Can You Clean Cloth Diapers in the Dishwasher?

As parents we’re all looking to make things easier. Come on: tell me you don’t wish that you could snap your fingers and your house would clean itself, dinner would be ready, and you could have five minutes just to pee and maybe pin a bunch of crafts and recipes on Pinterest you say you’re going to make someday.

So imagine how I felt when I had read that there were other parents out there cleaning their cloth diapers in the dishwasher (or on the stove, or in the microwave). Could it be true? Could I skip the trips down into my dingy, dark, cold, spider-ridden basement? Could I get my diaper laundry done in the time it took me to make dinner?

Cloth diapers in dishwasher

Photo Credit: Between the Kids

Just do a quick search on Google and you can verify that I’m not making this up. A lot of moms are taking their kitchen appliances to the next level, stripping cloth diapers in the dishwasher or sanitizing them in the microwave using steam (similar to those bags for cleaning breast pump parts).

And of course there’s the old standby: boiling cloth diapers, which was a lot more prevalent back when cloth diapers were just basic flats that could stand up to rough treatment.

Listen, folks. Putting cloth diapers in the dishwasher is a huge fire hazard – if a fabric piece falls through and lands on the heating element, that spells trouble.

Effect of dishwasher heating element

This spatula fell onto the heating element of a dishwasher. Imagine if that had been a cloth diaper.

And what about boiling? First of all, don’t boil anything with snaps or PUL – you may just cause some melting of parts that are not meant to be melted. And while you can technically boil flats and prefolds without causing harm to the fabric, just think about the last time you tried multi-tasking in your sleep-deprived “mombie” state, got distracted, and completely abandoned whatever you were doing in the first place. Do you really want your sleeping angel woken up from his nap by the blaring beeps of your smoke detector after your prefolds start smoking in a dried-up pot? I didn’t think so.

boiling cloth diapers

Photo Credit: wikiHow

So why are people so obsessed with using kitchen appliances to clean their cloth diapers?

I blame Pinterest, where everyone celebrates life hacks and anything that’s repurposed. Make ice cream in your food processor! Make hash browns in your waffle iron! Toast nuts in your popcorn popper! Bake bread in your crockpot!

But you know what all the above “hacks” have in common? They use things that are meant for food to make other kids of food.

So I beg you, stick to using your washing machine for cloth diapers and leave your kitchen for its original purpose: cooking food.