It’s not that hard, really. Take a deep breath, turn your head if you have to, and let’s begin.
First, before you actually use the diapers, wash them in hot water a time or two. This will remove any natural oils from the diapers that keep them from absorbing. As a general rule, it is best to not mix natural and synthetic fibers in this first wash. Dry as usual.
After the diapers have been used you need to wash them. Plop, scrape, or rinse off any solids into the toilet. If you use disposable liners, gather them up and flush them away. The diaper itself goes into the diaper pail.
Ah, the diaper pail. It has a fearsome reputation. Toss the diaper in, put the lid on and hope for the best, right? Actually, no. Leave the lid off. The diapers will have less opportunity to stew and develop that eye-burning ammonia smell if they can breathe a little. Some mothers don’t bother with a diaper pail at all, but just toss the used diapers in the washer until they have enough in there to run a load. It doesn’t take long.
When you do run the washer, don’t bother with fabric softeners. They can reduce absorbency. While you are at it, avoid the detergents with added perfumes. Ivory Snow or something similar is good for newborns, with ordinary non-perfumed detergent doing a wonderful job later. If the diapers are a little ripe, about a cup of white vinegar in the washer should fix the odor problem.
Whatever soap you use, don’t get carried away and use too much. You don’t want any soap/detergent residue. If you do get residue, wash the diapers again without soap, then use a smaller amount later.
If you can dry them on the line, do so. The sun is an effective disinfectant. The diapers will come in smelling fresh and wonderful. If a clothesline is not available use the dryer and don’t worry. Just don’t use the dryer sheets because they have ingredients that can reduce absorbency.
After the diapers come in from the line or out of the dryer you can rejoice that you don’t have to learn the intricate folds your grandmother used. Just put the diapers somewhere you can easily reach them, You are going to need a fresh one soon.