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How to prep cloth diapers before use

How to prep cloth diapers before use


This is part 4 of our series on cloth diapering.

To see the other parts of The Nestery's ongoing series on cloth diapering, go here -


Today's topic is how to prep cloth diapers before use. No matter how excited you are to get those cute cloth diapers on your baby's bum, newly purchased diapers do need to be prepared for use. Prepping cloth diapers is a washing process that not only cleans the diapers but also helps them become absorbent. We recommend that you do not skip this step as it makes diapers soft cushy and absorbent.

How you prep diapers depends on the type of cloth diapers you've purchased. Let us break it down for you:

How to prep diaper covers

Diaper covers are made of synthetic materials like PUL, TPU etc. They need just one wash to be ready to use.

How to prep pocket diapers and all in one diapers

If they have synthetic inserts like microfleece, microfiber, charcoal bamboo or a bamboo/microfiber blend, they need just one wash.

How to prep diapers with natural fabrics

If the pocket diaper or all in one diapers have natural inserts like cotton, bamboo or hemp, they need several washes before they are ready to use. Flats and prefolds are also made of natural fabrics.

Diapers or inserts made from natural fabrics retain plant oils in them which need to be fully washed away before they become absorbent. So they need at least 4-5 washes before they become absorbent. Hemp is naturally slower absorbing and needs more washing than bamboo and cotton, about 8-10 washes

Natural fabrics need to be washed in hot water (40°C) and dried completely before the next wash. They can be washed with other laundry. Prefolds, flats and even natural inserts can also be boiled for 10 minutes to prep them.

How to prep preloved diapers

Preloved diapers are most likely already absorbent. However, you should wash and prep them very carefully before use, because they may contain some bacteria, yeast or stink from the previous user.

Bleaching diapers is generally not recommended but preloved diapers need to be bleached. Wash the diapers once. Then add 5 ml Clorox bleach in a bucket of cold water and put the diapers and all their parts in it. Make sure they are fully submerged and soak them for 30-45 minutes. Rinse in hot water after the soaking period and then wash in a regular cycle with hot water (40-60°C) to make sure they are fully clean and bleach free.

Some tips to remember about prepping cloth diapers:

  1. Make sure that synthetic and natural diapers are not washed together. The plant oils released by the natural fabric diapers will most likely spoil the synthetic fabrics and cause them to become repellent, reducing absorption.
  2. Use the right detergent to wash the cloth diapers. Regular detergents have added scents, fabric softeners and other harmful additives that could harm the diaper as well as your baby's skin. Use a basic additive and fragrance free detergent like Tide in the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Do a full wash cycle and dry the diapers completely before the next wash.
  4. Do not boil any synthetic fabrics as they could get delaminated or the snaps could melt.
  5. Use bleach only for preloved diapers.

We hope you find this information useful as you purchase diapers and begin your cloth diapering journey! To check out our full cloth diaper collection, visit our cloth diaper collection HERE. And watch out for the next post in the cloth diapering series on cloth diaper fit!