Washing Your Diapers
Cloth diapers may be user-friendly these days, but you still have to wash them. Once you get used to your cloth diaper home cleaning routine it won't seem like too much extra work. Your extra effort will be justified by the fact that you are doing what's best for the health of your baby and the environment.
Cloth diapers should be washed at least every 3 or 4 days. On wash day, first run a cold water cycle with a very small amount of clean-rinsing detergent and a generous amount of water. Follow with a warm water cycle - again adding just a small amount of detergent. This is a general wash routine - always follow the washing instructions for the diapers you have. If you have a combination of styles your diapers may need to be washed separately.
Your laundry detergent should not only be free of dyes and perfumes but should also be clean-rinsing. Any detergent residue remaining on your diapers can repel liquid (causing leaks) or lead to lingering smells. Adding too much detergent to your load can also cause these problems. Finding a clean-rinsing detergent is harder than you think as most free-and-clear varieties have additional ingredients, such as softeners or brighteners, that can cause a build-up of residue.
Tried-and-true clean-rinsing detergents that parents love include Allen's Naturally, Charlie's Soap, and Country Save. See how cloth diapering parents have rated several laundry detergents by visiting this detergent chart.
If your diapers seem to have a detergent residue build-up, wash your diapers with the warmest water recommended without adding any additional detergent. If you see bubbles in the wash water, you have added too much detergent in previous loads. Keep washing until the bubbles disappear and use less detergent next time.
Check your diapers' washing instructions to see if line-drying or tumble drying is recommended. Exposure to high temperatures may compromise the waterproofing ability of some diapers and covers. When possible, use a clothesline to air-dry diapers in the sun. Not only will you be saving energy, but the sunlight will naturally remove most staining.