Treating Cloth Diapers for MRSA and Other Bacteria

Treating Cloth Diapers for MRSA and Other BacteriaNot too long ago, I was having a conversation with some other moms about treating cloth diapers for MRSA.  I mean, MRSA.  Holy cow.  That’s antibiotic resistant illnesses that kill people.  In my mind, MRSA was right up there with Ebola for the scary “it will kill you dead and wipe out entire villages” factor.  It never even occurred to me that MRSA could be an issue with cloth diapers.  It turns out that I was harboring a whole lot of misconceptions about MRSA and treating cloth diapers.

In the past, I’d thought that bleach was the only way to treat cloth diapers for bacterial infections like MRSA, c. Difficile, and other types of bacterial diaper rashes.  When I joined in a discussion for the concept of routinely treating cloth diapers for bacterial contaminants with bleach prior to giving them away, I balked.  I was sure that there had to be a better way than bleaching cloth diapers “just to be on the safe side.”  There’s a reason why manufacturers (except for Cotton Babies) say that bleach is a no-no and will frequently void warranties…

With that in mind, I got my research on.  I consulted the CDC website.  I spoke with doctors and nurses in my community.  To make it even more relevant, one of the doctors that I spoke with also uses cloth diapers.

Not a single one of them disagreed with the United States CDC treatment for killing MRSA.  The instructions are to wash the material on the hottest setting that the manufacturer’s instructions allow for.  Bleach is not necessary.

I was pretty surprised.

It turns out that MRSA and the other wicked and terrible bacterial infections that can kill people are absolutely brutal inside the body.  But outside?  Meh.  Not so much.  Once they’re out of the body, they’re vulnerable to good old fashioned soap and water.

Who knew?

Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical advice, but is only general information.  If you or someone else in your family is dealing with MRSA, please see a physician immediately.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Lynnette Potter says:

    Good to know! I also discovered using grapefruit seed extract in laundry when I was researching thrush treatments. Grapefruit seed extract is a natural anti microbial and some add a few drops to their laundry when they do a load. Also for all the ladies who struggle with yeast infections I have found grapefruit seed extract helps everytime. I take it in pill form 3 times a day alternating with a probiotic making sure the two are taken at least an hour apart. No more doctors, prescriptions or annoying over the counter creams 🙂

    • *wince* Now yeast is a whole ‘nother ball of wax! I’d definitely agree that more than just soap is necessary for getting rid of yeast in diapers.

  2. Wow! I never thought about MRSA and diapers! My mother-in-law (a nurse) likes to scare me about MRSA. Good to know that soap and water are effective!

  3. Holy Moses! This thought never crossed my mind!!! I’m new to cloth diapering and am often overwhelmed by all the new things I learn.

  4. titi518 . says:

    I can only think what is MRSA doing in cloth diapers?? Wow.. I cannot imagine babes contracting MRSA. Keep washing you hands everyone!

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