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Caring for Cloth Diapers

If you've chosen to use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones, read on to find out how to make cleaning your baby's diapers as quick and easy as possible.


Baby's cloth diapers

Many of us are put off using reusable diapers as we often wonder – kaya ba talagang siyang malinis ng maigi? We worry that we won’t be able to achieve the high standard of hygiene we all want for our precious little ones. But with the proper methods and the right products, you’ll find that caring for cloth diapers safely and effectively is incredibly easy.

Reusable diapers come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that you wash them safely. Important information includes how often the diapers will need to be washed before their first use, its suggested wash temperature, and how it can be dried.

How Do You Clean a Cloth Diaper?

The major differences between general laundry and cleaning cloth diapers are:

● Diapers should be washed on a cold cycle before undergoing a normal hot or warm wash.

● Diaper washing must be done very regularly, every one to three days.

● Diapers should only be washed alone.

Some common questions about using cloth diapers like “How do you store diapers once they’ve been dirtied?” and “How do you clean a cloth diaper before storage?” are simple to answer. Everything you need to know is right here in this complete guide. And once you learn these tips, cleaning reusable diapers really is simple and easy!

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  1. How to make a diaper washing timetable

  2. How to wash reusable diapers before their first use

As with most aspects of raising a child, routine is essential, especially when using cloth diapers. With a newborn, it’s likely that you’ll need to do a wash every one and a half to two days, but the amount of diapers you use will lessen as your little one gets bigger and older. Decide which days of the week will be convenient for you to wash your cloth diapers, and adapt this timetable every month or so to suit your baby’s development.

It’s best to stick to your timetable, and to never leave more than three days between washes. This ensures you’re not short on any clean reusable diapers. After all, there’s nothing worse than feeling like nagkulang ka as a parent, literally and figuratively. Sticking to a timetable also prevents odor issues caused by older dirty diapers. With a little organization, you will find that your diaper washing routine soon becomes second nature.

Whether you’re waiting for your little one to arrive, or making the switch from disposable to reusable, you will need to allow time to prewash newly bought cloth diapers to maximize their capacity for absorption.

The number of washing cycles required before you can use the diapers will vary depending on the type of diaper and material, so check the care recommendations when buying reusable diapers. However, all types of cloth diapers will need at least one wash before use, not only to ensure they’re clean enough for your baby, but also to avoid leaks when the diaper is first used.

How do you clean a cloth diaper and store before washing?

There are two main options for storing used cloth diapers before you wash them: using a diaper bin or using waterproof bags. Many parents put used diapers into a bin half-filled with water, with either vinegar or specialist detergents for cloth diapers to target odor and to aid in removing dirt. If you choose this method, it is advisable to put all the diapers into a large net bag inside the bin, so that removing them is easy, and you can just empty the water straight into the toilet. However, some reusable diapers are not suitable for soaking, so do check the manufacturer's instructions. Whether using a diaper bin or individual waterproof bags, you should remove as much dirt as possible before storing. Some reusable diapers include a flushable disposable liner, while others need to be held over the toilet while you use toilet paper to remove the worst of it. This step is often unnecessary with newborn babies, as anything with a thin consistency will come out easily in the wash, but anyone who’s had the pleasure of changing a toddler’s diaper will understand the need!

How to wash reusable diapers

Washing machines have made cleaning cloth diapers a thousand times easier than it used to be. However, be careful not to overload your machine, as space and movement will be necessary to clean diapers effectively. Also, never put other clothing items in a diaper wash! We don’t want to ruin those pieces with your little one’s mess.

To wash reusable diapers, you will need to use a cold cycle to remove stains, followed immediately by a normal warm or hot wash cycle. This is because initially heat will make stains set in, but ultimately, it’s necessary to eliminate any germs. It’s nice to use a detergent that’s specially made for baby’s clothes, like . It’s important not to use too much, and you should always read the instructions on the label first.

Drying cloth diapers

After washing reusable diapers, you can dry them just as you would any other laundry. Drying reusable diapers in the sun can help to keep them a brighter white, especially if you add a little lemon juice to your wash. This can make cloth diapers stiff if they dry too fast, however, so drying inside or in the tumble dryer may be preferable.

Find out more information on how to wash baby clothes. Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress? Then read our Heated Household data analysis.

Frequently asked questions on washing and cleaning cloth baby diapers

Can you hand wash cloth diapers?

Yes! You can hand wash cloth diapers. Start by pre-soaking the diapers for half an hour in a bucket filled with water and a few drops of detergent. Next, move onto washing diapers by filling your bathtub half full with warm water and adding the recommended amount of detergent for a standard wash cycle. Pop the dirty diapers into the tub and agitate for 3-5 minutes. You can do this with a stick, a plunger, or even your hand (wearing rubber gloves). Repeat this process with hot water and use the soft scrubbing brush to tackle any staining. Rinse the diapers in cool water and squeeze out the excess liquid before hanging them out to dry. Cloth diapers should always be placed to dry on a clothesline or drying rack, never on direct heat or in a dryer, as this could shorten their lifespan.

How do I go about storing cloth diapers?

Storing cloth diapers is simple. For clean diapers that you are still using, we recommend storing them in a drawer or changing stand, close to hand for diaper changes. For soiled diapers after a change, use a diaper pail. To save money, why not put a mesh laundry bag into a standard trash bin? It will do the same job and cost less than a specialised product. For long-term storage after potty training, there are 2 simple rules for diaper storage: keep them cool and keep them dry. Avoid attics where they could be exposed to high levels of heat and basements where they could be exposed to high levels of moisture.

How do you put a cloth diaper on a baby?

The steps for how to put a cloth diaper on a baby are not as hard as you may think. You can actually purchase cloth diapers which work in a similar fashion to their disposable counterparts. The two easiest are pocket diapers and all-in-ones. Pocket diapers simply need an absorbent layer placing inside the pocket and then you put it on the baby and do the poppers or velcro up at the front. All-in-ones need no stuffing at all, they are – as the name suggests – all encompassing, so you simply pop them onto the baby and do them up with the fastening, which could be poppers or Velcro depending on the brand. For a more old-fashioned cloth diaper such as a terry towel you will need to fold them, place them on the baby, use a snappi or diaper pin to prevent them unfolding, and then use a wrap over the top as the waterproof layer which will hold it all in place. To prevent leaking, always ensure that the wrap is snugly fit around the legs and back and that you have folded the cloth properly for the best absorbency.

What can I do about bed bugs in diapers?

If you have found bed bugs in diapers, it is important to first isolate the diaper and identify the source. It’s likely that it has come from their bed, car seat or even day care. Once you have identified the source, take appropriate action to eliminate all traces of the bed bugs. Vacuum floors, carpets, mattresses, and other surfaces. Wash all clothing, bedding and covers where possible. You should also check other family members' rooms, beds, and living spaces. Finally, wash any bites your child has with soap and water. Speak to your doctor if you think that they may require medication.

Originally published