Purex Free and Clear, Country Save, Tiny Bubbles, Rockin’ Green, and Tide are probably the most popular laundry detergents for use with cloth diapers.
The more you research cloth diapers, the more you are going to run into a plethora of potentially overwhelming laundry advice, much of which will tell you to use a minimal amount of laundry detergent in order to “preserve” your diapers, or prevent “build up.” FORGET this advice! Diaper laundry does not have to be this complicated. Diapers are cloth, just like anything else that you launder. Treat them that way, and they will get clean, and you will never have stinky diapers.
How to wash:
Diapers, covers, inserts, diaper pail liners, etc, can all be washed together. Wash them at least once on cold without detergent to rinse everything out. Using cold water in the rinse will prevent stains from setting. Then wash them once on hot with plenty of detergent. (Don’t skimp like some well-meaning cloth diaperers suggest. Follow the directions for load size on your detergent bottle. Your baby is pooping on these things. You logically want to use more soap not less. If detergent doesn’t damage your clothes, it’s not going to damage your diapers.) Make sure to turn on the extra rinse cycle to get the suds rinsed out if your baby is sensitive to soapy smells/residue. The hot wash and using plenty of detergent will help kill all the yuckies in the diaper, so that they smell clean and fresh when they come out of the washer. The extra rinse will help rinse away any remaining suds, to prevent residue buildup that can mess with the absorbency of the diapers. Hang the diaper covers and pail liners to dry. Dry everything else in the dryer. Done!
I keep my cloth wipes in a wipes warmer, for the ultimate luxurious diaper changing experience. My kiddo used to throw the most dramatic tantrum whenever he had a messy diaper, and I finally realized one day that he was dreading the cold, rough wipes that were giving him a rash. As soon as I switched to cloth and a wipes warmer, his rash cleared up and he stays calm now when I’m cleaning him up!
7. Cloth Diapering Seems Expensive. Can I cloth diaper for less than $100?
Absolutely yes! Now, you may have to be less picky about the kind of cloth diapers you buy and some of the accessories (I don’t mean skimping on quality, I mean the fancy-factor) but I believe that it is absolutely do-able. This makes cloth diapering a great alternative if you are trying to save as much money as possible on diapers. (This is also assuming that you are not cloth diapering a newborn. Things could get a little more expensive if you plan to buy newborn sized diapers and regular cloth diapers.)
Here is a hypothetical cloth diaper stash that I put together for under $100. Keep in mind that you can probably find these diapers even cheaper during a sale or if you buy used:
$22.65 — 12 Imagine brand premium prefold diapers (My current favorite brand, but feel free to check out other quality brands listed in my other posts.)
$71.70 — 6 Econobum One-Size Diaper Covers (You can definitely find these for less than the listed price. Look for them for around $8 each during “seconds sales” on the Cotton babies website, look for them for sale on other cloth diapering websites, and look for them used.)
Total = $94.35
With this stash, you will have to wash your diapers every day up to every-other-day (which you should be doing no matter how large your stash is), and you will have to keep the dirty ones in an old pillow case or trash bag, as there is no special wetbag included in this stash. But for less than $100, these quality diapers should last you through several children, and you will be diapering for free for years! Prefolds will always be my favorites!