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How to Wash Cloth Diapers

It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it! Keeping your baby's diapers clean and soft is easier than it sounds.


  • Step 1: Wash and dry new diapers before use Wash and dry new diapers at least five times before using, to remove chemicals and increase absorbency.
  • TIP: Avoid products with bleach, borax, soap, fabric softener, and fragrance. They will irritate your baby's skin and may break down diaper fabric or reduce diaper absorbency.
  • Step 2: Throw dirty diapers into the washing machine Empty a pail of dirty diapers into the washing machine, along with the liner, and the waterproof wet bag, if you use one.
  • TIP: Shake off solid matter from a soiled diaper into the toilet and then drop the diaper into the pail.
  • Step 3: Prewash in cold water Prewash diapers in cold water to remove loose particles.
  • Step 4: Wash the diapers Wash the diapers in warm or hot water, using half the recommended amount of laundry detergent. Add baking soda to remove the smell of urine and whiten diapers.
  • Step 5: Rinse in cold water Add vinegar and rinse diapers in cold water. Vinegar removes baking soda, which can cause diaper rash.
  • Step 6: Dry the diapers Dry the diapers in the dryer or hang them in the sunshine.
  • FACT: In 1946, American housewife Marion Donovan invented a waterproof covering for cloth diapers using shower curtain materials.

You Will Need

  • All-purpose laundry detergent
  • A diaper pail with a liner and a waterproof wet bag
  • 1/2 c. baking soda
  • 1/2 to 1 c. white vinegar

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