Washing Cloth Diapers {How To}

I’ve highlighted my love for cloth diapers (CDs) on this blog before but since having my daughter I haven’t talked much about our cloth diapering experience with her. Honestly it’s because it’s been going very well. We haven’t run into one issue with the diapers we bought for her. Mainly, I think, because we are using all of the diapers we grew to love with our son. I still have the Happy Heiny and Bum Genius love but more than likely I’m grabbing for a prefold and Thirsties cover in the closet then a pocket or all-in-one diaper.

One question I have received a few times is how I clean them. Most assume I use a service. And they’re surprised to hear that I take care of the washing (poop and all) myself. It’s actually quite easy! So I figured I’d break it down for those who were curious and/or interested in cloth diapering. Just remember that this is how I wash my diapers. Always consult the manufacturers instructions for their recommendations before jumping in. We’ll start with the basics and go from there.

Stuff You’ll Need:

  • CD friendly detergent (check out this website for comparisons)
  • Vinegar
  • Original (blue) Dawn or Bac-Out (to strip your diapers if needed)
  • Dryer Balls
  • Clothes line with clothes pins

What You Do
Washing cloth diapers is pretty simple. After the initial prep wash, which we’ll go over, you can wash all of your cloth diapers together in the same load. The only thing you won’t be able to throw in the wash are your wool covers. That will be another post! Before washing make sure that when baby has a poopy diaper you clean it out by either spraying, scraping or plopping the waste in the toilet before putting your diaper in your wet bag.

Prep Wash
When you first get your cloth diapers you will need to do a bit of prep washing to maximize the absorbency of the diaper (so it holds more pee). With this initial prep wash you will need to separate natural fibers like hemp from your synthetic fibers. The natural fibers release oils during this initial wash that you don’t want coating your other diapers.

Most diapers only need that first initial prep wash. But if you are buying prefolds brand new it can take anywhere from 3-5 wash and dry’s to fully get the absorbency needed. An easy way to test your diapers to see if they’re pee-ready is to put a few drops of water on them. If the diapers immediately absorb the water with no problem then they’re ready to go. If the water beads up then the diapers need another go through or two.

To prep your diapers just do the following:

  • separate natural and synthetic fibers
  • wash diapers in cold water with a small amount of detergent (usually 2 tablespoons)
  • dry the diapers on low heat until fully dry or line dry diapers
  • repeat 2-4 times until diapers absorb water (prefolds will quilt up)

Washing Diapers
When you have about 24-30 dirtied diapers in your diaper pail or bag it’s time to do some wash! Don’t be scared. Diaper laundry will come as natural to you as washing your clothes. There are just a few simple steps you will need to add to the routine.

1. Set your water level to the highest it goes
Do NOT lower the water level to the level your diapers reach in the wash. It’s important to fully submerge the diapers and give the diapers some room to move around to get all the ickies out.

2. Rinse your diapers first with cold water
Include a small amount of detergent with this rinse to freshen things up. The rinse will remove any excess poo that may still be on your diapers and will also wash the diapers out a bit so that when they are being washed they’ll get cleaner.

3. Wash your diapers with hot water, rinse again with cold
There’s no need to use the sterilize cycle if you have it but please feel free to do so. I prefer just using the hot wash/cold rinse. Add in the recommended amount of detergent. This usually ends up being roughly 1/2 the amount you would use with your regular clothes.

After the wash is complete add some vinegar (about 1/4 cup) to the laundry for the rinse. This will reduce the need for dryer sheets or fabric softener. It’s also a great alternative for your regular laundry too. You can also purchase a downy ball and throw the downy ball (filled 1/2 way with vinegar) to the wash so you don’t have to listen to when the second rinse occurs.

4. Dry your diapers on low heat or on the clothes line
Some prefer to dry their diapers on medium or high heat but in order to save a little energy I dry on low. I also add dryer balls to the dryer to beat out any static that may be lingering. Try not to use fabric softener or dryer sheets in the washer and dryer you use for your cloth diapers. These products leave a film on your clothes and your washer and dryer. The build up of this film will reduce the absorbency of your diapers.

