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Washing 101


First Time Users:

If this is your first time using Eco Sprout detergent on used diapers, we HIGHLY recommend you soak your cloth diapers with our detergent first. This will help to draw out any build up left behind from previous detergents including soap, grime, minerals, and softeners that are deep inside your diapers and inserts. This will also help to prevent rashes that can occur when switching or mixing detergents. It's easy!:

  1. Fill a tub, washing machine, sink or bucket with enough HOT water to fully submerge your diapers in. If you have an HE machine, the tub method usually works the best in order to get enough water.
  2. Use 4 tablespoons of Eco Sprout detergent mixed in with the hot water, less detergent for fewer diapers.
  3. Add all your diapers and inserts and let them soak for 3-5 hours. Overnight if your diapers need a really good soak.
  4. Give them a swish every now and then to mix the detergent around.
  5. Drain all the water from the tub or washing machine.
  6. Wash all the diapers and inserts again with 1-2 HOT water washes/cold rinses with NO DETERGENT at all.
  7. This will completely rinse out your diapers and they will be nice and clean!

Once this is done, you may continue to wash the diapers with your normal wash routine.

Basic Washing Instructions:

Have you already done the Eco Sprout soak for first time users?  Then you are ready to begin washing your diapers as normal*. 

  1. Do a pre-soak or pre-wash on your diapers first. If your machine does not allow these settings, then you can just do a basic or quick wash in warm. Body soils are more soluble when they are washed in the temperature they were created and that is why we recommend warm for your pre-wash cycle .This will help minimize staining, remove any loose particulates, and fully soak the diapers to dilute and pull out the urine. If your diapers are heavily soiled and need an extra boost you can add 1 TBSP of detergent.
  2. Add Eco Sprout and do a HOT wash/cold rinse. Using the recommended amount shown on chart below.
  3. Choose the longest wash cycle that your machine allows.
  4. Add a second final rinse.
  5. Enjoy nice clean, fresh smelling diapers!  (What we mean by that, is no smell - we had to clarify because you may be used to smelling clothes washed with scented detergent and fabric softener)

Top loader with a short wash cycle?

  1. Do a pre-wash, soak, or quick wash as above using warm or hot water with 1 TBSP of detergent. 
  2. Choose the longest wash cycle your machine allow, add  Eco Sprout and do a HOT wash. Because natural detergents work better over time, crank the knob back before the load finishes to add more time to the washing cycle.
  3. One additional rinse in warm or cold water.
  4. Enjoy nice clean, fresh smelling diapers!
Type of machine Type of Water Amount of detergent
High Efficiency front loader Soft Water 1-2 TBSP
High Efficiency front loader Regular Water 2-3 TBSP
High Efficiency front loader Hard Water 2-4 TBSP
Top Loading machine Soft Water 2 TBSP
Top Loading machine Regular Water 2-4 TBSP
Top Loading machine Hard Water 3-4 TBSP

** The above chart is the recommended amount of detergent for an average size load of diapers (15-20 diapers). If you are washing a smaller or larger load, you can adjust the amount of detergent accordingly.

An important note about water level:

For top loading machines, you only need enough water for the diapers to be able to freely move around and rub against each other. If you are doing a smaller load and setting your machine to use the highest level of water, you will either need to increase the amount of detergent being used - to compensate with the large amount of water, or decrease the water setting of your machine. 

Do you have hard water?

Hard water contains more minerals than regular water. These minerals neutralize a portion of the detergent balancing out the PH of the water. For detergent to work effectively, you need to add more detergent. This will help break down the minerals in the water so that they do not re-deposit back on to your diapers. Start with the lowest recommended amount of detergent and then adjust up if necessary. Some people find it extremely helpful to add a cap full of Calgon to their wash cycle to help soften the water.

HE Machines AND Soft Water?

Sounds confusing? We know :) But once you get a routine that works...stick with it!  It just might take some trial and error to get it just right. IF you have soft water AND an HE machine, you will only need to use 1-2  TBSP with an average load of diapers. Why? HE machines require less detergent and so does soft water. When you put the two get to use the least amount of everyone!

Helpful Tips

*What is “normal”? I wish we could give you the magic answer...but washing cloth diapers takes a little bit of trial and error to find your perfect wash routine. A lot depends on your machine and the type of water you  have. Here are some simple things you should know:
  • Making sure you get enough water through your diapers.  This is key to getting a good clean, and an effective rinse.  In top load machines, don't over do it!  There is no reason to have your washer fill to the tippy-top unless you are washing 25+ diapers.  Instead, fill with enough water to allow your diapers to move freely.  This allows you to use less detergent and get a more effective wash.  If you choose to fill to the tippy-top, simply use more detergent.  The more water the better in front loading HE machines!
  • One of the most important steps to washing cloth diapers is to do an extra rinse at the end of your cycle. But only 1 extra rinse is needed. Adding extra rinses will not get rid of ammonia. Adding more than one extra rinse can cause a mineral build up with hard water and is not recommended.
  • The amount of diapers you wash at one time is important. Small loads where the diapers float around in the water is not as effective as adding a few more diapers to the wash so they can rub up against each other and help with the cleaning routine.
  • Too many diapers and they will not get clean enough because there is no room to agitate around and rub up against each other.
  • This doesn't have to be just need to figure out what works for you and then keep it simple!

Having difficulty with an HE machine? The hardest part about washing cloth diapers in and HE machine is getting enough water through the diapers. My family follows the above washing routine (with the hot pre-wash setting) and we have not  had any problems. There  have been several suggestions made by others to do things like add a wet towel to the load to trick the machine into thinking there is more laundry, or soak the diapers first before adding them to the machine. Both those tricks will work. But we want it to be as simple as possible! A lot of people have great success with the following routine regardless of the type of machine you have: 1. Warm wash with no detergent. 2. Hot wash with detergent. 3. Extra rinse at the end.


Diapers need a pick-me-up, but you have no time for a soak?  Then just do a mini-soak or super-wash!

 For the mini-soak with a top loader:

  • Fill your machine with hot water (only enough so your diapers will be fully saturated with a little extra water). 
  • Add 3-4 TBSP of detergent depending on load size (agitate water so detergent dissolves)
  • Add diapers 
  • Let diapers soak for about an hour and then wash in the same water they were soaking in.
  • Drain 
  • Run one wash cycle in hot without detergent
  • No extra rinse needed

For a super-wash with an HE machine or regular top loading machine:  Since many HE machines do not allow for a soak here is an alternative option:

  • Pre-wash in hot water with 2 TBSP of detergent
  • Hot wash/cold rinse as normal but increase the amount of detergent by 1-2 TBSP from what you normally use.
  • One hot wash cycle with no detergent.