How Should You Dry Your Cloth Diapers?

I don’t take the things I find simple for granted anymore. The enormous amount of emails I get tells me that there are no black and white topics when it comes to cloth diapering.

One specific question that has come up lately is whether it is good for your diapers to dry in the dryer. With colder whether approaching or already here, line drying seems a little uninviting. This leaves many moms wondering what is safe to do with their diapers.

The reason for the question is the circulating accounts of elastic being ruined and PUL cracking from repeated drying which will then cause leaks. Although I have no doubt that both of these things can and do occasionally occur, in my experience neither problem has arose.

My routine involves drying everything but my Bumkins covers in the dryer on high heat for 70 minutes. This routine has been done on the same diapers for almost a year. I have never had elastic stretch, weaken or snap on any diaper and any leaks I have come from buildup or oversaturation.

In addition, my electric bill has always remained relatively low throughout the year even with this prolonged dry cycle. (it averages about $110/month for a 2000sq ft home)

If you would like to skip the dryer all together there are ways to line dry in your home. Here is just one site with a variety of wood drying racks. Of course you can also do as I do when the need arises and scatter damp clothing around every available space :)

Pockets will dry within a couple of hours, while AIO and fitteds can take a significant amount of time. If you’re goal is to completely eliminate the dryer then switching to pockets, flats and doublers may be the quickest way to go.

One more note on the elastic. The key is to allow the diapers to fully cool off before stretching them out. Not a problem for me when I leave them in there for a day and grab when I need one :D


About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

6 Responses to “How Should You Dry Your Cloth Diapers?”

  1. Kelly Says:

    I do both “line” drying and using my dryer. I have two of the folding drying racks and they hold my diapers, inserts and wipes. And I use a lot of wipes :) As long as I do diapers every couple days, they seem to dry fine and I don’t run out. I have never dried them outside but plan to in the summer. My house is pretty tiny, but I just move the racks wherever I have room. As a bonus, now that the heat is on, they dry faster and add a little needed humidity to the dry air. And I switched to using Charlie’s Soap and haven’t had a problem with stinkies since. Sometimes I do put them in the dryer, but I try to alternate to extend their life. I also find that Bum Genius 3.0 are much easier to stuff after line drying as opposed to dryer drying.


  2. Autumn Beck Says:

    Andrea, I have been using Bac-Out and have had no stink since starting. I love it!

    Here are a couple of posts I have done regarding Bac-Out:


  3. Michelle Says:

    I love line-drying dipes, the sun and wind work wonders -but with Canadian winters we end up using the dryer a lot :( Some dipes don’t dry with just one cycle so we avoid using them if possible.


  4. Lisa Says:

    In New MExico we get sunshine most of the year. But with the cold I have noticed that they don’t fully dry outside, so I toss them in the dryer for a quick cycle after being out all day, which also soften them up from the line. Note that you can also reduce the stiffness of line drying by adding a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle (I put it in a downy dryer ball). IF you add vinegar, wash covers separately as the plastic and vinegar can accentuate, instead of eliminate, urine odor. Also lay them flat to dry outside to prevent the elastic stretching from the weight of water. I throw a beach towel over my clothes line and lay the diapers on top of that.


  5. Rachel Says:

    I always run an extra spin cycle and it seems to cut way down on dry time. I also do this with hand washed wool before I lay it out to dry. Works great!


  6. Andrea Says:

    I too dry in the dryer and haven’t had any problems with leaking or elastic (though I’ve only been cloth diapering for about 5 months) I do try to line dry in the warmer months, but I live in WI, so those months are quite short. I have found that line drying works wonders on smelly diapers! I’m wondering what other people do for winter stinkies. Does the sun work as well through a window? (probably a dumb question, but I thought I’d ask) drying outside is not going to be an option until at least march and that is probably wishful thinking!


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