When the weather is nice I like to dry my diapers on low for 10 minutes and then pull them out and line dry them until fully dry. I then pop them back in the dryer with some dryer balls for another 10-15 minutes with the dryer balls to fluff them up. Best thing about line drying in the sun? The natural bleaching the sun does to the diapers. Natures miracles. Then you simply just take the diapers out of the dryer, stack together or stuff and stare in awe at your stash. Oh, wait. Maybe I’m the only one that does that. I may have a sick obsession with how much I love the fluff.

So basically it’s cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse, dry and you’re done!

Need help stripping your diapers? Check out my Stripping Diapers post for more information.

*** This giveaway is now closed ***
Pinterest Inspiration


  1. Eli is actually wearing his for Charlie Banana one for the first time right now! I think I would send this, if I won, to my sis-in-law who has a brand new 2.5 week old little girl! She has been thinking of G-diapers but showed interest in pockets. This would be the perfect intro for her! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway, Dani!

  2. I follow you on GFC and Networked Blogs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    venturesofsahm at yahoo dot com

  3. gfc mrsnaweiss

  4. I would put this on my son, hes 9 months old, and i wuold love to win it bc weve never tried a CB diaper befrore!!

  5. I just started cloth diapering our littlest! Thanks for the hot tips & for this sweet giveaway!

    kate ‘at’ sandiegodealsandsteals ‘dot’ com

  6. I would be putting this on my baby girl. I love trying new diapers!

  7. I follow you on GFC.

  8. My 1.5 month old daughter would be wearing this diaper. I want it because I love fluff and more importantly I need more “daycare/daddy” diapers since I may not be able to get to the laundry as often as I could before I went back to work…
    onliquidice at gmail dot com

  9. I also follow you on GFC! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I would be putting it on my son and would love it to build my stash and try a cute charlie banana diaper.

    dmoretti1967 at yahoo.com

  11. gfc follower as boyzrule

    dmoretti1967 at yahoo.com

  12. I would be putting this diaper on our brand new baby that we are expecting soon ๐Ÿ™‚ I would Love to win this diaper because we have been building our cloth diaper stash, and Charlie Banana diapers are our favorite, and this one is super cute ๐Ÿ™‚

    nicoletteamay at yahoo dot com

    Thank You!

  13. Since Jos is potty trained (!) I’ll have to use the diaper on my new little guy. Hopefully he can stay put until Oct.:)

  14. I would use the diaper for my baby in baking ๐Ÿ™‚ never cloth diapered before but if I like it with this one I may give it a try. Buying diapers sucks!

  15. I would put this cute diaper on my 18 month old son!
    Why I want it, because its a charlie banana, and its so stinkin’ cute!
    angela_heffner at yahoo dot com

  16. Following your blog via gfc (angela_heffner)
    angela_heffner at yahoo dot com

  17. I would give this to a friend whom I am converting to cloth!
    mk_mitchell90 at hotmail dot com

  18. I follow you via gfc
    mk_mitchell90 at hotmail dot com

  19. I’d be putting this diaper on my 15 month old son. I haven’t tried any charlie banana diapers or products yet and would love the chance.
    Thank you!
    ktiegen at yahoo dot com

  20. New GFC follower – JLJMommy
    Looking forward to reading your blog.
    ktiegen at yahoo dot com

  21. I would love to win this diaper for my two year old daughter and I’m currently pregnant with another baby so the more diapers the better!

    mrs_bardos at yahoo dot com

  22. i follow via gfc and mrs_bardos

    mrs_bardos at yahoo dot com

  23. I would use this for my darling little boy – I have a white charlie banana and love it for bedtime – NO LEAKS – YEAH!!!

    Thank You!!!


  24. We are expecting our second little girl in November. This diaper would really help get our stock of cloths ready.

  25. Newest GFC follower.

  26. I would love to give the diaper to a friend who is considering cloth for her second. I gave her all my newborn dipes and would love to give her some one size ones, too!

    madelinemiller at gmail dot com

  27. I follow you on GFC.

    madelinemiller at gmail dot com

  28. I would love to win this diaper for my 2.5 month old son. I would like to win it because I love trying new cloth diapers and I have never tried this brand of cloth diaper.

