So you have chosen to use cloth diapers!? Good for you. Not only are they better for the environment, but they are also much cheaper in the long run after a big upfront investment.
Of course, you do have to, you know, clean them so you can use them again. And for that, you need to be sure that you have the best washing machine for cloth diapers! Otherwise, your big investment will become a big headache, and you won’t be able to reuse your diapers for of your future diapering needs!
Now, you might be thinking, won’t any old washing machine do? Can’t I use the machine that I already have, or do I need to get a brand new one? These are all really good questions, and in this article, I’ll guide you towards the answers you need.
I have gone over all the small details of how to clean cloth diapers so that you can make the best decision for your little one, and you. Let’s get right to it!
The Best Washing Machine for Cloth Diapers (Updated)
Washing Machine for Cloth Diapers
Kenmore Smart - Front Load Washer *Best Choice*
(*) Below, you'll find my detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see prices and read customer reviews.
Types of Washing Machines
There are several different kinds of washing machines that you can get. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cleaning any clothing, including cloth diapers.
Top Loading – Top loading washing machines have a higher capacity than most other washing machines. This makes them great for doing one large load of wash instead of tons of little loads.
Of course, if you don’t have that much wash to do, it can be a bit wasteful to fill these larger machines to the top with water.
Their large capacity also makes them a great machine for soaking diapers, since you can fill the machine up with water and let the diapers sit in the water, which will help to remove anything that is caked on.
High Efficiency – As the name would suggest, these washing machine models are more efficient than standard washers. This is because they don’t completely fill with water when you are washing, and reuse most of their water. This helps to cut down on both the electricity and water usage during a washing cycle.
Even though these washers do not fill all the way to the top with water (most of them are front-loading washers), some will still come with a soaking option. This is a key feature that you need to be sure your machine can do, as without it you might not be able to get your diapers as clean as you would like.
Portable – Though you definitely won’t be using this model as intended (who is going backpacking and washing cloth diapers!), they make for a good washer for your diapers. They don’t use a ton of water, and you can soak your diapers as long as you like.
They are perfect if your little one doesn’t use up a ton of diapers per week, and will help keep your regular washer open for larger loads.
What To Keep In Mind When Looking For The Best Washing Machine for Cloth Diapers
There are several key factors that you need to keep in mind when you are looking for the best washing machine for cloth diapers, which we’ll go through in this section.
Pre-treatment – One of the key components to keeping a set of cloth diapers clean is to pre-treat it before you try and wash them in the washing machine.
If you just plop them into the washing machine, dried poop and all, they will not come clean!
So, what should you do beforehand to make sure that you can get the cleanest results out of your washing machine?
For starters, invest in a sprayer that connects to your toilet. That way, you’ll be able to spray off your little one’s poop before it has a chance to get rock hard.
Secondly, make sure that you apply some detergent to the stains and let the diapers soak for a bit. That way, when you put them into the machine, the stains are as ready as they will ever be to come right off.
Soaking Capability – As I mentioned above, one of the best ways to help soften up the stains on your cloth diapers is to have them soak before you actually wash them.
Not all washing machines have a soak cycle, so it is important to make sure that when you are selecting one, the one you want will allow you to do this.
Of course, if that won’t work with the washer that you have in mind, don’t despair!
I have gotten good results just soaking my cloth diapers wherever I had the room. You can fill up your tub, your sink, or even use a bucket to soak them beforehand if you need to. So, even though this is a great feature to have in a washer, it isn’t the end all, be all.
Capacity – I am firmly of the mind, being a mom to three kids of my own, that the bigger the washing machine, the better off you will be! However, this is more about convenience than anything.
If you truly don’t think that you need a huge washing machine and can wash your cloth diapers in a smaller capacity model, you are right! No matter what size of washing machine you choose, you should be able to get your diapers nice and clean.
High Efficiency or Standard? – When you are choosing a new washing machine, it only makes sense to be mindful of the type of machine that you would like to get.
High-efficiency models are better for the environment, cost more up front, but will save you money over time. Standard models are cheaper to buy but will cost more over time, all while using more water and electricity to operate.
Again, this choice should really boil down to whether or not the machine will give you the option to soak the diapers beforehand.
A soaking cycle is more common with standard washing machines, though more and more HE models are beginning to have a soak cycle as well.
Cycle Speed – One other key component when cleaning cloth diapers is how quickly the washing machine spins. You need to find a washing machine that can operate on a gentle cycle. Otherwise, your diapers will be destroyed before you get too much use out of them, which is, obviously, kind of counterproductive!
