My boyfriend and I live in an apartment building and have shared washer and dryers. We are expecting a baby girl and have been leaning heavily towards cloth diapers. He is concerned if it is worth the cost of 1.50 a load as well as sanitation.

While I recently read that it isn't all that unsanitary. I'm concerned about the prewash/ presoak part of the procedure. The machines don't have that option. My thought was to presoak for an hour before using the machine in a plastic container and potentially doing 2 hot washes. One solo wash and another with whatever clothing I could fit. Though it seems that most people just do one hot wash. But then to save on drying cost to just get a towel rack to air dry. If I were to just wash them solo.

I guess my overall "question" is. Would doing the procedure of soaking the rinsed of diapers in cold or hot water in a bin, doing a solo hot tide detergent wash, then letting them sit on a towel rack to dry work out? or should I reconsider this procedure or just go for disposable diapers?

  • How would your neighbors feel about it? Somebody might get upset enough about poopy diapers in the washing machine that you don't want that trouble. Just something else to consider.
    – user20343
    Nov 30, 2018 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


We have gone through two girls using cloth nappies (diapers). Our current procedure is basically:

  • Rinse used nappies by hand as necessary to get most of the poo off
  • Toss them in a bucket, which may or may not contain enough water to soak them (the bucket lives in our shower, which is next to the washer and easy to isolate by closing the shower door)
  • Every couple of days, wash the contents of the bucket in a single hot wash cycle
  • Air dry, preferably outside but indoors if the weather is damp

As with most things parenting, you'll find that you get much more relaxed about everything on the second child. We have never had any problems that could be attributed to lack of sanitation on the nappy front.


My son was a cloth diaper baby and we used a coin operated washer at the time. My process was similar to @greg-hewgill answer (above). I removed solids by placing the diaper in the commode, securely holding one corner, and flushing. Then into a diaper pail with water. Washloads included detergent and bleach with hot water. Hot dryer temp (as I was in a cold climate). Other loads were never affected, no complaints from other machine users, and the diapers were always clean and fresh.

Food for thought: In my area, it is estimated that cloth diapers will cost $200 from birth-potty trained. How many bags of disposables will that buy? Oh, and... petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) is your friend!


We used cloth diapers and continue to. They seem to be better for the child and help with faster potty training, and fewer "rash" type incidents. So on that front, my opinion is that they are worth it.

As for washing, you remove the poo at home in the toilet or, if it's REALLY bad in the shower. Then you get a diaper pail (for cloth diapers) and just throw them in. About once every two or three days you do one load of laundry with bleach, soap and we always wash and rinse hot. We dry in a dryer but skip the fabric softener.

$1.50 a load is not bad and is still much cheaper than disposables. You should try to find a draining diaper pail, as they can be quite heavy if you have to carry them soaking wet and the pail is full of water too. But they're still less hassle then disposables. (the trash still needs to be taken out, and wet diapers are wet no matter what they're made of.)

Overall it adds a bit to the laundry but works out to be far less work then midnight runs to a drug store for creams or disposables. Lastly, consider that you will need SOME disposable diapers. When your out and about the last thing you want to do is have to lug around a wet poo filled rag for the next six hours. But honestly I think we may by one large box a year.

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