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Guide to Storing Dirty Reusable Diapers & Used Cloth Diapers

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  • Bambino Mio
  • 01 / 12 / 2023


One of the questions new and expectant parents have, when they decide to use reusable cloth diapers, is how to launder them. Many people worry that they’ll have to hand wash or machine wash a diaper every time they change their baby.


The good news is that you can store your dirty cloth diapers and their inserts in a safe and hygienic way so that you only need to do a diaper wash every other day or so. 


How do I store my baby’s dirty cloth diapers safely?

You can safely store soiled and wet diapers in a special nappy bucket or bag. Bambino Mio’s Stay at home wet bag has tight clasps to seal it shut and trap smells until it’s time to transfer the diapers to the washing machine on laundry day.


Does a diaper bag or bucket smell? 

With a tightly-closed lid or top, your diaper bag won’t release smells into the air until you open it to empty it into the washing machine. This shouldn’t take more than a few moments, so odors are kept to a minimum.


Using reusable diaper liners helps you to deal with poop

Most people who use reusable diapers use diaper liners with them to catch solid waste. When it’s time to change your baby’s diaper, you simply pick up the liner and throw the poop (if fairly solid) into the toilet before placing the reusable diaper liner into the laundry bucket.


If you’re exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you might not even have to remove the poop before washing, as it’s very likely to absorb straight into the liner so you can just launder it without any extra steps. This might seem a bit strange at first, but after a few weeks, breastfed babies don’t tend to poop as often (1) as formula fed and it’s usually less smelly, so you’ll soon get used to it.


What do I do with dirty diapers when I’m out with my baby?

The portable, on-the-go version of the diaper bucket or bag is the Out & About wet bag. It’s waterproof and seals really tightly so you won’t realise you’re carrying a bag of soiled cloth diapers and reusable wipes with you! 


Of course, you should deal with the diapers when you get home by removing any solid waste and then placing liner, diaper and wipe in the bucket ready for wash day.


We’ve had a poonami! What should I do?

Sometimes, your reusable diapers will need a really thorough wash because…well…you can imagine why. You can use a laundry booster to remove stains and restore your reusable diapers to their old sparkling selves. All we can say is that we’ve all been there, so keep calm and carry on nappying.


How long can I leave my diapers in the bucket before washing?

Ideally, you shouldn’t leave dirty reusable diapers in the bucket for more than three days because ammonia will start to build up in the fabric and this could damage it. Two days in storage is the usual length of time for most cloth diaper users and once you’re in your laundry routine you won’t even think about it.


What can I do to prevent ammonia building up in my diaper bucket?

Ammonia build up is a natural consequence when you store dirty reusable diapers because it’s a byproduct of bacterial action on the nitrogen compounds in urine. You can slow this process down by keeping your diaper bucket in a cool place and also by giving very wet diapers a rinse through with cold water before putting them in your diapers bucket.


A few more handy tips for storing your dirty reusable diapers

You should fold the Velcro tabs on your Bambino Mio diapers over before they go into the washing machine so that they stay sticky for longer.


During warmer weather, you might want to increase the frequency of washes if you find your diapers are smelling particularly strongly of ammonia, as this will help to prolong their lives.


Remove any absorbent boosters from your reusable diapers before you store them in the bucket so that every component gets washed evenly.


Washing at 104F will prolong the life of your reusable diapers. You can use a laundry booster for extra hygiene and stain removal if necessary, but avoid chlorine-based bleaches and high temperatures.


Don’t use fabric softeners on your reusable diapers, inserts and wipes as this will reduce their absorbency and could damage the fabric over time.


Citations and References

(1) Healthline. ‘Poop in Breastfed Babies: What to Expect.’ 2018. Web. www.healthline.com/health/parenting/breastfed-poop