  29. I follow you on Good Friend Connect!

  30. I would be using this diaper on my 5 month old baby girl. We have never cloth diapered before and I would love to try one out.

  31. I follow you on GFC.

  32. Randi Moncur says

    I’d put them on Thomas!

  33. I would be putting this diaper on my 5 month old son and I’d love to have it to help spread the word about how easy cloth is…and how cute it is!

    graceink at yahoo dot com

  34. I follow you publicly via GFC

    graceink at yahoo dot com

  35. my 18 month old daughter JoHanna would be wearing this wonderful Cloth Diaper! Charlie Banana is by far my favorite CD we have a few of them! I love the bright colors (Tutti Frutti)I try to match her dresses to her Diaper! lol.
    I have heard of the Vinegar in the wash but have not tried it. Do you add it to the rinse cycle? normally I do Hot wash/ Rinse and then run the wash through one more time make it two more rinses… She has super sensative skin

  36. I am a new GFC Follower

    Following you on twitter ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love that you clean 3 days out of the week, I don’t feel like cinderella anymore.. lol
    Thanks for the Chance!

  37. I will use it on Gianna, my 3 month old. We currently cloth diaper and love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. I would be putting this great looking cloth diaper on my 21 month old son! I haven’t tried a Charlie Banana diaper yet – it looks like it have a great fit and I love the words on the bum!

    SHull2319 at gmail dot com

  39. I follow you on Google Friend Connect

    SHull2319 at gmail dot com

  40. I am now an official follower ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Hi Danielle,
    We met at Java Mama the other day.

    My family uses cloth as well. Pretty much just Happy Heiny, as I prefer to support local family businesses when I can. Our 13-mo old would love to try the Charlie Banana.

    This is a useful post. I’m already doing my wash much the same way, but you included some good tips I’d like to try. I also wanted to ask if you can send me a link elaborating on the issue of stripping the diapers using Dawn or Bac-out. We are having trouble with leakage on the pocket diapers. The fleece has become water-repellent where the ointment has bonded to the fleece and I’m at my wit’s end trying to solve the problem.


  42. I would be putting this adorable diaper on my son Cason. Cloth diapering has saved us so much money and with number two coming in a little over a month the more diapers the better.

  43. I follow via GFC

    devon1182 @ yahoo dot com

  44. I would love to win this diaper for me sweet ten month old. We have been contemplating trying Charlie Bananas because we have heard so many good htings. Would love to win one!
    coleycoupons (at) yahoo.com

  45. I follow you via GFC!!!
    coleycoupons (at) yahoo.com

  46. I would put it on my daughter. We currently cloth diaper and love it!


  47. I am expecting my first in March and would love to try CD’s. This would give me a start!

  48. I would putting this diaper on my 7 month old daughter. We are trying to build or CD stash she can be in them full-time and this one is super cute!

  49. I would use it for my first child, due in January 2012.

  50. Followed with GFC.

  51. I will be putting this diaper on my brand new baby girl who is due in September! ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. I would put this diaper on the baby in my belly! Its our first, and I am already excited about cloth diapering.

  53. This would go on our baby due in March ๐Ÿ˜‰

  54. I follow through GFC


  55. I would use this on our first, who will be here in about 7 weeks! We don’t know gender yet ๐Ÿ™‚ We just started our stash with thirsties duo covers and some indian prefolds and osocozy flats. we are learning and so excited!

  56. Little Lena would LOVE to wear this!

  57. My 4 month baby girl would definitely like to try a Charlie Banana!

  58. I’m already a fan of Charlie Banana and would love this diaper for my baby Andrew who is 9 months ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. I would be putting this diaper on my 9 month old Son! I would love to have this diaper because I don’t have a big variety of diapers and have been DYING to try Charlie Banana!

    linniegurl14 at gmail dot com

  60. I follow you via NB!

    linniegurl14 at gmail dot com

  61. I would love to get this Charlie Banana diaper for my little one (due in October)!

    I have a truck print Charlie Banana but this would be gender neutral enough for a girl or a boy.

