Rinse Wash Rinse Dry Do a Little Dance

September 12, 2013

Washing Cloth Diapers

Sometimes the stubborn spontaneous me will resist routine.

I have successfully convinced myself that if I say I have a routine I will somehow be classified as boring.

Although I won’t say I have a routine anyone who looks at my daily life will plainly see that it varies little from day to day.

Routine? Okay, I’ll admit I have one.  Ready at any moment to break the routine?  Absolutely.  Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to not cook, teach, or clean?

However, I will happily stick with my very boring, very routine cloth diaper wash schedule!

It’s so simple my children can do it or my husband or anyone who walks in the door and can turn a knob.

Making things easier is the fact that I’m still in the sweet spot for cloth diapering. You know the sweet spot.  Baby is exclusively breastfed and poops are a nice water soluble liquidish consistency.  No sprayer needed.  No dunking or swishing necessary.  Just take off and toss in wet bag.

That sweet spot.

Maybe it’s because Finley is my 5th child to cloth diaper but washing cloth diapers has never been easier.  Ya I’m pretty sure that’s it because almost every aspect of parenting is easier with Finley.  Kinks have been worked out (of course new ones are always appearing) and I roll with “issues” with a cool attitude….most of the time.

My wash routine is no big elaborate hush hush secret.

But maybe something here will be the key to your washing woes and if you are having problems I say DON’T STRESS!  We can work it all out.

Are you ready for my boring routine?


Open wetbags.

Dump in washer.

Wash in cold water for prerinse purposes.*

Wash in hot (or warm) with Purex detergent.

Wash in cold on QuickWash setting for 2nd rinse purposes.

Pull out wetbags and AI2 shells (covers) and air dry.

Toss inserts and AIOs in dryer.

Super easy, huh?  Here are the details on my machine and water type.  I have a GE top loader, it agitates but not hard like the old kind (I wish it did).  Water here in LA County is considered “very hard” by testing measures.

I used to fear hard water until I had the privilege of comparing it to salt pellet softened well water.  Here in California I have no problems with the diapers stinking or causing rashes.  In Texas Finley suffers from serious rashes.  (In Texas I switched to a “cloth diaper” detergent to see if the rash was caused from the detergent.)

Notice that little asterisk by the prerinse step?  For nearly all my cloth diapering days I have used Bacout in the prewash.  Since moving back here to California for the school year I have not used Bacout.  Why?  Well, it’s not because their label has changed (a common concern across the cloth diapering community and I have a post on that coming soon) but simply because it’s expensive!

I do not live frugally yet I just couldn’t bring myself to pay the price for a bottle on Amazon.  Perhaps if I find some cheaper in a store I’ll pick it up but it’s not a necessity at this time.

I really never thought I’d stop using Bacout. I had become so attached to my use of it that I thought it was the pivotal ingredient in my successful wash routine.

Talk to me in a year when Finley has some nasty poopy diapers and you’ll probably hear me singing the praises of Bacout again. There’s this weird thought process that goes on in my head when I put gnarly poo diapers in the washer.  Knowing that enzymes are in there eating away the nastiness makes me feel peaceful.

What am I recommending you do?  I’ve most likely confused you as to what my recommendation is.  Yes, Bacout is great.  Yes, I still recommend it.  No, I don’t currently use it because I’ve chickened out on the cost.  Yes, I’ll probably use it again.  Clear?

Does that sound just like your routine?  Is it working well for you?

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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 https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

23 Responses to “Rinse Wash Rinse Dry Do a Little Dance”

  1. Irina Johnson Says:

    It’s a great blog on diapers! Thanks for sharing valuable information on diaper washing.


  2. Jordan Says:

    Hey this is just a quick thanks!! I had posted about using Kirkland detergent and was having ok results but I read on here about using purex so I tried there natural Elements and it’s fantastic!!!! I really love it. I only have to use a tiny bit and it gets my diapers and pull ups clean!! Plus for me its more readily available. Costco is an hour n a half away where wal mart is fifteen minutes. Anyway thanks!!


