapers, and other medical or disinfecting circumstances. Email us for help with how to do this and lessen the impact on your diapers <3

Remember diaper laundry does not have to be complicated or scary and we're here to help. You can clean your little ones' cloth diapers!

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  • I wish I had read this before I started our cloth diaper journey. Very helpful even now. Great tips & tricks.

    Madalina Manolea on
  • Love Thirsties diapers. Love the wash routine keep it simple yes we complicate it for no reason

    Tulani Graham on
  • This is all such helpful info for beginners! I wish I had it when we first started a few months back because I was running into some problems. Thanks for making such a user friendly guide!

    Jessi on
  • So many great tips and it sounds simple and easy! Thank you for sharing this!

    Pat F on
  • This is helpful info!

    Brook Escobedo on

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