General guidelines: Wash covers separately from diapers. Fasten Velcro, turn the cover inside out, and hand wash or machine wash/gentle using low temperatures and a mild detergent free of fabric softeners, whitening agents, borax, oxygen bleach, or chlorine bleach. (These additives can wear out waterproofing, so its best to check ingredient labels-even on natural type cleansers or baby detergents.) Most diaper covers can be dried in the dryer on a low temperature, or air-dried. (Wool felt covers should be air-dried, and wool knit covers/soakers should be both hand-washed and air-dried.) Whenever possible, air-dry all covers to prolong their effectiveness.
How many cloth diapers will I need?
The average amount of diapers needed is 2 to 2 1/2 dozen per size. Most newborns will use up to 12 diapers per day, and older babies 8 to 10 per day. The amount youll need depends on how often you plan to wash diapers. For better cleaning, it's best to wash no more than 24 diapers at a time. As for sizes, two or three diaper sizes are usually needed for the entire diapering time. Any less can compromise fit and performance. Make sure the diaper isn't too big for the cover-you'll want to be able to tuck the diaper completely inside the cover to prevent wetness from wicking onto clothing and causing leaks.
How do I wash cloth diapers?
Rinse off wet and soiled diapers in cool water (hot water sets stains) and place in your diaper pail. Flushable, paper diaper liners or poly fleece diaper liners can make this a less messy task. Soaking diapers is optional, but recommended to prevent odors and stains from setting if you wait more than two days to wash. (When soaking diapers, be sure to keep your pail in a safe place where young, mobile children cannot access it. If possible, purchase a pail with a locking lid.) Toss diapers into the washer and run a short, cold cycle. Add detergent (no added chlorine bleach or fabric softeners), and run a longer cycle on warm or hot with the water level set on high. Double rinse to remove any soap residue. Dry in the dryer (avoid dryer sheets as they can coat fabric and interfere with absorbency), or hang dry in the sun for natural whitening.
Do I need to wash new diapers before using them?
Yes, all new cloth diapers need to be laundered before use. This is necessary to shrink them to size, and to open up the absorbency of the fabric. When using warm to hot temperatures, most of the shrinkage will occur in the first few wash and dry cycles. About absorbency: White diapers should be absorbent enough after washing and drying them once or twice. Unbleached diapers may take up to 5 or more wash and dry cycles initially before reaching their maximum absorbency potential. This is due to the natural oils in the unbleached fabric that need to be washed out before the fabric can fully absorb. Placing the diapers in hot water and soaking overnight before washing as usual may hasten this process. Once this process is completed, the unbleached diapers will not need any special treatment.
Which diaper covers are best?
Diaper covers are available in a variety of fabrics and brands, each with unique qualities and features. Most work well for the average baby, but experimenting with different kinds will help you fine tune what works best for your own baby's shape and for daytime, nighttime, or outings. Consider important factors such as breathability, cost, and convenience-and choose accordingly. If you're struggling with diaper rashes or only want the most natural system for your baby, breathable covers are essential, so look for covers that indicate they're breathable. If these aren't issues for you, try covers that meet your other criteria, but it's a good idea to have at least a few breathable covers on hand for occasional use as a rash-preventative measure or in case baby's bottom gets red.
How many diaper covers do I need?
Four is the bare minimum needed per size, per day. Six is average, and eight for ultimate convenience. When dampness is apparent, change the diaper and air out the cover. Diaper your baby again using a fresh cover. By rotating your covers you can often re-use the same cover three to five times before it needs laundering. For minor soils, gently spot-wash in cool water with mild detergent or soap when still fresh (don't scrub or soak, and avoid using dishwashing liquid or stain removers). Wash completely every 2 to 3 days, or when needed.
How do I wash my diaper covers?
Washing instructions for cover care will vary depending on the fabric type, so it's best to check for specific directions that apply to the covers you're using. For most covers, especially the more natural or breathable ones, it's best to be gentle on the waterproofing as this will extend the life of the cover.
More diapering questions?
Please call us if you have more diapering questions. We're happy to assist you with product information or troubleshooting tips. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 9 am - 5 pm Pacific Time.