Best Washing Machine For Cloth Diapers

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Have you ever wondered what is the Best Washing Machine For Cloth Diapers? Yesterday, one of my readers asked me an excellent question. I did not immediately have the answer, but the question intrigued me, so I did a bit of research. The gist of the question was this: Is a top loader washing machine or a front loader washing machine better for washing diapers, especially concerning avoiding leaks?

I have only ever used a top loading washing machine to wash my cloth diapers because this is what I own. I like using the top loader because it allows me to periodically soak my diapers before washing them.

Top Loaders Are The Best Washing Machine For Cloth Diapers

The takeaway below is clear, the largest majority of cloth diapering mama’s preferred their non-he top loader! The biggest reason seemed to be about control. The control over how long to soak your cloth diapers, on an old-school non-he top loader you can just turn the knob and fill the washer full of water, then soak for as long as you want. A Front loader and top load HE washers do not give you this control. Between lid locks (protecting us from ourselves I suppose) to using less water, the overall experience with Front loaders or HE machines, in general, is not agreeable with cloth diapering mamas!

Front Loaders Failed

When I researched washing cloth diapers with a front loader, I discovered that some people had had trouble washing their diapers in these machines. Front loader machines are popular because they are more water efficient. Therein lies the problem, for cloth diapers to get fully clean they need to be washed with the correct amount of detergent and thoroughly rinsed. This does not mean that front loader machines cannot be used with cloth diapers. My research found two suggestions to make washing with a front loader more successful.

The first suggestion is to be sure you are using the correct amount of detergent for the amount of water. In many cases, this will mean using less detergent than you are used to using or than you would use with a top loader. Extra detergent that does not get rinsed out of the diapers is likely to build up on them and cause leaks.

The second suggestion is to run a second rinse cycle, to be sure that all of the soilings is removed from the diapers. This suggestion is especially necessary if you are experiencing an odor with supposedly clean diapers. The odor could indicate that not all of the soiling was removed in the wash.

If you scan some of the cloth diapering message boards, you will quickly see that a lot of complaints are posted regarding the length of time it takes to really get cloth diapers clean in a front loader, mold issues, and general unhappiness with their front loaders! One woman even stated that she has a front loader that came in the house that she bought, so she takes her cloth diapers to her mothers to wash, who has a top loader! That says a lot right there!!

Top Loaders Win The Popularity Award With CD Mamas!

Top loaders are the overall choice of cloth diapering mama’s. In a poll, on the BabyCenter forums, 53 mom’s were asked “Which is better for washing cloth diapers? Out of those 53 polled, 45 said they preferred a Non-HE Top Loader. This is the overall feeling on nearly every message board I visited while trying to get answers about which washing machines are the “Best Washing Machine For Cloth Diapers.”  

  • The cheapest type of washer.  You can pick one up as low as $350 in most home improvement stores.
  • You can soak your cloth diapers. This is a huge advantage.  Just run the tub full of water, add your favorite stain remover and let it soak for as long as you like.
  • Cloth diapers get cleaner in a top loader.  Top loaders use more water. More water means cleaner diapers!
  • Use the detergent that you like best.  You don’t have to purchase an HE specific detergent. You can use any detergent you like whether its store bought or homemade!
  • Fewer electronic parts.  Fewer expensive electrical parts to break!
  • Cheaper and easier to repair. Parts and labor are cheaper for an old school top loader. says an out-of-pocket repair cost for agitator washers is $118

Specific Top Loader Best Washing Machine For Cloth Diapers?

Speed Queen TR5000WN 26 Inch Top Load Washer with 3.2 cu. ft. Capacity Stainless Steel Wash Tub (see it here) and the Maytag MVWB765FW (see it here). That’s a lot of money for an agitator machine, and that’s because of the 4.7 cubic feet capacity and energy efficiency are more like that of a high-efficiency top-loader. It should be noted that the Maytag used less water than some agitator top-loaders and extracted more of it, cutting dryer time and saving energy.


What type of washing machine do you use? Have you had success washing your cloth diapers in a front loader? If so, what are your suggestions?

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