Cloth Diapering 101: Washing Cloth Demystified

Washing cloth diapers was intimidating at first. It seemed like if I looked at the wash machine wrong I was going to ruin my investment. It turns out I worked myself up over nothing. Yes, there are things you need to know. But, it really is a straight forward process.

The general wash routine is simple.

1. Cold rinse
2. Hot wash with detergent
3. Extra rinse
4. Dryer or line dry 

See, easy peasy. Some of the fancy new wash machines out there will even let you program special wash routines like this one!

I spent my first two years washing diapers in the oldest, worst top loader ever. That puppy did a great job. You don't need a top of the line washer to get your diapers clean!

Now, there is a great debate out there about which laundry detergent to use. Some say that diaper companies have made special, more expensive detergents just to make money. They swear by bargain brad detergents. Others are insistent that you use a cloth diaper "safe" detergent. 

What's this all about? Different detergents have different enzymes, scents, and brighteners in them. Some of these things are bad for your diapers. They can break down the material. Some diaper companies have warranties that can be voided if you use non-approved detergents. So basically, there is a large camp out there that says the only want to go is to use cloth safe detergents.

Well, here's my two cents on the matter. I started out using the cheapest safe detergent that I could find at Target. I determined it was safe by this chart from Pinstripes and Polka Dots. My diapers seemed a bit dingy, but didn't smell. This is when a cloth diapering friend swore to me I could just use Tide Free & Clear. When I ran out of the first stuff, I bought the Tide on sale. No bueno! The diapers started to stink and they weren't very absorbent. 

After stripping the diapers, I started washing with Rockin' Green. That was when Emma was about 5 months old. We never turned back. Rockin' Green comes in classic, hard, and soft based on your water. I think this is what made the real difference for us. We have incredibly hard water. Using a detergent that is specially formulated for our awful water seems to keep everything running smoothly.

Rockin' Green costs about $20 a bag and lasts about three months. With Rockin' Green, we've had no problems with our cloth that could be attributed to the detergent. It has a light scent when you scoop it into the wash but it doesn't end up making fruity smelling diapers. I also use it for things I want to be very gentle with, like first washes on quilts. If I could afford it, I'd use it for everything. 

Anyone else totally afraid of washing cloth before they started? Has anyone avoided cloth based on washing fears?

Don't forget to check out the rest of Cloth Diapering 101:

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  1. I was! But like you said it's actually a pretty simple routine. We used Wonder wash for a few years and now use Hard Rock by Rockin Green. It has worked great for us! I have never had to strip my diapers once with it.

    1. I'm excited to try out washing in our new HE machines! I'm guessing the Rockin' Green will last even longer.

  2. I love Rockin' Green! It is the best laundry soap out there. I use it on all of my regular wash now because it's so great at keeping everything clean and build-up free. For my workout stuff, I use the Athletic Wear formula. Have you tried it? It's really good at unlocking sweat and grime so it can all just wash away. Rockin' Green is the best line of green cleaning products I know!