Essential Fitted, Essential Hemp Fitted, Pocket, All In One, Swim Diaper, Fleecy Wraps, Fleecy Pull-Ons, Stuffers, Wet Bags, Liners, Changing Pads, Wipes: I recommend soaking or rinsing in cold water, then running a hot wash with detergent - use as much as you'd use for a similar size load of dirty clothes. Run an extra rinse to make sure all the soap has been rinsed out. Dry on the line or in the dryer. Avoid fabric softener. Please don't believe the myth that PUL can't be dried.
Woolies Shorties, Woolies Longies, Woolies Wraps, Namie's Woolies: You don't need to wash wool with every wearing - hang it up to dry after each use, and wash once it starts to smell bad. You may wash your wool by hand or in the machine on the delicate cycle. Use a wool wash. Hang them to dry, or, my favorite, lay them on a warm radiator. After several washes, you may need to re-lanolize. Melt some lanolin in a small cup of hot water. Fill the sink with warm water, add the covers, and add the lanolin. Let soak for a bit, then remove.
Prorap Covers: Wash covers in cold water on the shortest washing duration possible. It is best to close the Velcro and turn the covers inside out to ensure the best cleaning possible. Use a non-scented detergent that is not a "baby detergent." It is best to dry by opening the covers and laying them flat on the dryer while it is running. We recommend that our products not be exposed to drying temperatures in excess of 180 degrees F.
Prefolded Diapers: You'll need to wash your prefolds on hot and dry several times to achieve full absorbency and fluffiness. (They'll arrive very flat!) Otherwise, just follow the care instructions above for Wallypop diapers.
SNAPPI fasteners: Clean your Snappi® in hot soapy water. Do not launder them with diapers in the washer as this may weaken the grip attachment. CAUTION: Any tear in the Snappi® can lead to separation of a piece, presenting a possible choking hazard. Do not cut your Snappi® as this could create weak spots in your Snappi®. Inspect your Snappi® before each use and discontinue use immediately if there is any sign of cracking, tearing, breakage or wear of the teeth or any other parts.
Our parents used to soak our diapers in a bleach and soap solution in a big pail. We, however, do not need to do this! Not only is it not necessary, but we here at Wallypop actually do not recommend it. This is called the "wet pail" method. Some people prefer to use a wet pail, where they fill the pail with water and let the diapers soak. I personally feel that all this does is give you a heavy diaper pail that is also a drowning hazard.
So what do modern parents do? It's called the "dry pail" method. Find a pail that suits your fancy, toss the diapers in, and let them sit there until wash day.
There are many options as far as diaper pails go. I use a stainless steel kitchen garbage can with step-action lid. I love it. Various people make and sell pails that are specifically for cloth diapering, but these are usually more expensive and less fashionable than just choosing a nice-looking garbage can. Additionally, you can opt to not use a pail at all - many families buy two or three large wet bags, and use these to store their diapers. If you have a convenient place to hang a bag near your changing area, this is a nice option.
Start simple! Use a basic detergent that is free from things like enzymes, optical brighteners, and fragrance.
Baking Soda: Brightens and removes odors. Use in the wash cycle or in a pre-soak cycle. Not really great for covers.
Vinegar (white): Softens and removes soap residue. Use in the rinse cycle. Might not work well in soft water.
Tea Tree Oil: Disinfects and smells pretty. Use a few drops in the wash cycle.
Lavender EO: Antiseptic and nice smelling. Use a few drops in the wash cycle or the rinse cycle.
Bac-Out by Bi-O-Kleen: Whitens, removes stains, cleans. Use as a spray-on pre-treatment, or squirt some in a pre-soak or the wash cycle.
Oxygen Bleach like Oxyclean: Whitens, removes stains. Use in the wash cycle.
The Sun: it's free and it removes stains like nothing else. Even indirect sun works wonders. Not just for diapers, either.
Diaper Stripping: see the Help! page.
Don't overdo the bleach. Bleach wears out fibers faster (on diapers as well as clothes). It also is hard on the waterproofness of covers.
No fabric softener. Fabric softener coats fabric to make it feel soft. This coating makes it hard for diapers to absorb very well. It also is hard on covers. Try using white vinegar instead.
No baking soda, oxyclean, and the like on PUL covers.
While your baby is exclusively breastfed, don't treat the dirty diapers any different from the wet ones. The poop is so water soluble, it'll just dissolve in the wash.
Once your baby starts solids, or if your baby is formula fed, his or her poop will not be as water soluble. At this point, you'll want to shake or scrape off as much poop as you can into the toilet before tossing the diaper into your pail. You can use reusable or flushable liners to help with this, you can purchase a diaper/toilet sprayer, you can use a rubber scraper and rubber gloves, whatever suits your fancy. Personally, I generally just shook off what I could and didn't worry about it!
If you use coin-operated washers and dryers, you'll want to maximize your time/coins! I'd recommend scouting out the laundromats in the area to see if you can find one whose washers will do a second rinse. I have seen two laundromats whose machines will do a second rinse for just a quarter more! This is a great deal for cloth diaperers! Don't worry, though, you can still do it even with regular machines!
Some families find they don't need or want a second rinse. If this is you, you'll be able to complete your diaper laundry in just one cycle through the washer. If you do prefer a second rinse, and you don't have a machine that will do one automatically, you can just run the diapers through an entire extra hot wash/cold rinse cycle. This will actually do an excellent job of getting your dipes completely rinsed, but it will obviously cost more.
For drying, consider just drying the diapers until they're damp, then taking them home and hanging them out to finish drying. You'll save money this way and your diapers will also be spared some wear-and-tear.
Here is my usual wash routine:
Sometimes if I think the diapers need a little sprucing up, I'll wash them alone (no covers) and add in some baking soda. Sometimes I use vinegar in the first rinse to help remove all of the soap.