There are some rules to follow and you do end up with a lot more laundry. It's worth it though, and really.. once you get into the routine of it, it's not too bad.
The basic guideline is to do diaper laundry every 2-3 days, but not to go longer then 3 days. I do the 3 day or as needed laundering.
For prefolds the care doesn't seem to be as difficult as if you use one of the other methods. Prefolds dry quicker, and are virtually indestructible.
The basic wash cycle goes like so:
A quick cold rinse to get rid of stains, a hot wash with a cloth diaper safe detergent, and one more cold rinse to get rid of detergent residue. Diapers go in the drier, Covers and wet bags hang dry. As the weather gets warmer I plan on hang drying everything outside to save energy. The sun does wonders in getting rid of stains if you're having a problem with those!
I know that other cloth mothers have differing ways to approach washing. I formed my routine by researching and taking a bit of others ideas and in the end found what works best for me. You might find a different routine works better, and might need to change it depending on what kinda of diapers you are using.
One more thing to take care of diapers.. stripping.
Stripping is needed because after a lot of washes detergent begins to build up (the build up will happen faster if you are using a detergent that is not safe for cloth diapers, natural detergents are a better idea for cloth diapers) in the diapers. The build up can cause unpleasant smells. So if you are beginning to get frustrated and fall out of love with cloth diapering because of a stinky ammonia smell coming from your childs behind or the changing station.. chances are you need to strip the diapers. I do this once a month or as needed. My routine for this is to wash as I would normally and then start a HOT wash cycle WITHOUT detergent. As this cycle runs you will see suds coming out of hiding in the diapers. It's amazing how much build up can happen! After a good strip the diapers are fresh smelling again and go back to having no odor. From what I understand prefolds are the easiest to get rid of build up. Another plus for prefolds!
I think those are the main points in taking care of cloth. It may sound like a lot.. but once you start doing it, it's really NOT bad. It becomes a part of your life and really I would never go back to using disposables fully. I love fluff.