  62. I’m now following you via Google!

  63. I would either be putting this diaper on my 18 month old son or my soon to be born daughter!

  64. follow you on gfc (skgaff)

  65. I would be putting it on my (almost!) 4 month old daughter!

  66. I would put it on baby #2 (due in January) so that she gets another new diaper and not just DS’s hand me downs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. I would put this on my 18 month old little boy, I would love to try it because we haven’t had a chance to try Charlie Banana diapers yet!
    sabrina radke
    sradke1024 at gmail dot com

  68. I follow you via gfc!
    sabrina radke
    sradke1024 at gmail dot com

  69. It was great meeting you at #hautegreen! I am in love with the Charlie Bananna diaper I received and would LOVE to have another one for my 10 month old daughter, Kyli.


  70. I follow your blog on GFC!


  71. I would put this diaper on my 7 week old little girl! We’ve been cloth diapering from birth and she is just now starting to out grow her newborn stash. It’s time to build her OS stash and I would love to try out a Charlie Bananas since I’ve heard such great things!

  72. We are trying to get pregnant, and winning your contest would give us a great first diaper for our future cloth baby ๐Ÿ™‚

    lhjuliet at aol dot com

  73. I am a new GFC Follower

    amanda.celentano at gmail dot com

  74. I have 2 CB diapers and would love to have a 3rd! I’d use it on my 4 month old, Finn ๐Ÿ™‚

  75. I would love to try this brand! I would put it on my LO once he/she gets here!

  76. I follow via GFC! (guntersvillebride)


  77. I would love this diaper for my 18 month old, Jack, he loves his cloth diapers!!

  78. I’d love to have this diaper to start my cloth collection!

    lhjuliet at aol.com

  79. I’d love to win this for my son! He’s 14 months and now just growing out of his size small charlie banana!

  80. GFC follower!
    jhull at m dot marywood dot edu

  81. Thanks for the washing tips. I am expecting a baby this week & building a CD stash. Would love to try this one! Kim.Watki at gmail

  82. It’s a personal mission of mine to convert my mama friends to cloth diapering. So many have made the switch when they see how easy (and cute!) fluffy buns are. I’ve been DYING to get my hands on one of these Charlie Banana diapers, and it would be gracing the backside of my 20 month daughter.

  83. My son would be wearing this diaper. I’d love to have one of these to sort of celebrate not having any disposables in the house ๐Ÿ™‚

    gothickornchic at gmail dot com

  84. I follow via GFC as Baby and the Chi’s

    gothickornchic at gmail dot com

  85. I would use this diaper on the baby we are expecting! We are starting to build a cloth diaper collection, and CB is one brand I have been very interested in trying!!


  86. I’m following you on GFC as “mel”


  87. I would love to win the diaper for my 8 month old baby girl! I would love to win so I could try a Charlie Banana diaper.

  88. I am following with GFC (Felicia R)

  89. I would use this on my almost 11 month old son.

  90. GFC follower now.

  91. I would love to win this for my 10week old to try, I am new to cloth and have never used Charlie Banana!
    shabbychicmomma at gmail dot com

  92. I am now following you on GFC as Rebecca H. & Networked Blogs- I couldn’t choose:)

    Shabbychicmomma at gmail dot com

  93. I would like it for Ignacio, my 3 months old baby, because he is outgrowing his CB size small that we got as a gift. Thanks!

  94. I would put this on the baby we have on the way! It’s super-cute. madebyallison AT gmail DOT com

  95. I would love this for my daughter who is 4-months-old. She is my second baby, but my first in cloth. I’ve tried a lot since she was born, but I haven’t tried a Charlie Banana yet!
    stefanie_noble AT yahoo dot com

  96. I would love to win this diaper for my 7 month old son. I love using cloth diapers and trying new ones, I have not tried charlie banana diapers yet… but have really wanted too.

    aecooper05 at yahoo dot com

  97. I would be putting this adorable diaper on my 6 month old daughter Charlotte! I’ve been wanting to use cloth since she was born, but I have to admit, I’m a bit intimidated by it. But this diaper is so cute- I would HAVE to use it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  98. I’d put it on my son ZJ and I’d love to have it because it so stinking cute! Plus I love trying new diapers ๐Ÿ˜€

  99. GFC follower!

    kmmery at gmail dot com

  100. I would love put this on my daughter once she is born! We don’t have many diapers, and they are all used, so a new diaper, especially one this cute, would be awesome!

