The first thing you will need to do when you receive your cloth diapers is prep them. This simple means pre-washing them. There are a couple of reasons for doing this.
- Cloth diapers come from manufacturers and therefore you want to wash away anything than may be on them from the manufacturing process.
- Natural fibers such as cotton, hemp have natural oils which repel water and must be washed away to ensure the diaper will be absorbent.
- Some materials are designed to shrink when dried. If you do not wash and dry them prior to use they will not shrink and therefor may not fit your baby correctly.
- Natural Fibers: Cotton & Hemp. These have natural oils in them which repel moisture. These need to be washed and away prior to first use. They take 4-6 washes before they are absorbent enough to diaper. They will continue to gain absorbency for the first 10 washes. Drying these 1-2 times while prepping will help them shrink to size and fluff up, making them more absorbent.
- Synthetic Fibers: Microfiber, PUL / TPU (covers), Fleece etc. These only need a quick washing to wash off any residues from manufacturing.
How to Prewash:
- Wash diapers and inserts on hot water (no hotter than 130 degrees F) with a little bit of detergent. Synthetic materials once. Natural fibers 3-5 times.
- Machine Dry. Synthetic Materials once. Natural fibers 1-2 time. Some covers should also be dried to help seal them (check manufacturers instructions).
- Always Refer to your diaper manufacturers care instructions prior to prepping.
- Prep diapers with other baby clothes you are washing to save time, water and electricity.
- When prepping synthetic and natural fibers, start with natural fibers and on the final wash toss in the synthetic fibers.