A portable washing machine may be a great option if you live in a place that doesn’t have an in home laundry room. Portable washers are compact and can be moved when not in use. More importantly, they do a great job getting cloth diapers clean! Some have even claimed it cleans better than a full size washer!
I wanted to give you a bit of info on how they work in real life. First read my top 10 tips on washing cloth diapers. A few apply to regular size washers, however you’ll also find a bunch of info that you may not have thought of.
Here’s how one mom in the All About Cloth Diapers Chat get their diapers squeaky clean in two different portable washers:
And here’s Tori who uses this washer (which is smaller than the one in the video above):
Here’s her squeaky clean cloth diaper routine:
1) Rinse with tub full of cold water, powdered tide a 1/4 of the way to the 1 mark. Just enough to cover the bottom of the scoop. Run for 9 minutes on strong.
2) Fill tub with warm/hot water. Once the diapers are just covered by the water start the machine.
You want a stew like consistency. If you use too little water the machine won’t move the diapers around, if you use to much the diapers won’t agitate properly, They’ll just swim around in the water. It’s easy to know when you have enough water though because the diapers will rotate smoothly. Then fill scoop 1/2 way to the 1 mark. Set for 15 Minutes on strong.
3) Spin for 1 minute
4) Fill tub all the way with cold water and rinse diapers for 9 minutes on strong
5) Spin for one minute
Repeat step 4 and 5 until water runs clear. Once water runs clear, spin diapers for three minutes and hang to dry.
Notes: You can put a smaller portable washer right in your bathtub. If the hoses don’t fit your hookups, just use the shower head to fill the machine.
Stripping Cloth Diapers in a Portable Washer
You shouldn’t have to strip with a good wash routine. But if you find that you have hard water mineral buildup or just want to do a deep cleaning, you can do it right in the portable machine!
I highly recommend using GroVia Mighty Bubbles for this.
Directions when using GroVia Mighty Bubbles:
- This must be done on already washed, clean cloth diapers.
- Place one pod in before filling. It’s normally one Mighty Bubbles pod per 24 diapers (this is one full diaper including inserts, or a prefold.) If you have more than 24, do it in another, separate load following the same directions. Don’t use this method for less than 17-18 diapers or you will have suds for days.
- Use the highest water level and hot water.
- Set the machine to the longest cycle on strong. Do not add detergent or other additives.
- Do one warm or hot rinse.
- May need to repeat rinse depending on the machine.
- If the cloth diapers still smell or seem to have issues such as causing rashes, repeat treatment (up to 3 times).
- Dry the diapers.
- No need to soak with the Mighty Bubbles. GroVia strongly recommends against it.
- Keep pods away from children.
Do you use a portable washing machine for cloth diapers? Any tips you can share?
Jenn is a long-time cloth diaper educator and a passionate small business advocate. She has worked in the reusable diaper industry for over a decade, helping millions of families via her websites All About Cloth Diapers, Thinking About Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diaper Geek as well as hundreds of small businesses during that time. Her goal always to provide simple, reliable information.