My Cloth Diaper Wash Routine using an HE front loader

When my husband and I bought our washer and dryer for our home having another child wasn’t even a thought in the back of our minds, let alone cloth diapering one.  We chose a washer and dryer combo that got great reviews and recommendations from family.  We loved that they were HE which meant less water and less utilities to run a load of laundry.  We purchased a Samsung front loading washing machine and dryer and loved them, they were super quiet and they have that nice little song when the cycle is done (I believe the song is called “The Trout” by Franz Schubert).  Anyhow, when we decided to have another child, four years after the purchase of our wonderful washer and dryer, cloth diapering just made sense for us.  I became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago due to my husband traveling so frequently for work, so cutting baby costs anyway possible was a must.  We also chose to cloth diaper to help minimize the amount of non decomposing diapers in the landfills.  We did our research, I looked to the internet to help me prepare and there wasn’t a whole lot of info out there on how to wash diapers in a front loading HE washer.  It took us trying a plethora of different combinations until finally… we found our perfect wash routine.  Now, it seems like a total pain the ass but really it is not that bad, the machine does most of the work for you.

First things first, if you are exclusively breastfeeding you do not need to spray out the poop prior to washing.  I had a hard time believing this at first but it is totally true.  It does get a little more complicated when baby starts eating other foods… but just a little bit.  Once Jasper was introduced to foods other than breast milk we found the need for our diaper sprayer and would rinse out the poopy diaper immediately then place it in the diaper pail for wash day.

We do diaper laundry every third day sometimes fourth but never go past that.  Below are the steps to our perfect wash routine.

Wash Routine

  1.  Dump dirty diapers into the washing machine while flipping the wet bag that contains them inside out and into the washer as well.
  2.  Soak two old bath or beach towels with water and place in the washing machine on top of the dirty diapers.  This helps add extra weight which makes the washer think it needs more water.
  3.  Set the washing machine to a “rinse and spin” cycle with “no spin,”  this is to add more water to the diapers which helps rinse them.  This cycle takes 8 minutes on my washing machine.
  4. Set the washing machine to do a “Quick Wash” press “Heavy Duty” with and extra rinse and make sure it is on the cold water setting. This is the pre-rinse cycle for diaper washing.  This cycle takes 45 minutes for my washing machine to complete.
  5. Do another rinse and spin with no spin cycle to help re-soak the diapers and towels. 8 minutes again.
  6. Use one heaping scoop of Rockin’ Green laundry detergent powder in the detergent tray.  Set the wash cycle to heavy duty with an extra rinse, hot/cold water.  This cycle takes my washing machine between 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes depending on the weight of the load.
  7. This last washing step is totally optional but I like to do it just to ensure that all of the detergent is washed out of my diapers…. I like to do another “heavy duty quick wash with and extra rinse”  but on hot/cold water.  This adds another 45 minutes.
  8. Dry your diapers.  I remove all of the items with the waterproof material/PUL and hang them to dry.  I place the towels and any prefolds, flats and inserts into the dryer with my wool dryer balls, set the dryer to time dry for 20 minutes on medium heat.  Then line dry the rest of the way or until stains have sunned away.

Well there you have it… this routine works well for us and I hope it works well for you too!



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