  101. I would put it on my 1 week old daughter. We are really loving the cloth!

  102. I would be putting this diaper on my newly, cloth converted 5 month old. We just made the switch 2 weeks ago. Wish we would have started sooner.

    mjo0440 at hotmail dot com

  103. I follow you on GFC

  104. This is a cute diaper! I would be putting on my baby Sterling!

  105. I would be putting it on our daughter, our first child, who’s arriving this fall! And because it is adorable of course!

  106. I would put this dipe on the child we have due December 8th, 2011. I did not cloth diaper with my other two children but this time around we are making the transition to cloth diaper. Thank you.


  107. I follow you via GFC and network blog.


  108. I would be using it on my 15 month old boy. Live trying new cloth diapers!! Mikkidoda1@gmail.com

  109. Loved this post!!

    Just discovered Charlie Banana diapers and love them! If I won this would be going on my new baby boy ๐Ÿ™‚


    PS I love to stare at my stash too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  110. mine will go on jonathan-my 2nd little guy and the first i am CD’ing because my husband balked at the initial cost of AIO’s with my first. When showed him the cost of disposables for #1 and then the cost of AIO’s that would last to potty learning, “el cheapo” quickly changed his mind!

  111. Love and Blessings

    Amazing cloth diapers be basking on the butt of newborn twins , boy and girl

    born 2 weeks ago

    For they can def. give the diapers a run for there diapering time

    peace and Love

  112. Follow you on Networked Blogs!

  113. I would use this diaper on my 3 month old – LOVE Charlie Banana Diapers!

  114. And I’m now following via google friends ๐Ÿ™‚


  115. Always looking to build my stash for my sweet almost-8-month-old daughter! Thanks!

  116. I follow you with GFC. ๐Ÿ™‚


  117. I am currently pg with baby #2 and have been building a stash for this baby slowly but surely. My 2 yr old son is still in cloth diapers but the only diaps we have are prefolds and covers. This diaper is too cute not to use for both of them. And newborn booties always look so cute in cloth ๐Ÿ™‚

    smf2001 at gmail dot com

  118. I have a 8 month old little girl that I just started cloth diapering about 4 weeks ago. I absolutely love it and the kind I like the most is charlie banana. ๐Ÿ™‚ However I only have 7 diapers right now and need to increase my stash (that is why I would love to win this diaper?) Thanks for sharing!!

    My email is nickie.roland@gmail.com


  119. My baby Kalia will wear it ! We haven’t tried Charlie banana and this diaper is so cute!

  120. I would love to win this diaper for my 11 month old, as we’ve been trying to make the switch to cloth because he’s sensitive to the disposables. I’ve been eyeing the Charlie Bananas for some time. Thanks for the opportunity!

  121. I’m following you on Google Friends Connect too!

  122. Thanks for this amazingly generous giveaway. I would love to put this Extra Green (and cute) diaper on my baby. It would be in good company with his other Extra Green diaper from FuzziBunz.
    icy_princess at msn dot com

  123. Follow on GFC/networked blogs (Christine Lopes)
    and twitter (@guyanese_gal)!!

    icy_princess at msn dot com

  124. for my daughter!
    feh79 at yahoo dot com

  125. GFC follower
    feh79 at yahoo dot com

  126. I would be puttin this diaper on my son ๐Ÿ™‚ and i want to win it because I would love to try out the charlie banana diapers

  127. Follow on GFC: Julie G

  128. Our 4 month old son Jace would LOVE to try out this adorable Charlie Banana diaper!

  129. My daughter, Happy will be wearing this if we win!

  130. I would cloth diaper my baby girl. And I love this dipe!


  131. I follow you via GFC.


  132. Kerrin Amanda says

    My Name is Kerrin,

    I would be using this Charlie Banana Diaper on my son Brighton Sean who has been using ONLY Charlie Bananas since we started Cloth Diapering. The diaper would come in handy since I’m expecting again.