Detergent – Cloth diapers are one of the trickiest pieces of baby clothing to keep clean. This is mostly because the detergent you need to use has to be powerful enough to remove any and all types of stains, but gentle enough that they don’t cause any sort of negative reaction for your little one’s sensitive skin.
The detergent that I have found to be the best at both cleaning cloth diapers and protecting a baby’s skin is Rockin' Green. This powdered detergent is a lifesaver! It is tough on stains, but gentle on fabrics, making it perfect for cloth diapers, as well as any other clothes as well.
Top Five Washing Machine for Cloth Diapers
The Good: This front loading HE (high-efficiency) washer has a very large capacity. It is quite possibly the best washing machine for cloth diapers out there.
This is because, while it might not have a soaking cycle, it does have an extra steam cycle setting. With this setting, you will be able to blast away any and all dried on gunk and set in stains quickly and easily.
It is also a big-time energy saver, making it ideal for cleaning cloth diapers since you’ll be doing lots and lots of loads for the next few years.
The Bad: Even with the steam setting, it is still probably a good idea to soak your diapers beforehand, just in case. This washer cannot help you with that, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for your soaking needs.
The Long and Short of It: This washer is economical and features a steam setting that will help keep all your cloth diapers nice and clean, although soaking is still recommended.
The Good: If you are truly just looking for a washer to use exclusively on cloth diapers, then this just might be the one for you!
It features two different tubs, which will allow you to soak and wash your diapers on one side while spinning the clean ones on the other side. This will help to cut down on your water usage mightily since you can only do so much at a time.
The Bad: As with any portable washing machine, the capacity of the washer is going to be your biggest issue.
While the twin tub feature does add a bit more space, this will still limit the number of diapers you can clean at a time, which might make your laundry sessions drag on for longer than you might like.
The Long and Short of It: This smaller than average washing machine will allow you to soak, wash, and spin most, if not all, of your diapers at a time.
The Good: Though this is a portable washing machine, it has a much bigger capacity (about two times bigger) than the one that we just checked out.
This makes it better for someone that has more wash to do at a time. Even if you have a large number of cloth diapers to soak, wash, and spin, this little washing machine should be able to handle most of them.
The Bad: Of course, with the increased capacity of this washing machine, it might get a bit harder to fit into your laundry room, since this will have to fit in their in addition to your standard washing machine.
The Long and Short of It: If you want an exclusive washing machine for your cloth diapers with a pretty big capacity, then this is a great machine. Just make sure you check out the dimensions here so that you are sure it will fit in your laundry room.
The Good: If you don’t want to have to worry about finding a detergent that works in an HE washing machine and want to be able to soak your diapers right in the machine itself, then this is a great washer to get.
It is a very basic model that will be super simple to operate, which will make it that much easier to use to make sure your diapers are nice and clean.
The Bad: As far as top loading washing machines go, this one’s capacity is a bit on the small side. Since you would also be using this machine for your other clothes in addition to your cloth diapers, it might not be big enough if you have a larger family.
The Long and Short of It: This machine is as straightforward as they come. Its capacity is a bit on the small side, but it will allow you to soak your diapers.
The Good: While this washing machine isn’t an HE model, it is an energy saver. It also has a very large capacity. This makes it an ideal choice for a large family that does a lot of laundry.
It will also allow you to soak your diapers before you wash them, which is a huge plus.
The Bad: While the large capacity is great for soaking diapers and cleaning a lot of clothes at once, it is a bit on the wasteful side as well. Since this isn’t an HE model, it will fill to the brim with water.
The Long and Short of It: The large capacity of the model makes it ideal for families that do a ton of laundry, though it can be a bit wasteful if you don’t have a lot of wash to do.
And The Winner Is...
Of all the different washers I looked at, I have to say that the Kenmore Smart 41982 5.2 cu.ft. Front Load Washer is my pick for the best washing machine for cloth diapers.
There is a ton to like about this model, but my favorite has to be the steam cleaning option! While it doesn’t completely replace the soaking step, it does help to eliminate really tough stains. Plus, the washer is an economical HE model to boot! I highly recommend that you check it out!
Clean as a Whistle!
Well, there you have it! Hopefully, after reading through this article, you’ll be able to find the best washing machine for cloth diapers for your little one’s diapers! Thank you so much for reading, and have a great day!