How To Wash Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers may seem like a daunting task, but with the right routine and a few helpful tips, it can be a breeze. Let’s talk all things cloth diaper wash routine, how to get it right for your machine, water, and more, and what to do when things go wrong. Let's dive in!

Recommended Wash Routine for Cloth Diapers

When it comes to washing your cloth diapers, following a consistent routine is key. First, we recommend washing your cloth diapers at least every 3 days to avoid ammonia build up. Next, get your routine right. Here are the steps we recommend:

Get rid of poop:

Before tossing the diaper into the wash, make sure to get rid of any solid waste. You can either use a sprayer to rinse off the poop or simply dunk and swish until it comes off easily. Some folks even have a dedicated cloth diaper spatula to help plop solids where they belong - in the toilet!

Did you know that even disposable diaper brands recommend dumping as much solids into the toilet as you can before discarding? We really don’t want human waste in the landfill, it belongs at a water treatment plant.

A lot depends on how far along into solid foods your baby is, as the consistency will change a lot.


Start by running a pre-wash cycle on your cloth diapers with warm water and a recommended brand/amount of detergent. At Lil Helper, we recommend Line 1 of Tide Original Powder. This helps remove any urine or light soiling from the diapers.

Main wash:

After the pre-wash, run a main wash cycle on warm/cold with a commercially available detergent like Tide. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage based on load size.

Hang to dry:

Whenever possible, hang your cloth diapers to dry instead of using a dryer. Not only does this save energy, but it also helps prolong the lifespan of your diapers. Avoiding unnecessary heat will protect the PUL and the elastics, so this is especially important for your diaper covers.

Use the sun for stain removal:

If you notice any stains on your cloth diapers after washing, don't worry! Simply hang them outside in direct sunlight for natural stain removal. And remember, at the end of the day, your cloth diapers are made to be pooped in. So while Lil Helper designs all our products to hide stains, stains happen and they won’t hurt your little one.

Bulk up your load:

To ensure proper agitation during the wash cycle, it's important to bulk up your load with other laundry items like small towels or baby clothes.

Hard Water and High Efficiency Machines

If you have hard water in your area, you may need to modify your wash routine slightly. You may need to add a water softener like borax to your pre-wash and main wash cycles. This helps prevent mineral buildup on your cloth diapers.

If you have a High Efficiency or front loading washing machine, you may need to adjust your wash routine in order to prevent detergent build up.

If your inserts aren’t passing the swish test, consider adding an extra rinse cycle at the end of your main wash to ensure all detergent residues are thoroughly removed.

By following these recommended wash routines, you can keep your cloth diapers clean and fresh for your little one's comfort.

Having trouble getting it just right? Need help troubleshooting the perfect wash routine? Diapers not getting clean and you aren’t sure why? You can reach out to us for personalized help at any time at

So go ahead and give it a try! Washing cloth diapers doesn't have to be complicated when you have the right routine in place. Happy diapering!

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