Yes, in general terms cloth diapers can go in the dryer, but on a medium-heat setting or lower. With that said, there are some other considerations to make before you pop that whole cloth diaper load into the machine.
More specifically, any cloth diapers and/or wetbags containing waterproofing, elastic, or Velcro (also called hook and loop) should be kept out of the dryer as much as possible.
This is because heat can cause elastics and Velcro to stretch and wrinkle. Heat can also cause PUL and TPU (the waterproof fabric used in most cloth diaper covers and wetbags) to de-laminate. De-lamination is when the plastic layer on the fabric, which is what makes it waterproof, separates from the rest of the fabric. De-laminated diapers and wetbags will leak, heavily.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Wait, didn’t you start this article saying you can put cloth diapers in the dryer?” Yes, I did, and that’s because most types of diapers can be separated into their two parts —the waterproof cover and the absorbent inserts. (Scroll up to the top and click on “Start Here” if you’re not sure of what I’m talking about here.)
Can cloth diaper inserts go in the dryer?
Yes, 100%! Though TPU and PUL need to be kept away from heat as much as possible, cotton, hemp, bamboo, and fleece inserts can be dried in the drier without any problem at all. In fact, I recommend it as it will get them nice and bone dry, keep them from stretching out, and make them nice and fluffy too.
Drying can also help lower bacteria build-up. According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign department of physics, in their online article, Q & A: Killing germs, two ways to kill germs are to heat them up and dry them out. As they explain, many germs fall apart when heated up, and some germs die when dehydrated.
Microfiber inserts can also be dried, but keep the heat to medium or lower as it’s a synthetic material.
What do Cloth Diaper Brands Say About Drying Diapers in the Dryer?
Many cloth diaper brands have complex warranties that become void if you don’t follow their specific care instructions.
Cloth diapers are not cheap. You’ll want to keep those warranties valid, and work to keep each diaper lasting as long as possible. This means paying attention to the washing and drying instructions the manufacturer of your diaper suggests is wise. To help, I’ve listed the drying instructions from the websites of several cloth diaper brands, organised alphabetically, below.
“Hang to dry or dry on medium heat.”Washing Diapers. AMP Diapers.
“We recommend hanging your AppleCheeks covers and Storage Sacs to dry whenever possible as this will extend the life of your covers. Covers and Storage Sacs can be machine dried as well. The maximum suggested temperature is 50 degree C / 130 degree F. The best way to dry is at ‘delicate setting’ and then with air only (no heat). Inserts can be machine-dried on medium or hung to dry. Note that if you choose to hang your inserts to dry, a quick spin in the dryer while they are just a little bit damp will lead to softer, fluffier inserts.”Diaper Care Instructions. AppleCheeks.
“Hang to dry or tumble dry on low”Cloth Diaper Care Tips. Charlie Banana.
“Place any PUL or TPU covers or Shells on top of the dryer to air dry. Put all of the remaining diapers into the dryer and set them on a warm tumble. You can also hang-dry everything if you want to really go green and save on energy!Cloth Diaper Laundry Basics. GroVia.
“Tumble dry low or lay flat to dry in indirect sunlight.”How to Wash and Care for Your Kanga Care Items. Kanga Care.
“-Line or hang dry the diaper shells and covers when possible because we love the environment and do want to pay extra electricity bills.FAQs and Warranty. Lil’Helper.
-Liners can be heat or tumble dried but at a low to medium heat setting.
-Diaper covers or diaper shells should not be put in the dryer, if possible.
-When diaper cover or diaper shells are put in the dryer, do so at low heat.
If both liners and diaper shell (diaper covers) are put in together to be dryer remove the diaper shells in 10-20 minutes as they dry out far more quickly.”
“All of our products are manufactured for commercial use (ie. diaper services) so they can withstand high heat temperatures. That being said, any product being exposed to more vigorous hotter temperatures will wear out sooner.Should I only dry my cloth diapers on low heat? Mother ease. 2018-10-17 – Ask Erika: Drying Cloth Diapers
If you are going to dry your diapers in your dryer, we recommend using a medium heat setting. Typically, our diapers and inserts on a medium heat setting will dry in one cycle…. Covers can be easily line-dried inside during cold months. If you want to throw them in the dryer, we recommend using a low heat setting because they dry so quickly. They can withstand the medium heat setting if you choose to dry your diapers and covers together, however, the waterproofing on your diaper cover will last the longest if line dried.”
“A general rule to remember is:How Do I Dry My Cloth Diapering Product. Thirsties. 2011-12-28 – Blog
-Covers should be air dried.
-Pockets, fitteds, and AIOs should be air dried or dried on low heat.
-Your natural fiber prefolds, flats, inserts, and wipes can be dried on higher heat settings.”
If there is a North American or UK cloth diaper brand that you would like to see added to this list, please leave a comment and I will add it.