You will eventually establish your own diaper washing routine. Some ladies prefer to rinse once, then send the diapers through a wash cycle. Some prefer to simply put the diapers through the wash cycle.
Be aware that bleach can lessen the life of your items by causing wear and tear on fabrics and elastic, and may cause fading of colors. If you choose to wash in bleach, fill the washer with hot water and ¼ cup of bleach. Once the bleach and hot water have had a chance to mix (the washer is full), add you diapers. DO NOT bleach your PUL (Polyurethane laminate) covers – this will eventually ruin the PUL.
An alternative to bleach is vinegar. Fill a downy ball with white vinegar, and toss it into the washer with the diapers. Using vinegar will help kill some bacteria and will also make your diapers softer. You may notice a slight vinegar smell upon removing the diapers from the washer, but your diapers won't smell of vinegar once they have been dried.
You can dry your diapers either in the dryer or on hung on a line outside. If you choose to line dry them, you can throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes to soften them up a little. Line drying will allow the sun to naturally whiten your covers and help remove stains. Drying your PUL covers in the dryer will not harm them.
DO NOT: Use Borax or Bleach on your PUL covers
DO NOT: Use any fabric softener or fabric sheets – these will put a coating on your diapers which will yield in less absorbtion.
DO NOT: Use ‘normal’ laundry detergent on your diaper items. Many of these contain oils and fabric softeners in them.
PLEASE DO NOT: Wipe off a PUL cover and reuse it on baby…although this may seem practical, it is unsanitary. Feel free to rinse the cover in warm water (if only pee has been on it) and allow it to dry between uses.
Dealing with the nasty stuff (Poop): Using a diaper sprayer is not necessary and can sometimes be an added cost to cloth diapering. If you have a diaper sprayer, use that to spray the poop off your diaper. If you do not have one, and your baby is on solid food, you will need to rinse your cloth diaper to remove the poop. Doing this while the toilet is flushing helps to rinse the poop off, just be careful not to accidentally let the diaper slip into the drain! Breastfed poops require no rinsing. Simply place those diapers in your diaper bucket.