Our Wash Routine

I starting washing cloth diapers in Country Save, but quickly ran out of our sample packets (Thanks Go Baby Go for hooking us up with so many the first time we bought our cloth diapers). I had been researching and coincidentally had a bottle of Eco Nuts Soap, so I decided to try it out before I went and invested in more laundry detergent. I really wanted to love this soap because I had read so many cool things about the brand, but I just didn’t. For washing everyday laundry it does fine, but for washing cloth diapers, it just didn’t work. I’d have to pour half the bottle in there to get good clean cloth diapers. I was so bummed out, but that’s life sometimes, right?

I’ve got to attribute most of the problem to our terribly hard well water. It just takes some serious soap to get things done. Obviously, since Eco Nuts didn’t work for the cloth diapers, I had to go out and buy new detergent or never do laundry again. Appealing, but unlikely! I decided to give Rockin’ Green a try. I’m so glad I did! This soap works for our hard water and more than that after reading the back of the bag, I learned how to ‘rock a soak,’ which is why I added soaking to my wash routine. In our hard water, that extra step makes a pretty big difference in how clean my diapers come out. I admit if you have good water, this step is probably unnecessary except for every once in awhile. For us, we need it!

My husband puts the scrubbed out prefold inside the cover and carries it back to the pail.

After Logan has a major poop (they’re all major, I swear!), I always go through the trouble of rinsing them out. We toss whatever solid (he’s basically exclusively breastfed still so not much) into the toilet, use our sprayer when we can, and then we wash the rest by hand in the sink. You do not have to do this to get the staining out, but my husband and I are very Type A. As long as you empty any solids into the toilet, you can toss the poopy diaper into the pail and wait till laundry day. We just do that extra hand rinsing because we’re crazy about clean. Don’t judge!

When we first started washing cloth diapers, I had a lot of trouble pinning down a good wash routine. There is a lot of contradicting information on the internet.

My very first wash cycle looked like this:
  • Cold rinse
  • Hot wash
  • Cold rinse
  • Extra rinse
  • Line dry for 4+ hours
  • Fluff in the dryer for 20 minutes on low

It worked fine–not great, but luckily I order a ton of cloth diapers from Kiwi Baby Shop (affiliate link) and the owner, Yazhi, told me about what the Real Diaper Association recommends. She also told me that in order to get a stain out it is easier if you rinse in the same temperature water as the poop comes out of the body (a little gross, I know). This made a lot of sense to me. Sometimes it just takes someone explaining something in a certain way for it to click in my head. The good news is I’ve had a lot more luck getting our stains all the way out by using this routine:

  • Warm soak for 30-60 minutes (this step is completely optional, but I find it helps)
  • Warm Rinse
  • Hot wash with detergent
  • Warm Rinse
  • Extra Rinse
  • Line dry for 4+ hour (Disclaimer: the sun will bleach out your stains, but it will also bleach your cute diaper colors/prints if left out too long.)
  • Fluff in the dryer for 20 minutes on low
You can see the Real Diaper Association recommendations at Cloth Diaper Laundry Guide. While you’re there, check out the informative article on the WATCH Formula. It describes the factors for getting clean diapers–Water, Agitation, Time, Chemicals (i.e. detergent), and Heat. 

I need it known that our diapers look almost brand new after a wash routine and time in the sun. I wanted to share these photos with y’all of the before the wash and after because I think they are so striking! Sorry that the poop stains are a little nasty, but seriously from that to white again? Amazing!

If I can do it, you can do it too! Don’t let the worry that you’ll never get your diapers clean enough deter you from starting cloth. It may take a week of washing to get your detergent ratios right or you water ratios right, but you’ll get the hang of it. Trust me, when Logan pooped on his very first cloth diaper, I thought it was ruined forever. I was shocked when after some time in the sun it was back to normal. If you don’t believe me, maybe these pictures will persuade you.


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