Care of Cloth Diapers
There are a few general care instructions that are the same for all diapers, I will cover these first, and then go on to specifics for diaper types.
Wash all diapers in hot water with an enzyme free, softener free detergent.
Add tea tree oil to your wash cycle, just 3-5 drops will do. Tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial. It will kill the bacteria that makes the the ammonia smell. This will go a long way to your diapers smelling fresh!
Every 3-5 washes you should strip your diapers. Stripping your diapers cleans out all the detergent build-up that will collect on your diapers making them less absorbent and more prone to smell.
Put the diapers, the laundry detergent, and the tea tree oil in as normal.
*Add in 1/2 c. of water softener here if you have hard water.
Run just the wash cycle over and over until all the bubbles, or at least most, are gone. Then finish off the rest of the cycles.
Most diapers can be dried in the dryer, but...
I am a big fan of Sun drying cloth diapers. The sun is amazing. It will bleach clean the stains and help kill the bacteria. If you reach a point that your diapers smell I suggest sunning them. Even in the cold, as long as the sun is shining it works!
DO NOT use fabric softener on your diapers. Fabric softener leaves a water-repelling residue on your laundry. When left on your cloth diapers (and towels), this residue makes them less absorbent and less useful.
If your diapers NEED softening add 1/2 cup baking soda to the rinse cycle of your wash. You can also use dryer balls, or wool balls. They also have this new item I found recently , reusable dryer sheets. I plan on purchasing one of these and testing it out! I'll keep you up-dated!
Diapers with PUL- (polyurethane laminate)
Most diapers that are AIO's or pocket diapers, that don't need a cover, have a PUL layer in them. When you first get your PUL's or if they start to leak pretty bad you should throw them in the dryer, the heat will reseal the PUL. You don't want to do this all the time though! Maybe about once a month you can throw them in the dryer, but for the most part you should let these air dry. Air drying is less wear and tear on the fabric. You can also purchase waterproofing sprays such as Nikwax DX Direct spray to help your PUL work better when it starts to slack off.
Wet bags and Pail liners-
These are usually made with PUL and so their care is the same as above. If you have a fabric one just throw it in with the wash and dry along with your diapers. If you have a wool wet bag then you need to follow the wool care instructions on the wool care page.
Cloth wipes are the logical thing to use when you cloth diaper. They can be thrown in the wash with the diapers and reused.