How to Prep Your Diapers

Before you can put those adorable new diapers on baby you need to prep them first. Prepping is the process of washing your diapers before the first use, so that they can obtain maximum absorbency. This washing process removes oils from natural fibers and cleans any residue left over from the manufacturing process.

So, How Do I Prep my Diapers?

How you prep your diapers really depends on whether the item is made out of synthetic (microfiber, fleece, suede-cloth) or natural (cotton, bamboo, hemp) materials.

Diaper Covers and  Synthetic Pocket Diaper Shells - Wash once on warm with a cloth diaper friendly detergent. If you only have a couple to do you can toss them in with your regular diaper laundry.

Synthetic Inserts and All-In-Ones - Wash at least once (if you have a front loader wash 2-3x) on warm with detergent. I like to wash my inserts separate from other laundry just to make sure there is no manufacturing oil left that could cause my diapers to repel. I think this is more of an OCD thing than a necessity.

 Natural Fiber Inserts and Diapers - Wash on hot for 5-6 cycles (more for front load users, hemp, and unbleached cotton diapers). Cotton, bamboo, and hemp MUST be prepped separately from synthetic materials as they contain natural oils that can make you diapers repel. Once the diapers are fully prepped the natural oils will be gone and you can wash these inserts and prefolds with your regular diapers. TIP: Drying prefolds between prep cycle helps them quilt better leading to more absorbency.

How can I tell when my diapers are prepped?

If you don't want to take the chance that a new diaper might leak all over your floor, you can quickly and easily test a diaper to see if it is prepped. Grab the diaper in question and run a small trickle of water on it. If the water beads and rolls off it needs to be washed a couple more times. If the water soaks into the material it is ready for use. Over the first couple weeks the diapers may leak after extended use and will probably become more absorbent with each wash until they reach their maximum absorbency. 

Prepping Alternatives

If you need a diaper prepped fast or only have one or two inserts/prefolds to prep you can boil your diapers in order to prep them. Just make sure you have a pot large enough. You CANNOT boil anything that has snaps or PUL, it will ruin them.

The Process:

  1. Fill a stockpot with water and set on the stove. Wait for water to boil.
  2. Add a small squirt of blue Dawn , (yes, the dish soap) to the pot. This will help draw out the natural oils. You must use the original blue Dawn dish soap, not any other color.
  3. Add inserts or prefolds to the boiling water, let boil 10-20 min.
  4. Remove the inserts/prefolds and wash them normally with detergent.
  5. Dry the inserts/prefolds in the dryer to quilt them.
  6. Once dry remove them and congrats, you have prepped your dipes.