  3. Jordan Says:

    I got my boys (ages 6 and 5) pull ups from mother ease. They are called bedwetter pants. My 6 yr old is a super heavy wetter and he has never leaked with these!! But they are extremely bulky my five yr old hates them. I have been looking into trimmer options through etsy and there are some called super undies. All about the same price range and make them in big sizes for older kids. I have been pleased with mine from mother ease but would love some a little trimmer plus they only come in white and my water stains everything orange. Anyway I’m hoping to try some others out I would love to get some cute boy prints!! I want to learn to sew to make my own. Etsy has a few options and then there arethe super undies which are not through etsy. On etsy I just searched for cloth pull ups. Hope this helps:-)


  4. Jordan Says:

    I’m new to the cloth diapering scene but just thought I would share! My daughter is 16 months. We mostly use AIO or pockets. I live in rural Minnesota and we have horrible water!! It stinks and it’s very orange. I have had my diapers for two montys and already they have orange stains. Anyway I’ve been extremely pleased (and shocked) with my wash routine. I rinse in cold, wash in warm with Ireland regular detergent. Its just like Tide regular. I also recently started using Carlton liquid water softener which was recommend by cottonbabies. Anyway I wash then do a quick rinse. My diapers are clean and ready to go! I have a very old oversized capacity top loader. My diapers don’t smell and we don’t have rash problems. I previously had used Honest company detergent but had horrible problems with smells and Rashes. I really think the Kirkland detergent is what helped! Plus I can get it in bulk for cheap which is nice with five young kids. I also wash my boys cloth pullups the same way with the same results.


    • Billie Says:

      Cloth Pull ups?!?!?! What kind and where do you get them!!??!! We cloth diaper our 2 yr old but our 3.5 yr old is still in disposable pull ups. We get a case at Sam’s Club, but its still expensive, especially since our 5 yr old, who is potty trained wears them to bed at night for accidents, and the 2 yr old wears them at night as well. He is such a heavy wetter that 2 to 3 inserts only last him during nap time if he doesn’t sleep more than 3 hours. How are the cloth pull ups on absorbency? I would really love it if we could stop using disposables all together or just for at night. We are expecting our 6th baby in May, and would love to have this and all of our new cloth diapers ready to go!


      • Jordan Says:

        I got my boys (ages 6 and 5) pull ups from mother ease. They are called bedwetter pants. My 6 yr old is a super heavy wetter and he has never leaked with these!! But they are extremely bulky my five yr old hates them. I have been looking into trimmer options through etsy and there are some called super undies. All about the same price range and make them in big sizes for older kids. I have been pleased with mine from mother ease but would love some a little trimmer plus they only come in white and my water stains everything orange. Anyway I’m hoping to try some others out I would love to get some cute boy prints!! I want to learn to sew to make my own:-)


  5. Kel Says:

    I have been cloth diapering for about a year (BTW spent forever on your site researching before I started!) I didn’t with my first, but I started with my second and third….a 2 year old and 6 month old. 2 year old is now 3 and potty trained, third is 17 months and still in cloth and I am expecting number 4 in January (so 2 in cloth again lol!)

    I have tried Rockin Green, Bum Genius, Tide powder in the occasional wash. I find the main thing that works for me (I have a Kenmore front loader), is I soak my diapers for 5-10 minutes in the laundry tub before I wash (I use liners so mostly just pee.) The water turns a decent yellow color so I know I am getting a TON of urine out and they are wet when I throw them straight in the washer so it “tricks” my washer into making more water. I then do a cold pre wash no detergent, a hot wash/cold rinse express cycle with detergent (since I soak beforehand I don’t really want to spend an hour washing plus waste all that water) and a extra cold rinse. I dry on low (I have mostly pockets and a few AIO’s.)

