October 2, 2012

Cloth Diapers

When BB was a baby, I considered using cloth diapers. However, at the time, I thought them too intimidating for me to try. Since then, I've read what other bloggers have had to say about cloth diapers and they made it seem doable. When I found that I was expecting Grace, I knew that I would give cloth diapering a try. So if you are undecided about cloth diapers, perhaps this post can help.
After a year of cloth diapering, here are a few things that worked for me, as well as a basic how to. Of course, what works for me may not work for you, but this is what I have been doing.
The Diapers:
The diapers I use primarily are all-in-one (AIO) one-size diapers. Mine are homemade from a shop on etsy. The diapers are adjustable, designed to fit from newborn until Grace is potty trained. Right now, Grace weighs around 23 lbs at 13 months and there is still a good bit of room to grow with the diapers. In addition to the pocket diapers, I also have some Gerber prefolds that I pair with a Bummis Super Whisper Wrap diaper cover. Grace primarily wears the prefolds with a wrap on wash day. If you prefer to buy name brand cloth diapers, I have heard excellent things about the Bum Genius line of diapers.
The Extras:
For diaper cream, not all diaper creams are compatible with cloth diapers. So far, I've used California Baby and Burt's Bees products on Grace with good results. These products are a bit more expensive, but they seem to wash out well from the diapers and are free of parabens and other nasty stuff.
One thing that I have been doing for about a month is using a liner with the diapers. Now that Grace is almost exclusively eating and drinking "people" food, her solid diapers have a bit more substance. To make things easier to clean, I cut some flannel cloth into 6"x12" rectangles and hemmed with hem tape (if I had a sewing machine, I would have just serged the edges, but I don't and I'm  lazy). There are flushable as well as washable liners for sale on Amazon, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. So far, the ones I made have held up well so I will probably just continue to use them.

The Nitty Gritty: 
After I change Grace's diaper, I put the used diaper in her diaper pail. I use a pop-top trash can paired with a nylon laundry bag. When I wash the diapers, I wash the liner (I have two liners). When I take the diapers and liner out to wash, I spray the can with lysol and then wipe it with a Clorox wipe. So far, we've had zero issues with diaper pail smell and we've had some DOOZIES of diapers!
In the event of a dirty diaper, I spray the diaper and liner off using our diaper sprayer that is attached to our toilet. You can buy a premade diaper sprayer (BumGenius is supposed to have a good one) for around $50. DH made ours, though, for around $25. If you prefer to make your own, these tutorials are helpful: http://gidgetgoeshome.com/2008/08/25/diy-tutorial-make-your-own-diaper-sprayer/
Some people love diaper sprayers, some hate them. I've only used a diaper sprayer, so I have no experience with the swish and flush method. One word of advice: experiment with the water pressure settings before use. Too much water pressure and you will be cleaning the walls of your bathroom. Not that I ever had to do that...
How to Wash:
I wash diapers about every other day. Grace wears disposable diapers at night and when we leave the house. In my experience, a baby usually goes through 8-12 diapers a day. Many people feel that 24 diapers is a good number to own, and that you shouldn't wash more than 20 at a time in order for maximum cleaning efficiency. I have a Kenmore top-loading machine, and 20 seems to be a good number. To wash them, I first make sure that the diapers are rinsed well. I do this by running them through an entire cycle on hot water with no detergent. After that cycle is complete, I run them through an entire cycle again, this time using hot water and Seventh Generation Natural 4x Free Clear laundry detergent. I only use half a cap of detergent. Then, to avoid detergent build-up on the diapers, I run them through another entire cycle using just hot water. I do not stain spray the diapers or use any type of laundry booster or bleach. After each run through the machine, I take the diapers out and rearrange them in the washer. I feel as though they get cleaner that way and do not clump together in the machine. But that may just be my washer.
Once the diapers are clean, I either run them through the dryer on hot (with a dry towel thrown in to improve dryer efficiency), or I hang them out to dry. In addition to line drying being cheaper, the sun will also take care of any stains that may linger on the diapers. After I take the diapers off of the line, I toss the absorbent liners in the dryer (usually with another load) to make sure that they are truly dry and to help them not be so stiff. The outer part of the diaper dries quickly and does not need this extra step.
I estimate that the water used for the diapers plus the detergent adds about $5 a month to our expenses. For me, the money saving benefits alone make cloth diapering worthwhile. As of right now, we go through about one box of disposable diapers a month. When BB was in disposable diapers, we went through a box of diapers every week and a half. In other words, we spend about $25 a month diapering Grace (extra water usage, detergent, 1 box disposable diapers), compared to the $50 a month we would be spending on only disposable diapers. That's a savings of $300 a year. Even if you take out the initial cost of the diapers, $200, I still come out $100 ahead, and that is for the first year alone. I don't know anyone who has been potty trained at one, so the savings will continue ;)Cloth diapering is not for everyone. If I had two babies in diapers, I doubt I would cloth diaper. Good moms do what works best for them. What works with one kid might not work with another. I'm getting crunchy in my old age with natural childbirth, cloth diapers, breast feeding and homeschooling. But my kids are also 5 years apart, which helps tons. If you have any questions, ask! :)
and for more tips, visit Kristin every Wednesday for Works for Me Wednesday!


  1. I cloth diaper too and think it's so easy. I don't understand why more people don't cloth diaper.

  2. Nice article! We loved cloth diapers! A lot of people seem to think that if you work outside the home you won't have time to wash them or that childcare won't allow your baby to use them, but I found time to do laundry at night and had a pretty easy time negotiating with childcare.


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