Cloth Diaper FAQs
Here you will find a listing of the most common questions. Can't find what you're looking for? Please send us a note!
I have my new diapers, now what?New diapers must be "prepped" before using. I like to think of it as using a new towel; a new towel doesn't absorb very well until after the first several uses. Wash new natural fibre diapers/inserts 3-5 times and microfibre diapers/inserts 1-2 times including the drying cycle before using on your babe. Most cloth diapers don’t work to their full potential until washed several times. This applies especially to natural fibers as they tend to have more natural oil present that must be removed to increase absorbency. Also, be sure to keep natural fibres separate from microfibre during the prep stage.
Check out Bummis washing resource for more info on prepping natural fibres.
What do I do with the dirty diapers?
After removing the diaper and ensuring babe is in a safe place, knock off the solids into the toilet. Whatever solids don’t fall off can be swished in the toilet, or another option is to use a diaper sprayer to rinse off the diaper over the toilet. Alternatively a reusable or disposable liner to make it easier to remove the solids.
If you have an exclusively breastfed baby (EBF); solid removal is not necessary as an EBF baby’s poop is water soluble and will be washed away very easily in the washing process.
If you are using a pocket diaper, always remove the insert and store both pieces in your pail or bag (after removing solids).
If your cover becomes soiled, you can store it in a the same pail or bag unless they require different care instructions (wool).
If you have a toddler in diapers, overnight diapers will be very wet with urine (and will stink loudly). Rinsing the overnight diapers by squishing or diaper spray will help to remove urine, making the washing process easier.
How do I wash my diapers?
I recommend washing your diapers every 2–3 days or more frequently. Come laundry day, I dump all of my dry pail contents into the front loading (HE) washer followed by the pail liner. Here are my suggestions, consult with the manufacturer regarding specifics.
Front-Loading (HE) Machines
Set the washer to a pre-rinse with on a Bulky (or Heavy Duty) cycle of hot wash, cold rinse with the recommended amount of detergent. Add an extra rinse and use any features such as Water Plus to increase the volume of water used as HE washers don't use enough water. Bulky and Heavy Duty settings typically increase the washing time as well as add extra water. Really get to know your machine and find out how to get extra water in the cycles. Rockin’ Green has a great compilation of washing machines and the specific washing machine settings that seem to work the best for cloth diapers. Find it here.
Set the washer to do a pre-soak and then a quick spin before doing the hot wash/cold rinse. No extra-rinse is typically needed with a top loading washer as it uses much more water than an HE washer. You will have to use more detergent, so check the detergent manufacturer's recommendations.
Hard Water Alert
Hard water typically requires more detergent to clean effectively, so you may need to use more detergent than the detergent instructions. You can use test strips to find out if your water is hard. Alternatively, if you have soft water, you will need to use less detergent.
Drying Your Diapers
After the wash, weather permitting, sunning your diapers (outside or in a window inside) is the best way to dry your diapers. The sun helps to remove any remaining stains that may be left on the diapers, kill viruses and bacteria and save energy.
If sun drying isn’t an option, I dry my diapers on a low to mid heat setting with Wool Dryer Balls . The dryer balls help to fluff up the diapers and liners increasing their absorbency as well as decrease the drying time. Do not use a dryer sheet as they can affect the absorbency of the diapers and inserts. If you are using AIO diapers, they tend to take an extra 15-20 minutes for drying.
Wool covers should be hand washed in the sink every other week (depending on usage) or whenever soiled. I use a small amount of Wool Wash and warm water. After the diapers soak for about 10 minutes, they’re rolled in a towel to remove excess water. Do not rinse the wool wash out! Wool covers do need to be lanolized every so often, depending on their usage, which involves adding lanolin to the wash process. Each manufacturer has more specific instructions.
Once excess water has been absorbed I hang the covers to finish drying. Wool covers can take up to 2 days to dry due to their absorptive properties, so I do recommend having at least 2 covers to rotate each night to allow them to dry in between uses. Never hang your wool covers in direct sunlight as this will cause them to become discolored.
The DO List
- Use recommended detergent amount if available for diapers.
- Dry in sun to remove stains.
- Sprinkle your pail or bag with Rockin' Green Shakers or The Laundry Tarts Shakers to help with odors (optional).
- Follow the diaper manufactures' instruction to ensure you do not void your warranty!
- Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets. These will coat the diapers making them water repellent.
- Don’t use chlorinated bleach unless okay for use by the manufacturer.
- Do NOT wash wool covers in the washer
- Never hang your wool in direct sunlight
- Do NOT use zinc based creams on baby's bottom without protecting the diaper with a liner. Zinc based creams tend to affect the diaper's absorbency. If using reusable liners, ensure you wash liners separate from the diapers.
My diapers smell. How can I fix that?
If you are finding that your diapers are smelling like ammonia or repelling liquid, it is time to strip your diapers. These issues occur generally due to detergent residual/build up or the use of creams that are not cloth diaper safe.
There are a few options to try:
1. Wash and spin diapers in hot water for several cycles WITHOUT detergent. Dry as normal. If this doesn't work, then try one of the next 2 options.
2. Rock a soak with Funk Rock by Rockin' Green or The Laundry Tarts Strip It. Follow manufacturers directions.
3. Use an oxygenated bleach following manufacturer directions.
If they are spelling of urine or barnyard, you may not be using enough detergent. Increase your detergent amounts and see if the smell goes away.
If yeast is the problem, this link is a very helpful guide by Bummis.
Bummis has a troubleshooting app called Wrap Up. It is very useful to discover the issue. Rockin' Green's Article section has great instructions on how to rock a soak.
If you are still having issues, contact Adventures of Little, or best, contact the manufacturer directly. They are experts in their products and have solutions to many issues specific to their diapers.
If your child is sick, taking medications, or has just been immunized, special care should be taken when changing soiled diapers. It is recommended that diapers be thoroughly rinsed before placing them in the dry pail. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
How do I find the manufacturers’ recommended care and warranty policies?
- AMP Diapers
- Peach Baby
- Sugarpeas, Jamtots, Baby Kangas
- Mother ease
I need more help, how can I get it?Directly contacting the manufacturer would be the next best bet.