    I have tried not pre soaking and no matter what detergent my diaps would still stink, the soaking for just 5-10 minutes before right there in my laundry room saves me tons of water doing a long or regular wash (I do a 20-30 min express after the pre wash) plus the extra rinse and there is NO ammonia build up and they smell great! And I just wash my laundry tub after with regular dish soap.


    • Stephanie Says:

      Kel, are you ringing out your diapers or just draining your tub? Oh, and are you just using water, hot, cold???


      • Kel Says:

        Sorry I just checked back in and saw this! I am just using lukewarm water with the occasional bit of detergent if they smell really bad. They soak for 5-10 minutes (usually less than 10) then I ring them out and straight across into my open washer :) With them already wet it really does help “trick” my washer into making more water and I don’t have to do such a long cycle. And they always smell fresh!


  6. Nicole Says:

    Purex?? Cheap (inexpensive), liquid, purex?? I have a Whirlpool HE top loader. How much do you use??


  7. Heidi Says:

    My wash routine is very similar to yours, based on your recommendations of course! I tried stopping BacOut and using a scoop of Funk Rock in the prewash since I had it on hand. I didn’t really like the results, so I’m back to BacOut and things are back to normal. I have great luck using Country Save with our soft water. I tried Tide but it took 5 rinses to get rid of the suds, and I only used a heaping tablespoon!


  8. April Says:

    I don’t do a full wash as a rinse, but now I may start!

    I didn’t cloth my first and now that I’m seeing how easy it is with my twins I wish I would have.

    I rinse, wash with all fee and clear, rinse, rinse, dry. I dry everything. Only sometime to I hang, but we are in an apartment with no place to really air dry.

    I might look for the bacout, but right now I do a RLR wash once a month. Otherwise I get ammonia build up.



  9. Lori Says:

    Sounds almost exactly like mine. I am cding my second son. I have never used bacout, and I have had no stink issues. I do a cold soak wash. Then, I wash in hot with Purex with an extra rinse. I pull out the covers and throw the rest in the dry on low. Has worked great for over 3yrs now.


  10. Billie Says:

    I thought you had to use special cloth diaper detergent for the diapers. I didn’t know you could use Purex!! Is it a specific kind?!?!?!?!?! HELP!!


    • April Says:

      Billie, I’ve used rockin green before but now I use All Free and Clear. No perfumes or dyes and I use the low sudsing HE version. I haven’t noticed a difference other than its cheaper and easier to get when I need it.


      • Billie Says:

        Thanks for the tip. I have tried Rockin Green, but its so expensive and my son had an allergy to it. His poor little butt looked like it had chemical burn. Right now I use a self made detergent of 1 cup oxyclean Baby, 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup of baking soda. It works, but the diapers don’t smell as clean as I would like them too, especially after they’re wet. I have tried stripping them several times as well as sunning the shells all day, and high heat setting on the drier for the inserts ( I have all pockets). I’m about ready to try bleaching the inserts, but am scared to do it…


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I use the Natural Elements Purex.


  11. Gretchen Says:

    I do everything except my first wash I use a warm water (which due to an on demand water heater is still fairly cool) because I read somewhere that it helps get the “nastiness” out better than cold water rinse. (No, the article didn’t say nastiness but its midnight and I can’t think.)


  12. Marisa Says:

    Sounds like a good routine to me, but being Australian I am shocked that you put your nappies in the dryer everytime when living in California I presume it is sunny pretty often? While I do have a dryer for wintery, wet days 95% of the time its all good old fashioned clothes lines out in the sun here! It makes my nappies super white and gets rid of any smells at all. But as with all things parenting you should do what you want to do with your own family :)


    • April Says:

      California is a pretty big place, like everywhere it has all different kinds of weather. There is also, like in my case, the issue of space. I don’t have a clothes line and its against my apartment’s regulations to have things out drying on the patio.


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