Caring for cloth diapers (wash routine and safe products to use)

It took me awhile to figure out a wash routine that worked best for me. When I started to notice a faint odor coming from my diapers that I couldn’t get rid of, I began the search for the best way to make my diapers as clean and odor free as possible.

I also made the mistake of using products that were not the best suited for cloth diapers despite the fact that reviews online said they were. Below is my personal wash routine as well as the different products I use for the entire process of cloth diapering.

Wet bags and Diaper Rash:

My favorite wet bags are the Planet Wise brand. They are the best quality all around that I’ve found (compared to Bumkins and Kanga).

  1. I use the Large Planet Wise Wet Bag (holds around 12 – 14 diapers) for at home use and the Medium Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag (holds around 4 – 6 diapers) when we go out.

I love the wet/dry bag because I can separate the inserts from the diapers (I actually only separate them when there’s a poop diaper involved, the separate pockets make taking the soiled diaper out not as traumatic 😷)

Diaper Rash:

The best product to use for diaper rash is the Grovia Magic Stick. I tried Boudreaux’s Natural Butt Paste (reviews said it was safe for cloth diapers) but it left several smears on my diapers which I couldn’t get out. The Grovia stick has a nice smell, doesn’t leave any residue on my diapers and it’s a STICK so no messy applications required!

Handling pee and poop diapers (for the :

I don’t actually have these but I did want to include a pretty neat item that helps guard your fingers from touching soiled cloth diapers. My husband is always complaining about having to touch the inserts so I know he would love these (they’re currently on my Amazon wish list). Most cloth diapers require that the insert be separated from the cloth diaper cover prior to washing which means handling cold and dirty inserts soaked in pee and poop. The Diaper Dawgs Finger Guards provide a barrier that prevents exposure to the pee and poop soaked inserts/diapers, an excellent item for those who may be squeamish about the messiest part of cloth diapering!


Wash Routine:

I found this recommendation on Pinterest when I was searching for a way to strip my diapers after noticing an odor that wouldn’t go away. However, instead of doing this routine once every couple of months, it’s how I wash my diapers every time. One downfall to cloth diapering is the wash routine, it requires double wash cycles (typically with hot water) so it could eat away at your utility bill.

  1. If there is a particularly stained diaper I spray with a pre-laundry detergent, such as Charlie’s Soap Laundry Pre-Spray or Bac-Out. After I’ve sprayed away all the solid waste, I spray with my pre-spray and place in the wet bag until laundry day. 

(I didn’t use a sprayer until my girls started eating solid foods but that’s because they were breastfed, I think formula fed baby poop is a bit different so you may need a sprayer from the beginning for formula fed babies.)

I purchased my sprayer on Amazon (using smile.amazon.com to support JDRF!) but I think you can probably shop around until you find a good deal; here’s a link to the one I got: Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer

I also discovered a Splatter Shield which has been great for poop diapers; while it may need some design improvements, it prevents me and my surroundings from getting covered in “poop spray”, containing any splashing that occurs within its walls. 

2. I wash every 2-3 days using the following routine and products:

  • Pre-wash/First Wash: I have an HE front load machine; I squirt a small amount of Blue Dawn Dish Soap into the machine (about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon) and set it to wash in hot water with NO spin cycle.
  • Second Wash: Hot water, I throw in a Grab Green Bleach Alternative Pod and use between 1 – 1 1/2 scoops of either Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder or Rockin Green Detergent* and start the machine for the second, and last time. 

*The Rockin Green comes in different formulas based on the type of water you have (most homes have standard water but there are some locations, such as my previous home in Twentynine Palms, California, that had hard water zones).

  • Drying your diapers: Always line dry your diapers; you can definitely line dry your inserts too, but I throw them into the dryer along with my wet bags (no fabric softener). I ended up buying a Drying Rack similar to the one in the link for my diapers. But another option I have seen is a Clip and Drip Rack.

For stains that won’t come out (I don’t have this problem with my current wash routine but I did with my old one): NATURAL SUNLIGHT is the best stain remover you can use. Sun drying was my favorite way to dry my diapers but after moving away from the California desert, I only dry them outside when it’s really sunny out. Here are simple instructions for sunbathing your diapers from the Grovia website:


Here is a link to a great site that has so many tips on washing and caring for your diapers (and a lot more):

Fluff Love University

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