Congratulations! You have potty trained your toddler! Or maybe you haven’t, but you’re taking a break from cloth diapers for now. Either way, you may be wondering the best way to store them until you need them again. Are there any special rules or guidelines to consider for cloth diaper storage?
There are some general guidelines you should follow when storing cloth diapers for the long term. These guidelines will ensure your diapers stay in the best condition possible.
Step One: Make Sure They’re Clean!
Make sure your diapers are clean. Seems obvious, but it’s not a bad idea to do a deep clean before storing them. You could do a bleach soak, or if you’re worried about any sort of build up, you could also give them a strip using something like Calgon, RLR, or Grovia Mighty Bubbles.
At a minimum, I recommend a bleach soak, followed by a wash. This will just make sure they are completely sanitized before going into storage.
If you are uncomfortable with bleach, you could try using something like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer or hydrogen peroxide with borax. Here are some ideas for sanitizing without bleach.
Step Two: Treat Stains
This isn’t absolutely necessary, but any stains on the diapers will just get darker and more set in over time. If you would like to minimize any long term staining, take this opportunity to remove them.
Here are a few ideas for removing stains:
- Try a different laundry detergent.When I solely used Tide Original Powder, I very rarely dealt with stains. The diapers usually came out of the washing machine pearly white on the insides. Occasionally if a stain was left behind (because breastfed baby poo certainly can stain!), it usually came out on it’s own within a few washes.
I deal more with staining now that I’m using a green detergent. Stains don’t bother me much, but for some they do! If I was ready to pack up my diapers right now, I’d probably try a few washes in Tide to see if that helped any lingering stains. It may or may not, but if you’re willing to use Tide, might as well give it a try.
- Use the sun!The sun is one of the best stain-removing and odor-neutralizing tools we have on Earth! You can put anything you want to try to remove stains or odors from out in the sun to see if it helps.
For diapers, you want to lay your stained shells/inserts/etc stain-side up so the stains are directly exposed to the sunlight. Your diapers should be wet when you lay them out in the sun–do not dry them first.
If the stains are pretty set in, you may have to repeat this process a few times.
Keep an eye on the diapers if it is a very hot day. Just like you don’t want to dry your diapers on too high of heat, they shouldn’t sit for too long in high heat, either.
Just do the best you can with the stains. 🙂 Remember that stains do not impact the function of your diapers, so if they’re not perfect, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.
Step Three: Dry Thoroughly
Whether you hang dry or use the dryer, make sure your diapers are COMPLETELY dry before storing. It wouldn’t hurt to put them through two drying cycles just to make sure. Any lingering dampness will only create conditions for mold and mildew. No one wants that!
Just remember not to dry on high heat. It is better to do two cycles on low heat than one cycle on high. High heat can damage PUL/TPU and elastics.
Step Four: Store In A Breathable Container
It may be tempting to pick up a Rubbermaid or other plastic tote to pack your diapers in. However, plastic tubs do not allow airflow.
Why is airflow important?
Having a decent amount of airflow will help prevent yellowing of your diapers overtime. But most importantly, it helps protect the elastics. Cutting off an air supply to elastics can deteriorate them more quickly, meaning they may not be as functional when you take them out again. This also means you want to avoid vacuum sealing your diapers to save space. It’s just not worth it!
Cardboard boxes, laundry bags, and pillow cases are great ideas for diaper storage.
However, if you’ve already packed your diapers away in a plastic bin, I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless you’re planning to leave them there for years. Sometimes people fear monger around cloth diapers and act like they’re the most delicate things on Earth that require above average care. They’re not. 🙂 You’ll probably be fine.
If you do have them in a plastic tote right now, just make sure they are packed loosely, and maybe consider punching a few holes in the lid to allow more airflow.
If you think yours may be stored for a few years or longer, I would recommend moving them over to something that allows more airflow just to be on the safe side.
Step Five: Put In A Cool & Dry Location
It may be tempted to store your diapers in a basement, but basements can sometimes be humid and damp. You will want to store your cloth diapers in an area that doesn’t have too much extra moisture. This is especially important if you are not storing your diapers in a plastic tub (and if you’re following best practices, you probably aren’t!)
We keep our boxes of diapers in our kids’ closet. Thankfully, they had a walk-in closet so there was enough space for that.
Proper storage and care will help ensure that you can use your cloth diapers with multiple children. For more tips on extending the life of your cloth diapers, check out this post: Cloth Diaper Care Instructions: How To Make Them Last For Years.
Have you had to pack up your diapers yet? What steps did you take to keep them clean and safe? Let me know in the comments!