A diaper pail with a lid that is easy to open and close would be ideal. It would be your new best friend in controlling odor while waiting for your washing day.
A wet bag would do the job as well. We nowadays use a wet bag full time because I like how I can wash them and hang them dry on the same schedule we wash cloth diapers.
Nice To Have
1. Toilet Sprayer
Although not necessarily required, I highly recommend getting a toilet sprayer if you are going to use cloth until your little one learns to use the potty. It will help you spray off unwanted residues to flush them down to the toilet before you throw in the soiled diapers in the diaper pail or your wet bag.
It will also free your hand from touching the untouchables, LOL. It would immediately rinse off pee or poo compared to when you use a traditional method of using a bucket of water to clean off the soiled diapers initially.
2. Spray Pal
If you are new to cloth diapering, you will feel relieved every time you don’t have to touch a dirty diaper. You can clip the dirty diaper onto your Spray Pal and start spraying away. It is a “luxury” for parents who wants to keep their hands off the yucky feeling.
3. Flushable Diaper Liners
It is a thin liner you can lay flat onto your cloth diaper. The advantage of having this is that, when your child poops, you can flush the liner away with it.
It minimizes the need to spray all the residues away mainly because the contact between the poop and the cloth is very minimal. I have only been using liners when my toddler turned two years old – but she moves a lot it is impossible to maintain the liner flat inside.
By the time she poops, there is no more liner to catch the dirt because it is already all crumpled inside. It can be a good option for younger babies who don’t move a lot, yet. It is an additional cost though, but only as little as less than $10 for 100 pieces. It is an excellent accessory for parents who use cloth diapers when going out but doesn’t have the access to toilet sprayer in public toilets.
4. Diaper Pail Deodorizers or Baking Soda
Using diaper pail deodorizers can help minimize the stink inside the diaper pail. However, not all brands work as they promise. Unless you can find one that works all the way entirely, you can skip this and stick with the old school baking soda.
Keep in mind though that some brands of cloth diapers are STRICTLY not allowing baking soda on their cloth diapers. If you are using the exact wet bag above like I do, you will not need any baking soda.
The Cloth Diaper Washing Instructions
How To Wash New Cloth Diaper
To achieve optimal softness and absorbency, all cloth diapers should be pre-washed before using them. For some brands, you only need to wash them once, and you’ll be able to see a significant difference in absorbency.
Other brands take 3-5 washes to impress you finally. In general, white or bleached diapers require only one prewash. Unbleached diapers take 3-5 pre-washes to make the diapers fully absorbent.
How To Wash Used Cloth Diapers
1. Remove solid waste. Use a toilet sprayer to remove the rest. If you have the flushable liners, just flush waste into the toilet along with it.
2. While some can do with washing at least every three to four days, I would highly recommend to shorten it to 2-3 days, depending on the number of diapers you have. 18 would be a recommended minimum.
Expect to change diapers 12x a day for newborns and fewer as your baby grows. But it again depends on the diaper you are acquiring.
Washing them more frequently can help the smell to NOT stick for too long to the fabric. I can imagine how stinky a cloth diaper unwashed for four days is.
It is not only harder to remove the smell, but there is a significant possibility that more bacterias have already been squatting there for longer than ideal.
3. Never use bleach or fabric softeners as it affects the absorbency of the inserts as well as the quality of the fabric of the covers. Most manufacturers will void your diaper’s warranty if you use these two. They are experts in knowing so they will be able to tell if you are claiming warranty for a bleached insert or a fabric-softened cover. The most you can claim warranty for is if the buttons suddenly fail. But it depends on what brand are you getting.
4. Anything more than 24 diapers for one load is a bit too cramped. It is fine to wash the inserts and covers together unless the cover is wool.
5. Although adding one teaspoon of baking soda help avoid stinky smell after washing, some cloth diapers manufacturers DO NOT RECOMMEND them. Some brands are okay to use baking soda. If you are washing different brands together in a single load, better check which are the ones that are good with baking soda and which are those that PROHIBITS it. Better wash them in a separate load if that’s the case.
6. While line-drying helps increase the durability of the covers and inserts, they would take longer to dry with this method. Most good brands can stand the test of spinning and machine drying and are still able to perform well after two plus years of use. If you have access to direct sunlight, make use of it as it would be a natural sterilizer.
7. Cold wash is good enough. Some who don’t have access to direct sunlight like to think that hot water will sterilize the diapers. It will also do. But you do not need to do it with every wash.
8. Use the correct amount of detergent. Using a lot can cause a build up in residues on the inserts which diminish the absorption quality. Putting in too little would make the diapers still stink and would not clean it enough. If you are not sticking to the suggested detergent of the manufacturer, most detergent with no dyes and has natural fragrances will do the job. Avoid detergents with oil surfactants.
9. You may want to set the level of the water to the highest setting. Sometimes two short washes clean more than one long wash. Depending on the washer you are using, you have to gauge which of the two works better.
10. If you need to remove the stain, use lemon by saturating the stained part and hang the diaper under the sun. Keep on doing it until the stain is gone. Use cold water since hot water will make it harder to remove the stain. Better yet, to avoid stains, remove all residues with a toilet sprayer before putting the diaper in the pail/wet bag. Also, don’t let it sit there for too long. 2 to 3 days would be ideal.
11. If you can get access to an energy star-rated clothes washer, do it. It can save on water and electricity which means more cost savings for you in the long run.
If you have any question, feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.:)