Cloth Diapers FAQs


Q: How many cloth diapers do I need?

A:  This is going to depend largely on the age of your baby. If you’re buying a newborn stash, you’ll need more diapers than you will if you’re buying for a toddler.

Another consideration is how often you’ll be washing. You can get away with a smaller stash if you want to wash nightly, although it’s not as energy efficient or environmentally friendly. Most families wash every other day.

Here’s a good sized newborn stash, to be washed every other day:

20-24 cloth diapers (either one-size, sized, or a combination of the two)

4-6 diaper covers (any combination of PUL covers, wool or fleece longies, shorties, or soakers)

2-3 dozen cloth wipes

4-6 doublers

An older baby will need:

16-20 diapers (either one-size, sized, or a combination of the two)

3-4 covers (any combination of PUL covers, wool or fleece longies, shorties, or soakers)

2-3 dozen wipes

4-6 doublers

Remember these are suggestions based on every other day washing. If you’re looking to save a little extra money, cut the numbers in half and wash nightly. You can always add to your stash over time.

Q: I just got my new diapers. Now what?

A:  Brand new cloth diapers need to be washed 8 times to reach their maximum absorbency. This will remove the oils from the natural fibers that can prevent absorption. Drying between each wash cycle will shrink the cloth diaper to its proper size. I have terrible self-control & always wash/dry once before using my diapers. You can do this too, just expect to change more often until they are fully prepped.

Q: What do I do with the dirty diapers?

A:  Take the dirty diaper off. If there’s poo, plop it in the toilet. Store your dirty diapers in a diaper pail or wetbag until wash day. We recommend washing every other day.

Q: How do I wash them?


-Wash the entire load in a rinse cycle, no detergent, with cold water. This will remove any left over ickiness on your diapers, help prevent stains, and ensure your diapers come out clean.

-Wash again with warm water. Wash using just slightly less than the recommended amount of detergent.

-Do a second cold water rinse, no detergent.

-Tumble dry on warm or line dry.  Line drying can help reduce fading and pilling of your prints. 

**NEVER boil your diapers.  Boiling will damage the snaps & elastic beyond repair and void any & all warranties.  

Q: My diapers are crunchy. Help!

A:  We recommend using Ecover liquid fabric softener as needed. This is an eco-friendly fabric softener that will not build up or cause repelling and is safe for cloth diapers. If your stash consists of natural and synthetic fiber diapers, wash only the natural fiber diapers in Ecover. Orange Diaper Co diapers are made of natural fibers.

When line drying, tumble diapers in the dryer for a few minutes before hanging.

Using dryer balls can also keep your cloth diapers soft & reduce drying time.

Q: My cloth diapers are stained.

A:  The sun works wonders on stains. Lay wet cloth diapers in the sun. Squeezing lemon juice over the stain before going outside can help stubborn stains.

Do not bleach your diapers! This will cause discoloration and can damage the fibers and elastic in your diapers.

Q: I just washed them, but my diapers are still smelly.

A:  Smelly diapers aren’t clean diapers. Your cloth diapers should smell like clean clothes when they come out of the dryer. The following can cause smelly diapers:

-Detergent buildup. Make sure you’re not using too much soap and that your cloth diapers are rinsing clean. Check the load during the final rinse cycle. You shouldn’t see any bubbles. If you’ve got bubbles, continue rinsing until they’re gone.

Detergents with added fragrances, oils, brighteners, softeners, enzymes and other additives can cause build up.

-Hard water. Many municipal water systems contain minerals, and lots of minerals can get in the way of your detergents ability to clean your clothes & diapers. In short, the detergent is working to break down those minerals instead of working to clean your laundry.

Using a water softener such as Calgon usually resolves the smell issue if you have hard water.

-Not enough detergent. Some cloth diapering sites recommend using just a teaspoon, or even just a few drops, of detergent. You need detergent to get your diapers clean! Don’t overdo the soap, but don’t be afraid of it either.

**NEVER boil your diapers.  Boiling will damage the snaps & elastic beyond repair and void any & all warranties.  

Q: Do I need to sanitize my washer after washing cloth diapers?

A:  No. If your diapers are clean, so is your washer.

Am I really going to save money using cloth diapers?

A:  I highly recommend using the cloth diaper calculator at the Diaper Pin. It will add up the cost of cloth (including the cost of water & electricity needed for washing) and compare that to the cost of throw-away diapers. Very cool.