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Cleaning cloth diapers is not a big task as it looks like. There are many techniques available to clean them or parents themselves can devise their own one. Here a few basic techniques for how to wash baby cloth diapers at home:

Dry pail method

All the dirty could be stalked up together for a maximum of four days. Then put in the washing machine and washed with hot water. The temperature of the water should be very high to clean the diapers thoroughly. Only small amount detergent may be a tablespoon to two should be used. Excess soap would leave soap suds and cause the nappy to stink. The rinse cycle should be completed and then the diapers should be dried in the dryer. But the covers should be put to dry in the sun as too much of heat will wear it out quickly.

Wet Pail method

Wet pail method is similar to the above. Except that the diapers would be soaked every day in a new bucket of water and washed in the washing machine on the washing day. This way soaking before washing could be avoided.

There are a few variations to the above:


Soaking diapers in cold water would result in cleaner and stain free diapers. The diapers should be soaked overnight in the washing machine and the water drained out through the spin cycle before starting the wash cycle.
Note: Only diapers should be soaked not the covers.

Additional Rinse

Many times the soap suds remain in the diapers and cause to be stiff and stinky. To avoid this, additional rinse cycles may be opted for.

Cleaning poop

Poop should be cleaning off before the diaper goes to washing machine especially of babies who are formula fed and/or on solids. They may be scraped off with a spatula or sprayed off into the toilet. Any of these or parents could devise their own technique but it should be never be put into the washing machine directly.

Sun dry

Diapers last longer when dried under the sun on a cloth line. Also, sun would bleach off the yellow stains and take away the stink as well. But this may result in stiff diapers. To soften them, they could be tumble dried with a few clean tennis balls.


No baby detergents or fabric conditioners should be used on baby clothes. The baby detergents contain fabric softeners which cover the clothes with a coating and there by reduces absorbing ability. As diapers are expected absorb maximum wetness, baby detergents are not suitable on diapers. Even bleach should be avoided as they are hard on the fibers and reduce the life of diapers. Even if used, then diapers should be rinsed thoroughly.


To have good smelling diapers, lavender leaves could be added to the final rinse cycle
Remove bacteria and stink:  Vinegar or Essential oils such tea tree oil which are antibacterial could be added to wash or rinse cycle.

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