My Cloth Diaper Routine

One of the things that scared me the most before starting Wink in cloth diapers was trying to wrap my head around how to wash the darned things.  I had read so many different washing routines.   “Use bleach once a month.”  “Never use bleach!”  “Don’t mix natural and synthetic fabrics in the wash.”  “Rinse diapers before washing.”  “Don’t rinse before washing.”  My head was spinning!

My first time washing them was a disaster.  I was prepping them before we started using them, and clearly had no flipping idea what I was doing.  They came out hard and crunchy, and my inserts were all pink!  (If you have any red dyed prefolds, wash them separately….Actually, no.  Just throw that crap away.  Ain’t nobody got time for fussy diaper washin’.)  I asked a seasoned cloth diapering veteran friend of mine what to do about the stiffness.  Could it be our hard water?  Detergent buildup?  She suggested adding a squirt of Dawn dish detergent to every load.   That, paired with an extra rinse or two did the trick.  My diapers came out nice and fluffy!

Since having hard water and being new to fluff can be a daunting process, I thought I’d share my cloth diaper routine with you.

First, I store our dirty diapers dry, in a covered diaper pail lined with a Planet Wise wet bag.  If storing dirty diapers in a pail sounds off-putting to you, let me reassure you.  You cannot smell them at all…until you open the lid.  I do that as quickly as possible.  Phew!  But when the lid is closed, you’d never know there were poopy diapers in that room.

When it comes time to wash, I grab the wet bag and dump it, and its contents right in the wash.  Trust me.  You’re going to want to wash that wet bag.

Cloth diaper routine 1

After tossing it all in the wash, I set the machine to rinse.  (I do not rinse my diapers before washing because Wink is exclusively breastfed.  EBF poo is water soluble, and is therefore washing machine safe.  It just disappears!)  Then, they are washed in hot water with Ruby Moon Cloth Diaper Detergent and a squirt around the basin with Dawn Original.  Then, they get rinsed once more to remove any excess detergent that might be hanging on in there.  

After washing, it’s off to the dryer for the inserts!  I dry them on regular heat.  After those are done, I dry the shells and wet bag on no heat or low heat, if I’m feeling adventurous.  I haven’t had any delaminate just yet.  So, I’m assuming low heat is okay.  YMMV

When everything is all dry and snuggly warm, I stuff the inserts in the shells.  Pretty straight forward, but here’s a picture if you’re into that sort of thing. 

Cloth diaper inserts

Those haven’t been stuffed yet, but you’ll figure it out.  You’re smart.

Here they are all pretty in this drawer waiting to be pooped in!

cloth diaper routine-5

So that’s the diaper routine, but I thought I’d also share my favorite part of this whole thing: the wipes!  I don’t know why they make me so happy.  They just do, okai?! 

For our wet wipes, I use baby washcloths sprayed as needed with a homemade wipe solution made of 2 c. water, 1/4 c. baby wash, and 1/4 c. baby oil.  It works great, and smells amazing!  I store the dry wipes in a recycled wet wipe container.  I’ve even folded them so the next one pops out just like the real thing.  I made an attempt at photographing that folding technique, but setting up indoor step-by-step photos at night with a crying baby is a challenge.  Use your brains here, and try to figure out what’s going on in these pictures.  You can also feel free to ask questions if you’re stumped.

wipe folding collage

Again, I store those bad boys dry so they don’t get moldy.  I keep a squirt bottle with my wipe solution handy, and just spray each cloth as it’s needed.  

All in all, it might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.  The most time consuming part is the washing and drying, and that’s pretty hands-off.  Not too bad, eh?  

2013-06-17-2 edit resize

So what do you think?  Do you use cloth diapers?  Thinking about starting?  What’s your diaper routine like?


17 thoughts on “My Cloth Diaper Routine

  1. I used cloth diapers on our oldest son. Things have certainly changed in 31 years. Diapers, pins, rubber pants, diaper pail filled with water and a bit of mule team, and diaper liners after solid foods were started. I have to admit, the diaper liners were one of the best things ever invented!

  2. I never stuck him, but it was scary at first. My mom who HAD to use cloth diapers told me the trick of running the point end through my hair against my scalp or sticking it into a bar of soap to make the pin slide easily through the cloth. Of course Velcro solved that problem later on!

  3. My hubby has two teenagers from a previous marriage and we are just starting our ivf journey…so needless to say I’ve been on the diapering and breast feeding research hunt now for a little while and I’m convinced I want to cloth diaper to save money. He on the other hand, says they tried with their first born and it only lasted about a week…said they had no luck keeping the diapers from leaking…I’m thinking a lot has probably changed in 18 years…opinions?

    • Yes! Cloth diapers have come a long way in the past few years! In fact, All-in-Ones are just as easy as disposables during diaper changes. If you EBF, you don’t even have to mess with rinsing them before washing. Just throw them in the washing machine, and you’re good to go! They are a lot more convenient now than they were when he used them 18 years ago. Promise!

  4. I also cloth diaper but want to start using homemade wipes…do u wash the wipes with the diapers or seperate. ?

    • I was mine with the diapers simply because I put them all in the same pail together. Aside from the “ick” factor of having poopy washcloths in the washing machine with your clothes, I don’t think it matters, really.

  5. I like this, proves that and CDing routine can be simple. No routine yet, so far just building up our stash. We have 5 so far and more fluff in the mail, hopefully we will get up to around 25 before the little guy gets here.

  6. I have been doing a TON of research on cloth diapers. My first child had SUCH a bad reaction to disposable diapers!!! So many different types of diapers, creams, diet on my end, doctors visits… finally we found ones that were chlorine free, but they were SOOO costly! I felt like we also waisted a lot of peoples money by not using the diapers from our baby shower!
    So anyways, I feel that for baby #2 we are just going to start out with cloth! So many different types. What are the ones that you use? I have a hard time wanting to try the pouch ones….any suggestions?

    • Most of my stash is made up of Sunbaby pocket diapers. They work really well, and are super cheap. If you buy them from their website (, they are only about $5-6 each. So, if you don’t like them, you aren’t out much. Plus, you can sell them for about $8-10 each on various B/S/T Facebook pages or Diaper Swappers, if you aren’t happy. I really love mine though! They work really well, and have super cute prints! The only downside I’ve found was that, since they do ship from China, they take a while to arrive. It took about 3 weeks to get mine.

  7. Such a great post! So simple compared to a lot of them that you read. I am going to try your wipe solution. I have been doing cloth for almost one month and still using disposable wipes. I feel like cloth would be easier just to toss in the pail with the diapers! Thanks for the good tips!

    • I love using cloth wipes! I don’t buy disposable wet wipes at all anymore except to send with him to his grandma’s or when we will be gone for an extended period of time. Cloth wipes are just so convenient and cheap when we are at home. I hope they work out for you!

  8. We are expecting number 2 in May an we are wanting to cloth diaper.
    We had so many issues with diapers and creams with baby 1. Rashes, sores, etc. It was AWFUL.

    I’m thinking I want to do all white ones so that they can be reused no matter the gender. The initial cost is a little staggering, but as we don’t need big items like the crib, swings, and the like it doesn’t make it seem so bad!
    Plus they can go into the toddler years.

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been reading all I can on other moms who cd and they make it seem so tedious and time consuming. My mom said it wasn’t even that bad when I was a baby. It’s nice to see a mom who CDs now saying the same thing!

  9. I’m concerned about suggesting the use of Dawn in your washing machine. I’ve heared that this can cause problems with your machine and void the warranty.

  10. I am thinking of using cloth diapers but I am scared I am not going to like it. If I do this I am going to make my own baby wipes.

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