“Wash ONLY in hot water, otherwise they’re going to be filthy!
“OMG never wash in hot water, ONLY cold!”
“Don’t use any detergent with scent or you will RUIN THEM!”
“Use your favorite scented detergent to keep them smelling fresh.”
“Do a pre-wash, then wash just like normal.”
“Wash like normal, except do an extra rinse at the end.”
“Never use the dryer, you will RUIN THEM! Only air dry.”
“Yeah go ahead and use the dryer, it’s totally fine.”
Mamas, the point is, people use different methods here and for the most part, the diapies are coming clean and they ain’t ruined! No one’s declarations, regardless of how confident, about how to best wash cloth diapers should supersede your diaper tags.
I can’t say for sure which is the ultimate “best,” but I can tell you what the manufacturers of my three different brands of cloth diapers say:
- My GroVia tags say to wash warm, tumble dry. No bleach needed. No fabric softeners.
- My Smart Bottoms tags say to wash warm, with no bleach and no softener. (They do not discuss drying either way that I see.)
- My bumGenius tags say to wash the diapers cold OR warm, and to double rinse. No additives or softeners. They suggest line drying rather than using a dryer.
In fact, here’s a breakdown of some major brands’ care instructions in chart form: (I only checked yes on the things they were clear about.)
So clearly the best method depends on your brand, though one common denominator between all these is that warm water is good. I’ve read in a couple places that the old dry-cleaning adage is to remove the stain with the temperature that it was created in. So, pee and poo = WARM. Makes sense to me.
I wash my three brands together and I can tell you that I personally wash them in a warm/cold cycle, and give them an extra rinse at the end. Then I usually lay them over my porch railing to dry, and fluff them in the dryer at the end just for a few minutes to de-stiff-ify them. (That’s a valid word.) I don’t use dryer sheets or a wool ball or anything. That’s it. But some people swear by a pre-wash and I definitely won’t argue with that. Heck, I might even try it for fun at some point.
All-in-all, just follow the instructions on your cloth diapers (simply look them up online if you buy pre-loved) and you should be safe. I had a fair amount of anxiety about how to wash my cloth diapers when I first got them because people were so adamant about one way or the other. I didn’t want to “RUUUIIIIN THEEEEM! RUUUIIIN!”
I let go of that anxiety along the way 🙂 You can always strip them if needed at some point, but they probably won’t fall apart if you don’t double rinse, if you put them in the dryer, if you use a scented detergent, etc., etc.
I love this from KangaCare:
“The number one thing to remember when caring for your diapers is they are just another load! There is no magical solution that you should need and no crazy tricks.”
So just read your tags and wash ‘em, mamas! And don’t sweat it.