Cloth Diaper Laundry

a guest post by Jessica White

Laundry is definitely one of the things that I love to hate (or is it hate to love?). Having triplets meant jumping instantaneously from 3 to 6 people in our family, and did not really leave much of a learning curve when it comes to how to handle laundry of a large family. Particularly when, in addition to multiple wardrobe changes, bibs, burp cloths and play clothes, there are 40+ cloth diapers that also need to get washed.

The clothes are easy enough: Stuff the machine full, add in a bit of soap, let it go, transfer to dryer, remove and fold. That’s where I lose the clothes battle; folding the mountains of laundry and putting them away. If I were to be honest—well, let’s be honest—we live out of wash baskets most of the time. There! I said it.

Mountains of LaundryI’ve tried to explain to people that the more clothes the kids have the more laundry I have, but certain people don’t subscribe to that thought process. Thus why my kids have 30 Sterilite totes of clothes in our attic, not including what is already in their dressers and fits them. I kid you not. {Someday I will have the awesomest yard sale EVER.}

I’ve tried doing the whole do-one-load-of-laundry-per-day-thing—washed, folded, and away—but it doesn’t work for me. I have better luck with stock piling the clean, unfolded, laundry for a week, then putting a movie on while the kids are sleeping, folding all the laundry, and putting it in baskets for each location (my daughter’s room, our room, and the babies’ room).

Cloth diapers are a bit more on the imperative side of laundry needing to be done. If they don’t get washed they start to reek and if I don’t fold them we don’t have diapers, and since just running out and buying some isn’t an option (I have yet to take all 4 kids with me to a store, even with my husband), they need to get done.


How does one even consider cloth diapering 3 children at once? Money. Plain and simple, cloth diapers were, by far, the cheaper alternative.

Fortunately, we had already cloth diapered our first child and had a bit of a stash {cloth-diaper-ese for a supply of diapers} built up and knew what we were doing. We actually had 4 kids in diapers for 8 months, since our almost 3 year old (November 1) only stopped wearing diapers in the past month.

The diapers are actually a cake-walk to wash. They’re really not that much more effort than any other laundry: Pull out the inserts, separate pockets and inserts, wash accordingly (cold water rinse, hot water wash, with a touch of detergent [we use Purex Free and Clear], with an extra cold water rinse). Occasionally I’ll throw a bit of bleach in with the inserts (NOT the pockets, it breaks down the PUL fabric…I actually managed to destroy about 2 dozen diapers this way), especially during the winter when they’re not out in the sun.

cloth diapers on a drying rackInserts can go in the dryer (or clothesline, weather permitting) and pockets on the line or on a drying rack (no dryer for them). Stuff the inserts back in the pockets and use just like any other diaper.

The first year we had diapers (remember, we have all Fall/Winter babies) I was worried the pockets would take forever to dry, but putting the drying rack over a heat grate dries them faster than out in the sun.

I know it sounds intense, but it’s really quite simple; especially when you think of how much money you’re saving, despite the extra water/energy and the miniscule amount of detergent. Plus it only results in a few extra loads of laundry a week. And really, who would notice that when there is already laundry from 6 people?

Now you’re thinking, “Ok. Yea. BUT what does she DO with all those dirty diapers until laundry day? Her house must STINK!”

We have two 6 gallon buckets, fitted with a twist-off lids {aka Gamma Seal lids}, that we keep all the diapers in until laundry time arrives. It’s great! Easy to open, it’s big enough for a full load of diapers, and it keeps all the stink contained. Of course, when you open the lid after a couple of days it is a bit powerful, but I try not to breath.

I really do love laundry: Washing it, hanging it out to dry, folding it. I just wish I was able to get to the rest of it before it feels like an insurmountable task. Hanging cloth diapers on the clothesline in ROY G BIV order is always sure to put a smile on my face.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, our cloth diaper of choice is BumGenius 4.0 One-Size. I’ve tried other brands, that had more color choices, but my BGs have lasted a long time (some of them are hand-me-downs that are 5 years old and are still going strong).

If you have questions about cloth diapering, please feel free to email me: [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!

jessicawhiteA grateful infertility-survivor: Mom of a toddler and now triplets. I don’t “Do it all”, but it is imperative that I keep up with the diaper laundry! I blog to share God’s lessons, discoveries, and grace as I learn to embrace my Life in the White House.


Subscribe below to receive my blog posts in your inbox:

Spam is only good in WWII books; I promise I won鈥檛 sell your email address.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Wow! Great post. It kind of makes me wish I had considered cloth nappies for a bit longer with my triplets. Which made me wonder if I should do it for the next year or so…

    1. It would be completely worth it. You would still save so much money by doing it. You probably could get away with having only 2 or 3 dozen diapers, and just washing a bit more frequently.


  2. I loved this post! I had two in cloth for awhile so I could relate a tiny bit, but three/four is majorly impressive. And like everyone else mentioned…I loved the pictures…and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who organizes her diaper laundry as she hangs it (and gets such immense satisfaction out of it! :)).

  3. Oh, miss Jessica – what a great piece, and what fun images too! My kiddo is well-past the diaper stage, but you certainly make very good and valid points for cloth diapers. If a mom of triplets can do it, there just ain’t no real good excuse for anyone else, aye?


    1. Haha…Thanks Darlene! It really is a very simple thing to do. I think it’s more a matter of people’s comfort level dealing with heavily soiled laundry than anything 馃檪