How to Wash Reusable Incontinence Briefs or Protective Underwear

How to Wash Reusable Incontinence Briefs or Protective Underwear

Washing reusable incontinence briefs properly is essential for maintaining their effectiveness and ensuring they are comfortable for your child.

This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of washing reusable incontinence briefs, including preparation, the washing process, drying, and stain removal.

Preparation and Storage

Before washing, remove as much solid waste as possible. This can be done by shaking solids into the toilet or using a handheld bidet or diaper sprayer to rinse off waste.

Disposable bamboo diaper liners may also be used to help make removing solid waste from the reusable brief easier. Disposable bamboo liners are placed inside the brief, against the skin to catch solid waste. Once soiled, the liner and the waste are to be disposed of. 

Once rinsed and air dried, store soiled reusable incontinence briefs in a water-resistant wet bag or a lidded storage pail or trash can to contain odors and moisture until wash day.


Washing Process

Step 1: Pre-Wash

Start with a cold water rinse or a short wash cycle with detergent. This step removes excess urine and fecal matter that may be remaining in the fibers of the incontinence brief, preventing stains and odors from setting in. This step is crucial for ensuring a thorough clean during the main wash.


Step 2: Main Wash



After the pre-wash, run a long wash cycle with warm water and a reusable incontinence brief-friendly detergent. Warm water helps to sanitize the diapers and remove oils and residues.

Use the recommended amount of detergent for a heavily soiled load, avoiding fabric softeners and bleach, as these can degrade the fabric and reduce absorbency. It is important to choose a detergent that works well with your water type and doesn't contain fragrances or fabric softeners.

Tide powder is a popular and reliable detergent brand that is easy to use and performs well on reusable incontinence briefs and protective underwear. 

Step 3: Extra Rinse (Optional)

Finish with an extra rinse cycle in cold water to remove any remaining detergent. This step is helpful  for preventing irritation and ensuring the diapers are clean and fresh.



The best method for drying reusable incontinence briefs is to hang them in the sun. Sunlight naturally bleaches stains and disinfects.

If outdoor drying is not possible, hanging them indoors or using a dryer on a low heat setting is a good option. Be cautious of high heat, as it can damage elastic and waterproof layers of the reusable incontinence briefs. 

Stain Removal

For stubborn stains, sunning is the most effective and natural method. Lay the wet, washed briefs in direct sunlight, and the stains will often fade significantly or disappear.

If stains persist, applying lemon juice to the stained area before sunning can help, but ensure the reusable briefs are washed again before use to avoid skin irritation.

For tougher stains, a small amount of a safe stain remover or oxygen bleach can be used, following the product's instructions carefully.

Additional Tips

  • Frequency: Wash reusable incontinence briefs every 2-3 days to prevent mold, mildew, and excessive staining.
  • Load Size: Washing around 20 reusable briefs at a time is typical, ensuring there's enough room in the machine for thorough cleaning.
  • Water Hardness: If you have hard water, you may need to add a water softener to your wash routine to prevent mineral buildup on the fibers of your briefs.
  • Detergent Choice: Most commercial detergents are safe for reusable incontinence briefs, but avoid those with fragrances, fabric softeners, or designed for delicate fabrics.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your reusable incontinence briefs remain clean, absorbent, and comfortable for your baby. Proper care extends the life of reusable products, making them a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice for your family.

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