The Truth About Removing Poop from Cloth Diapers. Is Diaper Spraying Really Necessary?

The Truth About Removing Poop from Cloth Diapers. Is Diaper Spraying Really Necessary?

If you’ve been researching cloth diapering you’ve probably heard all about rinsing, spraying, or even dunking your diapers in the toilet to remove the poop from them prior to laundering. And while the internet has us feeling like our stance on this is unpopular, we are not big fans of rinsing, spraying, soaking or dunking your cloth diapers. It’s not because we don’t want your cloth diapers to be clean, it’s just that we prefer a less messy method of removing poop from diapers, and it’s one that also happens to prolong the life of your cloth diapers!

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing why we advise against rinsing and spraying, as well as what we’d recommend doing instead. Keep reading!

When Do You Need to Remove Poop from Cloth Diapers? 

First things first, let’s discuss when you have to start removing poop from cloth diapers before laundering. When babies are on a milk-only diet of breastmilk and/or formula, there is no need to remove the poop or pre-rinse your cloth diapers before you launder them. Simply toss those poopy cloth diapers into your Pail Pouch along with the pee diapers and trust your washing machine will take care of it! This is because the poop during this phase is mostly water soluble, allowing it to be easily flushed away when laundering per our instructions.

Once your baby starts consuming solid foods you’ll notice a shift  in the consistency of their poop. It’ll start firming up and becoming thicker and pastier. It’s at this point that you’ll want to start removing the bulk of the poo from the diaper before setting it aside for laundering. This is when many families might start rinsing, spraying or soaking their cloth diapers to remove the poop. But we have a better way!

Do You Need to Spray or Pre-Rinse Your Cloth Diapers?

As mentioned, we’re not big fans of this method. So what’s our problem with diaper spraying and pre-rinsing? Our first issue is that rinsing and diaper spraying can be messy. Particularly diaper spraying! For those of you that are unfamiliar, diaper sprayers look like mini shower heads and they connect to the back of your toilet bowls water supply. You’re meant to take poopy cloth diapers, hang them over the toilet, and then spray them down to remove the poop. As you can imagine, this results in lots of backspray of poopy water droplets. Yuck! Rinsing is not too different, you’re taking your poopy cloth diapers and swishing them around in the toilet bowl, sink or tub which leaves behind some gnarly water and drippy, still soiled, cloth diapers. There has to be a better way! (There is...keep reading!)


Another reason you may want to skip rinsing and diaper spraying is to prevent mold and mildew from growing on your cloth diapers. Diaper spraying and rinsing leaves you with very wet diapers. Putting them in a wet bag or diaper pail like that is creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew spores. Wringing the cloth diapers out thoroughly before storing will help, but only a little bit (not to mention that the wringing involves getting very handsy with poopy diapers which isn’t all that appealing).

Lastly, rinsing and spraying your cloth diapers and then letting them sit until washing day can be akin to soaking (which we never recommend doing!) Soaking your diapers - even just in plain water - weakens the natural fibers of the cotton, causing them to break easily. In other words, you’ll end up with diapers full of holes and tears. You can read more about premature degradation here. 😱

If despite what you’ve read above you still want to give it a go, by all means please do! Having said that, if you have hard water we STRONGLY advise against rinsing and diaper spraying as it will quickly lead to the breakdown of your cloth diaper fabrics and elastics due to the heavy mineral content of your water. 


What Can You Do Instead of Diaper Spraying and Pre-Rinsing? 

As we mentioned above, if your baby is on a milk-only diet (breastmilk or formula) you should do nothing. There is no need to remove the poop or pre-rinse the poopy cloth. Your washer will take care of the poop when you launder your diapers.

If your baby is eating solids and you’ve seen the transition in the poop then you’re ready for our recommended poop-removal method – Liners! 

Liners are the easiest way to get poop out of your cloth diaper with little to no mess. And we have designed two different styles for you to choose from.


Disposable option:

Our disposable Tossers are tissue thin, ultra-soft and made of fully biodegradable bamboo viscose. You simply lay a fresh one on top of your Inner before putting it on your baby and the Tosser will allow moisture to pass through into the cloth diaper but will catch most of the solid waste. When changing your baby, lift the soiled Tosser off and discard it, then toss the diaper into your Pail Pouch or pail for future laundering. It’s really that easy!

