Cloth Diaper Care

Disclaimer:
In addition to the diaper care instructions and advice we provide below, note that different manufacturers have different recommended procedures on how to care for their particular line of diapers. These procedures must be followed to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your cloth diapers.

General Wash and Care:
Generally speaking, always use a cloth diapers safe detergent (such as Rockin' Green or Allen's Naturally) and either line dry or use the dryer. If you choose to line dry, it will save you the cost of running your dryer - especially in the summer! In the winter, you may choose to line dry in the house by using a rolling rack or other clothing hanging device, and either using clip hangers, or clothes pins to air dry the diapers. If you choose to use the dryer, always ensure to avoid fabric softener - as it will cause a build-up on the diapers, which will require the diapers to be stripped. It is recommended that when cloth diapering, that no fabric softener is used on anything, or anywhere that the diapers will come into contact with, as there will be residual transfer to the diapers - reducing their effectiveness.

For a complete set of specific instructions by brand, please see the list below:

Omaiki Diaper Care Instructions
Apple Cheeks Care Instructions
AMP Diapers Care Instructions
bumGenius Diapers Care Instructions
Flip Diapers Care Instructions
Bummis Care Instructions
Nuggles Care Instructions
GroVia Care Instructions

An effective cloth diaper alternative to conventional liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets is wool dryer balls.

Cloth Diaper Safe Rash Cream
When your baby develops a diaper rash, it’s important to use a cloth diaper safe rash cream. This means that you need to find a cream that consists of coconut oil, calendula or shea butter. For a bad rash (even yeast) the addition of Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils (extremely diluted) proves to be very effective. These ingredients will be able to easily wash out of your cloth diapers in a regular wash cycle. Keep in mind that when using cloth diapers, you will also generally see less diaper rashes than if you were using disposables.

If you do not have any cloth diaper safe rash cream on hand, it’s important that you use a barrier between your cloth diaper and the 'traditional big box store brand' (anything that consists of zinc oxide, fish oils or any artificial waxes like paraffin waxes are a big no-no). Some of the barriers include a baby wash cloth, a cloth wipe, or a disposable/flushable liner.

It's very important to remember that if you are using a baby wash cloth or a cloth wipe - that you wash these separately from your cloth diapers to ensure that there is no transfer of the non-safe cream onto your cloth diapers via the washing machine. If you do end up getting a non-cloth diaper safe cream onto your cloth diapers, it may be necessary to do a stripping (spot cleaning). In this case, the stripping would be to remove the non-cloth diaper safe cream. In some instances this includes hand washing each affected diaper and liner and scrubbing the cream off the diaper fibers to render them absorbent and useful again.

For more information, please see our Diaper Care section above or contact the manufacturer for the best troubleshooting advice for their particular brand.


What about the smell?

When you leave your cloth diapers for too long between washes, they may start to obtain an odour that does not go away with a normal wash cycle. This is usually caused by a build-up of yeast on the liners.

Here's how you can deal with this:
(If you don't have a top-load, we recommend visiting someone who does, as it will make the rinsing process much simpler. If you don't have access to a top-load washing machine, you can also soak your cloth diapers in your bathroom tub)

  1. Turn up the heat on your water heater. The hotter the water you use the more effective it will be. Wait an hour after turning it up to give the water heater time to reach it's optimal temperature.
  2. Fill your washer as you normally would (this is where a top-load comes in handy). Add approximately 3/4 cup of Oxygen Bleach, such as Oxy Clean (check with the manufacturer first to ensure that your selection is approved for use with your particular diaper!) Let this soak for about three hours (or until the water is cool enough to put your hand in without any discomfort.
  3. Spin the cloth diapers out using your washing machine's normal spin cycle.
  4. Once the diapers have finished their spin cycle, refill the washing machine with HOT water again, and add your regular detergent (ie: Rockin' Green, 1-3 tbsp.) Add a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract. This is a key ingredient in removing the odour from your cloth diapers! Rinse twice, both with hot water.
  5. Dry the cloth diapers. If possible it is ideal to hang dry your diapers in the sun, as UV rays also help to eliminate the yeast. However, in a cold Alberta winter this may not be possible, and sometimes hanging in the sun is not practical, so you can use the hottest setting possible on your dryer, and ensure that the diapers are completely dry. If you do not want to use your dryer in the winter, you can hang the diapers in the window where they will still receive some yeast killing UV rays.

Spot Cleaning Your Cloth Diapers
(Due to non-cloth diaper safe bum cream)
What you will be using
  • Kitchen sink
    and washing machine
  • Original Dawn
    Concentrate (blue)
  • Detergent
    such as Rockin' Green
  • Nail brush
  • Rubber gloves (heat protection)
One of the most difficult aspects of the cloth diapering experience can be eliminating the potential build-up of diaper rash cream.

Often, switching to cloth diapers eliminates diaper rashes in the first place, however if you must use a diaper rash cream, we recommend a cloth diaper safe oil-based cream as they are somewhat easier to strip (spot clean) from the cloth diaper than a zinc-based cream.

Alternatively, you can use a biodegradable liner, which can act as a barrier between the diaper rash cream and the diaper.
If your cloth diapers begin to obtain a diaper rash cream build-up, all is not lost!

Here's some steps that should help:
(If you don't have a top-load, we recommend visiting someone who does, as it will make the rinsing process much simpler. If you don't have access to a top-load washing machine, you can also soak your cloth diapers in your bathroom tub)

  1. Turn up the heat on your water heater. The hotter the water you use the more effective it will be. Wait an hour after turning it up to give the water heater time to reach it's optimal temperature.
  2. Fill your kitchen sink with hot water. As hot as you can possibly get it. If your water is not getting hot enough, you can boil some water to add (as always - exercise caution when handling boiling liquids!). Make sure when filling the sink to keep in mind you will be adding diapers. Don't overfill!
  3. Add 1 tsp of Original Dawn Concentrate (blue) dish washing detergent, and stir it into the water. Put your cloth diapers into the sink, and let them soak in the water for about an hour (or until the water is comfortable enough to put your hand in).
  4. Use a nail brush with some more Dawn soap to scrub the cloth diapers. If you are using pocket diapers, make sure to scrub both inside and outside of the pocket liner, as well as the inserts.
  5. Drain the sink, then wash your cloth diapers in your washing machine in hot water. Add a few drops of Dawn and 3tbsp of Rockin' Green. Let the diapers soak for about an hour, before allowing the washer to complete it's normal spin cycle.
  6. Rinse with hot water repeatedly until there are no bubbles or film in the water.

Although you will likely see an improvement after these steps, you may wish to repeat the process to ensure you have eliminated the build-up completely from your cloth diapers.

Click here for Recommended Detergents by Cloth Diaper Brand

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