How to Bleach Cloth Diapers

We don’t recommend bleaching, because bleach is a chemical irritant. All disinfectants and sanitizers, by design, are potentially toxic. Young children are more vulnerable to toxins. Bleach can also deteriorate fabrics faster and shorten life span of cloth diapers greatly. For more gentle sanitizing solutions be sure to check our guide How to Sanitize Cloth Diapers without Bleach

There are occasions when it is absolutely necessary to sanitize using bleach, for example when dealing with yeast infections or dealing with used cloth diapers. For such situations make sure to use bleach in proper dilutions to avoid any potential problems.

Always start with clean cloth diapers. Dilute bleach in cold water only and wash out with hot water afterwards. Wear protective gloves!

What kind of bleach to use

Use bleach that is less than 9 months old. Splashless, scented, color-safe and non-chlorine bleaches do not work for disinfecting and should not be used for sanitizing purpose. Be sure that your bleach has disinfecting instructions on the bottle and says, “Kills flu virus”, or has at least the sodium hypochlorite percentage of 5.25% or higher (8% is common) as main ingredient.

When not to bleach

Do not use bleach if you have iron reach water or all your garments will turn orange color. To test this, put a drop of bleach in a cup of water and add a piece of white fabric. Let the fabric soak for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. If the fabric turns orange, don’t use bleach.


STEP 1: Fill your vessel with COLD water

STEP 2: Add disinfecting bleach and mix well, use proper dilutions as described below

STEP 3: Soak for at least 30 minutes, but don’t exceed 45 minutes

STEP 4: Rinse with HOT water really well

STEP 5: Wash in a washing machine with detergent in HOT water (may need to repeat this step if still can smell bleach on the garments)

How to properly dilute chlorine bleach

*Note:  Concentrated bleach requires the same dilution amounts


1/2 tub full – 1/2 cup bleach

3/4 tub full – 3/4 cup bleach

Top Loading Washing Machine (Non-HE):

Small load – 1/3 cup bleach

Medium load – 1/2 cup bleach

Large load – 3/4 cup bleach

* It is not recommended to perform bleach soaks in any HE washing machine, use bathtub instead or another container

Small Container (up to 5 gallons):

1 Tablespoon Bleach per 1 Gallon Cold Water