Reusable option:

Our Stay-Dry Liners function just like the Tossers only instead of throwing them away, you wash them with your diapers and reuse them! You might have read about how our Stay-Dry Liners are great at moisture wicking and preventing stains on your diapers, well - they’re perfect for getting poop off your cloth diapers too! Just like you would the Tosser liner, lay a Stay-Dry liner on top of your Inner and put the cloth diaper on your baby. When soiled, remove the Stay Dry and shake it over the toilet until the poop falls off (poop doesn’t stick to the fleece in the same way it does to the cotton fitted diaper). Then set both the Stay Dry and the diaper aside for future laundering. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Liners

Do the liners catch all the poop? 

Sometimes yes, but sometimes no. And that’s ok! As long as the Tosser or Stay Dry cloth diaper liner catches the bulk of the poop that you can go ahead and toss the rest right into the washer on laundry day. Meaning, if there is a little poop residual left after you remove the liner, don't stress it. Sometimes the liners shift around and sometimes the poop is monstrous! Either way, your washer can handle any bits the liners leave behind.

Do I need a liner at every diaper change?

This is a personal decision. Some families routinely put liners in their cloth diapers at every change and appreciate the security they bring. Whereas others like to take their chances. Maybe your baby is a predictable pooper and you only use liners when you know to expect one. Or perhaps you know that once your baby poops you won’t get another poop until later that day and you want to skip the liners for the diapers in between. In time you’ll figure out what works best for your baby.

What happens if I forget to put a liner in my cloth diapers?

Maybe you didn’t expect your baby to poop, or maybe you flat out just forgot - either way, don't stress! Just shake off as much of the solid matter as you can from the cloth diaper (if it's extra sticky, a wipe or some toilet paper might be helpful in peeling some of it off), and then drop the diaper right into your pail for laundering - without any rinsing or spraying. As long as you get the bulk of it off, your washer can take care of the rest!

Will I need liners until my baby potty trains?

Many families find they only need to use Tossers or Stay-Dry Liners for a few months while the baby is transitioning to solid foods but still consuming large quantities of breastmilk and/or formula, as this is when the poo is a sticky, peanut-buttery consistency that we mentioned (making it harder to remove from the cotton Inner). Once the diet changes to predominantly solid foods, the poop becomes mostly solid as well and is much easier to shake off your cloth diaper into the toilet before laundering.

Are Tossers flushable?

The Tossers (made of 100% bamboo viscose) are tissue-thin and fully biodegradable - so while yes, they are disposable, the amount of actual waste is like 1/100th of that of a full disposable diaper. 

Tossers can (and should) be discarded in the trash. If flushing, please note that while they are biodegradable, flushing any product (other than toilet paper) can cause blockage in some plumbing systems. We know most people flush tampons, “flushable” wipes, and other things of that nature without any issue, and our Tossers liners are no different. If you choose to flush, it’s at your own risk. 😬 Tossers are not septic safe.

Are you sure my diapers will get clean? 

We’re certain of it! Coming from an industrial laundering background, (we laundered over 15,000 diapers a week at our busy NYC cloth diaper laundry service prior to launching Esembly!) creating cloth diapers that were simple to use and easy to launder was of the utmost importance to us.

We designed our cotton Inners (these are what you’d see referred to as a “fitted diaper”) with a uniquely layered core that maximizes thirstiness, while also allowing Washing Powder and water to penetrate deeply in the wash (and decreasing time in the dryer!) 

So, when laundering per our instructions (you find them here in our Complete Guide to Washing Cloth Diaper at Home or here on our How it Works Page), you can rest assured that your machine will take care of business, so you don’t have to mess with rinsing or spraying your diapers beforehand :)

Cloth Diapering Really Can Be as Easy as a Few Extra Loads of Laundry a Week

We hope you’ve found this helpful! Whether you're a cloth diaper newbie or looking to make your routine easier, remember that it doesn't have to be a complicated process (or a terribly messy one!). With the right products and the right instructions, keeping your cloth diapers clean can be as simple as throwing in a couple of laundry loads each week.



Want to learn more?

Our co-founders host a free, virtual, Cloth Diapering 101 class every month to help cloth-curious parents get all the tools and information they need! You’ll learn:

  • How to use the Esembly diapers and accessories 
  • How to easily and effectively launder your Esembly diapers
  • The impact that your choice has on the planet, your wallet, and your day-to-day. 

You'll leave with the confidence to Live Less Disposably and a 20% discount code to use on your first order. 🥳 We hope to see you there!

Sign Up for Our Next Cloth 101 Class


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