cloth 201 BLOG_201

Published on January 5th, 2014 | by Brittney French


Cloth 201: The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing your cloth diapers is always a hot topic. 306116_10150949378804816_328437027_n

People use bleach, people boil, people like Tide, people strip, people sun, and people also tend to give conflicting washing instructions that go against Cotton Babies recommendations.  Now, what you do to your cloth diapers is your prerogative.  But following a blurb from a mama on some forum that says, "Boiling my inserts works great for me," isn't always the best thing to do because advice that doesn't come from Cotton Babies could void your warranty on your bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum diapers.

To make sure you know how NOT to void the warranty on your Cotton Babies' diapers, we've created the handy list for you below!


- Wash your cloth diapers on warm or hot, but temperatures should not exceed 140°F/60°C.

- Add 1/4 cup of REGULAR liquid chlorine bleach to your wash load once a month.

- Do one cold wash, one hot wash (both with detergent), then rinse.

- Use a cloth diaper safe detergent, which you can find here.

- Strip your diapers if you experience leaks or odors.

- Line dry covers, tumble dry inserts on medium heat setting.


- Boil your diapers or inserts, nor use the sanitize cycle. EVER. It's simply too hot.

- Use a cream, lotion, or oil without a barrier. 

- Wash with detergents not formulated for cloth diapers.  Detergents containing pure soap, enzymes, fabric whiteners, fabric brighteners, fabric softeners, or anything scented are not recommended.  You can download a list of detergent recommendations here.

- Add bleach more than once a month.

- Soak your diapers.

- Add baking soda or vinegars to your wash routine.  They are a no-no because the additives can damage the waterproof material and elasticity of your diapers.  These products can also change the pH of your diapers, resulting in skin irritations.

If you're still unsure about how to wash your cloth diapers safely without voiding your warranty, give us a call at 1-888-332-2243 so we can help.  You can also read more about the Cotton Babies warranty here.


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About the Author

Brittney is a social media coordinator for Cotton Babies. She has three sisters, loves pizza and enjoys listening to obscure bands no one has heard of. Outside of posting on the Cotton Babies Facebook page, she babysits a few cloth diaper-wearing kids and cheers for her favorite sports team.

12 Responses to Cloth 201: The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Cloth Diapers

  1. DaNitra Smith says:

    I follow this except I haven’t used the bleach yet. I will try the next time I wash.

  2. Monika says:

    Baby Cloth Diaper are soft and breathable, gentle for baby soft skin.

  3. Jill says:

    One of the biggest don’ts I am surprised to not see on your list. . .you can’t use fabric softener.

  4. Jenni says:

    Why is vinegar a no-no? I use it regularly in my wash- does it damage the diapers?

    • Brittney says:

      Additives can damage the waterproofness and elasticity of your diapers. In addition, they can change the pH of your diapers resulting in skin irritations.

  5. Bad Wolf says:

    This is a very frustrating post for me to read. I have had to exchange a couple of my Flip covers and a few of my BG 4.0’s because the laminate cracked. In my correspondence with customer service regarding replacing the product, they asked if I was washing my diapers in water above 120°, and instructed me not to do that, almost as if it was my fault that the laminate failed because I washed my diapers on hot instead of warm. But here, on the Cotton Babies blog it says hot water. :/

  6. Meredith says:

    Why no baking soda? I use a little to help soften the water because I have hard water and it seems to help get the diapers cleaner.

    • Brittney says:

      We only recommend Calgon to soften the water. Additives can damage the waterproofness and elasticity of your diapers. In addition, they can change the pH of your diapers resulting in skin irritations.

  7. Brittany Pham says:

    I have a new washer with a Sanitize cycle that heats water to 165 degrees during the hot wash cycle. Would this setting be appropriate for washing my Bum Genius freetime diapers? I am noticing the diapers smell more often when I wash now that baby is older and his waste is more pungent (and in more abundance). I was thinking the Sanitize setting might help fight odors better. I do strip the diapers to get rid of lingering odors, but that takes a lot more time because I have to rinse three or four times to get rid of the suds. Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      The sanitize cycle is too hot, and CB doesn’t recommend it.

    • Amanda says:

      The article says at the very top of the DON’T list. “Boil your diapers or inserts, or use the sanitize cycle. EVER. It’s simply too hot.”

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