Easy 5-Step Routine for Washing Cloth Diapers

how to wash cloth diapers in an apartment

I’ve had several people ask me our routine on how to wash cloth diapers in an apartment – I did a lot of research before we started, and so far this has been going great! Our wash routine makes cloth diapering super easy, which as new parents is a must!

First, I highly recommend this washer: Haier HLP21N Pulsator 1-Cubic-Foot Portable Washer! It is small, quiet, hooks right up to our kitchen sink (which is great because we live in an apartment without laundry hookups), and is easy to move.

Before even starting cloth diapering, we decided to use Tide Original Powder as our diaper detergent. I know there are lots of opinions on what is best for cloth diapers, and you should use what works for you and your baby. Tide has been working great for us! We live in San Diego and have hard water, there were lots of other mamas in the San Diego Cloth Diaper Mamas group on Facebook that also used Tide, so I decided if it works for them it ought to work for us too! Tide is also recommended by a few cloth diapering experts: Rumparooz, Happy Heiny’s, and Jillian’s Drawers.

We store all of our dirty diapers in a Planet Wise Hanging Wet/Dry Bag that we hang right next to our changing table. We have two (Monkey Fun & Teal Chevron) so there is always a clean one.

Our Easy 5-Step Routine for Washing Cloth Diapers:

1. Dump – When it comes time to wash your diapers, empty your wet bag into the washing machine. I like to pull out the inserts as I’m throwing them in the wash.

*Once solid foods are introduced you have to rinse off the poo before it goes in the wet bag. We use the Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer. Breastfed-only poo can go right in the wet bag and into the wash, no rinsing necessary.

2. Rinse – Rinse your dirty diapers in cold water. Use the correct amount of water for the number of diapers you are washing. I like to wash when I can fill our little machine (about 7-8 diapers with inserts and the wet bag), and use the high water setting.

*When our Planet Wise wet bag is totally full, it typically creates two loads for our portable washing machine.

3. Wash – Wash your diapers in hot water with detergent. For a full load in our little washing machine I use about 3 Tablespoons of Tide.

*If I have any heavily soiled diapers, I find that the “heavy wash” setting works really well to get them clean. 

4. Dry – I like to hang our diapers on this drying rack (Honey-Can-Do Drying Rack) in the sun – it gets rid of any poo stains almost instantly! You can put your inserts in the dryer if you would like, but avoid machine drying the covers as it can damage the waterproof PUL material.

5. Stuff – After all of our diapers are dry, I stuff them so they are ready to go!

That’s it! It’s extremely easy, and way less intimidating than I originally thought it would be. What is your cloth diaper washing routine? Do you have any tips that have worked really well for you?

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