Published on August 27th, 2012 | by Heather Vaughn


Cloth Diapers 201: Will bleach ruin my cloth diapers?

One of the most common questions we receive at Cotton Babies is
"Will bleach ruin my cloth diapers?" The reason this is a frequently asked question is because the washing instructions from say:

How do I wash my new diapers?
  • If the diaper has hook & loop closures, secure the laundry tabs.
  • Pre-wash cold to remove waste and fight stains.
  • Wash hot (100F/40C) with bumGenius detergent to cleanse your diapers.
  • Follow with a second rinse.
  • Line-dry covers and diaper shells. Tumble dry inserts, fitteds and prefolds.
Do you have any other washing tips?
  • Wash dirty diapers every other day.
  • If your diapers still stink, wash again.
  • Remove solid waste before storing in pail. (A bumGenius diaper sprayer is wonderful!)
  • Use only detergent and water. Do not use other additives like vinegar or baking soda.
  • Once per month, use up to 1/4 cup bleach in the hot wash cycle (step 3) to sanitize diapers and fight odors.
  • To remove stains, lay clean, wet diapers in the sun.
With the vibrant colors that you love in our bumGenius and Flip cloth diapers, it's no surprise you would be concerned about using bleach. As long as you stick to our recommended 1/4 cup of bleach once a month, it will not harm the beautiful colors on your cloth diapers. So the short answer is "Yes, in moderation, bleach is safe for your bumGenius, Flip and Econobum cloth diapers. Both covers and inserts."

A follow up question we often receive is "Do I HAVE to use bleach?" The short answer is no. Sunning your cloth diapers is another way to sanitize your cloth diapers and remove stains. However, if your little one has recently battled a yeast infection, we do recommend using bleach to ensure that all the microbes are removed. Just be sure to use the bleach once the infection is completely cleared up to avoid re-infection.

One final note about sanitizing your bumGenius, Flip and Econobum cloth diapers - Do not use the sanitize cycle on your washing machine. Many modern washing machines recommend this setting for cloth diapers. However, washing machine manufacturers are referring to older style cloth diapers, like prefolds and flats. Sanitize cycles on newer washing machines super heat the water within the machine, raising it above our suggested washing temperature. These high temperatures can cause your bumGenius, Flip and many other modern cloth diapers to lose elasticity or cause elements of the diaper to break down.

If you have further questions about laundry routine, using bleach or sanitizing your cloth diapers, feel free to give our customer service team a call at 1-888-332-2243 or e-mail at We're always glad to answer your questions and assist you with personalized troubleshooting tips.

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About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.

6 Responses to Cloth Diapers 201: Will bleach ruin my cloth diapers?

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  2. Sara says:

    Good information! Would the sanitize cycle on a newer washing machine be safe for inserts? Could you wash the covers separately, then do the sanitize cycle? I have flip stay dry inserts.

  3. This is very helpful especially to first time moms using cloth diapers. And yes, it does help if it is sun dried than just air dried. If using a good amount of detergent, be sure to rinse thoroughly even as much as 3-4x if necessary.

  4. Nice post and Great information:-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    How long of a cycle should it be? Normally my “hot cycle” which is really the warm cycle since that is not above 100 degrees, is when I allow the diaper to have soak time. So it agitates every few minutes for about 10-15 minutes then it does the contestant agitating for the normal cycle.
    How long can they be in the bleach for.

  6. Natalie says:

    What kills yeast in diapers? we have been fighting it all summer!

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