  133. I would put this on my adorable newborn daughter. I would love to have this diaper because Charlie Banana is my favorite of the few diapers I have.

  134. I would love to win this for my toddler! We love hanging out in a diaper and shirt when it’s hot here in so cal, and this would be a perfect way to start a conversation with other moms interested in cloth!

  135. My baby girl Berkley Mae would be wearing it! I have one other Charlie Banana diaper and we love it!

  136. This diaper would be for my 5 month old, Cameron. I would like it because I need more user-friendly diapers so my husband doesn’t mind doing some of the diaper changing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  137. Now following your blog with Google and Networked Blogs

  138. We love Charlie Banana diapers on our baby boy. They are our favorite diapers!

  139. I’ve been looking at Charlie Banana diapers for my son, due 11/11/11.

  140. I follow you on GFC!
    lauren dot coupland at gmail dot come

  141. I would love this diaper for my baby due in February. I’m in the throws of researching all types of cd, and would love to give Charlie Banana’s a try. Thanks!

  142. I would love to put this on my new baby as soon as he can wear it. I do not know anyone in the area that I live who uses cloth, and I think this is too cute!


  143. follow on GFC


  144. I would be putting this diaper on my 5 month old son, Ian =) I would love to win so we could proudly shout out our love for fluff on his bum =)

  145. I would put the Charlie Banana CD on my little girl who is going to arrive in December. I have been CDing my son for 2 1/2 years but it’s been sooo long since I bought and tried a new diaper. I’ve never tried Charlie Banana diapers so it would be nice to try something new.

    gotlava at hotmail dot com

  146. I would put this cloth diaper on my baby, who’s not here quite yet, but will be within the next couple of weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

  147. I follow you on google friend connect!

  148. I’d be putting this diaper on my daughter; in fact, her birthday is August 18, the day the giveaway ends. I’m crossing my fingers.

  149. GFC follower (mummytocharis).
    mummytocharis at yahoo dot com

  150. I would be giving this diaper to my friend for her not-yet-born baby’s booty. It would be perfect for a mama who’s new to the cloth world!

    ayakers (at) gmail (dot) com

  151. ROW-ZMARCH says

    I want to win this diaper for my 11 month baby boy Nolan ๐Ÿ™‚ since I heard of cloth diapering these were the diapers I wanted to buy but did not have to budget to buy them ๐Ÿ™ I currently have 6 pocket bumg 4.0 and I have tonwash daily ๐Ÿ™ would love to grow my stash with this diaper . Thanks


  152. ROW-ZMARCH says

    I follow via GFC as row-zmarch

  153. This adorable diaper would be for my baby boy!

    hun423 at hotmail.com

  154. I follow publicly via GFC as mamahunfy

    hun423 at hotmail.com

  155. I would love to win this diaper! I would be using it on my baby when he/she is born! It’s my first, and i can’t wait to cloth diaper!! I am building my stash of Charlie Banana, FuzziBunz, and GroVia, mainly. Don’t have too many yet though!

  156. i forgot to include my email in my post above… it is littlerach08@gmail.com

    Would LOVE to win this dipe for my new baby!

  157. i would put this super cute diaper on my little girl Lucy, due in September/October ๐Ÿ™‚ i already follow you on google/blogger ๐Ÿ™‚


  158. I would love to try another kind of cloth diaper. I would be putting it on my sweet baby girl Elodie (and possibly other babies in the future- that’s the great thing about cloth!)


  159. I now follow you on networked blogs.


  160. I’d put my 6 month old baby girl in this diaper, I love it!!

Speak Your Mind


ยฉ A Crafty Spoonful - All Rights Reserved
It is OK to use one of my photos provided a link back and/or proper credit is given. It is NOT ok to copy and paste a whole post including instructions. Please do not remove watermarks or alter images in any way. Please contact me with any questions at danielle@acraftyspoonful.com