Back to Basics: How to Wash Cloth Diapers
Determining your water type is an important step! You can do this at home using a test strip. Sometimes you are able to find out by calling your local water company.
Soft Water: Typically, you'll need to use less detergent. If you use the recommended amount, you may end up with build-up which can lead to ammonia or leaks.
Hard Water: You have to find the delicate balance of using enough detergent. If you use too much, you could end up with buildup. Too little and your diapers won't be clean enough. Adding Calgon to your wash routine will help with this.
Washing cloth diapers doesn't have to be difficult! My suggestion is start simply and only change things when you start to notice a problem!
Step 1: Do a prewash or prerinse cycle in warm water with no detergent. Hot water will set in stains, while cold water has a hard time rinsing out any leftover urine or poop left on the diapers.
Step 2: Long hot wash cycle with the recommended amount of detergent.
Step 3: Rinse cycle number 1. This one usually comes automatically after your wash cycle. You shouldn't have to manually set this cycle. Hot water is best for getting the detergent out of your diapers.
Step 4: Rinse cycle number 2 in hot water.
You can dry your inserts, flats, fitteds, or prefolds in the dryer. You should hand dry your covers or anything made with PUL or TPU.
For details on cloth diaper detergents see PinStripes and PolkaDot's Detergent Choice List.
Please check the recommended wash directions provided by the diaper manufacturer. Many detergents and additives may void warranties.