Saturday, August 28, 2010

cloth diapers, the care and keeping of

Hi friends from Pinterest! Thanks for stopping by. I stopped writing on this blog once I had my twins. Feel free to come visit me over on my new blog That Crunchy Twin Mom and learn all of my teething & diaper rash secrets and more.

I decided to write this post because it took me over a year to get my cloth diapering system down. Mostly because I didn't know anyone nearby that actually cloth diapered. Yes, there are a lot of posts on the internet about it but for me it really took being around other cloth diapering mamas and seeing what they were doing. So this is my attempt to "show" you how I do it in hopes of helping someone else like me out there.....

As you may be able to tell I use the Bum Genius all in one style diapers. (These are great because they will grow with your child.) There are a lot of blogs out there that tell you the differences between diapers and help you decide which ones are best for you. My decision was easy. I had received quite a few Target Gift Cards from baby showers. You can buy Bum Genius Diapers through the Target website. I waited around until they shipped for free (Target's always having a promotion for something to ship for free) and I placed my order through ebates. I actually made money off of these diapers.

The first thing that you are going to need is a diaper sprayer. I went a whole year without a diaper sprayer. Trust me. You need one. So clean off your soiled diapers. I use a towel to transport them from the bathroom to the laundry room where I keep my diaper pail. I have a friend that keeps hers in their kid's bathroom closet. Some people use wet bags. Do what works for you.

(the first one was $12 at Target and the second one is from Ikea...sorry I don't remember how much)

You are definitely going to need is a diaper pail. Any small trash can with a lid will do. (I recommend not using a diaper genie.) You have two options. You can simply toss your soiled diapers into the empty can or you can fill your can about half way with water and 1 cup of vinegar.  The first option works fine if you was the diapers every other day. If you want a little leeway I recommend using the water and vinegar method as it will keep your diapers from mildewing and stinking up the whole house as quickly.

 When it's time to do laundry I dump the entire contents of my diaper pail into the washing machine. Then I use the spin cycle to get rid of the vinegar water that the diapers have been sitting in. I then run the machine on cold (if you use hot or warm it's smelly) with a cup of vinegar to neutralize the smell and to thoroughly rinse the diapers. Then I do the real wash in hot hot water. We use our own home made laundry detergent. It helps save even more money and keeps more chemicals away from out little one's bum... which is part of the reason I wanted to cloth diaper in the first place. (pampers chemical burns anyone?)

I do not use fabric softener. I do not use bleach*. I do not use stain remover.

I have read that all of those things can break down the waterproof lining. And well frankly cloth diapers are not cheap and being peed or pooped on is not fun. Enough said.

Then I take my fresh clean diapers and hang them outside on the clothes line. This has two purposes.
#1) The sun will bleach any stains you may have out of the diapers. Shockingly enough the insides of my diapers still look perfectly white and brand new. All it takes is hanging them outside.

#2) Washing machines take a huge toll on cloth diapers. Want them to wear out fast so you have a good excuse to go back to disposables? Just wash them in your dryer. Now obviously you will have to do this on occasion. If it's below freezing outside or has been raining for days. Every now and then is fine. And my sister in law has discovered that it can help to reactivate the velcro if its starting to not want to stick.

When they are dry and clean I re-stuff all of my diapers with the liners and put them in a basket. That way they are ready to go.


* About the bleach comment I made earlier. As soon as I wrote that I went and checked on my diapers that were in the wash. I had washed them twice and the inserts still weren't smelling fresh. The liners were fine so I did "strip" (by washing them again with 1/4C bleach.... (the inserts, not the liners).

* I know that a lot of people use cloth for night time and for outings. We don't. We chose to use disposables for sleeping because they are much more absorbent and are better at wicking the moisture away from the little one's skin. And for going out just because i didn't want to haul dirty diapers around with me. And sometimes when I don't feel like doing laundry today I'll throw them on her too.

* Because cloth diapers aren't going to wick the moisture away as well as disposables you are going to have to change them more often. Also because of that they are fabulous for potty training. My daughter even takes off her cloth diapers after she pees and puts them into the diaper pail.

* Another great thing about cloth for us is that the Little One has only had one real diaper rash. Of course it was when we were out of town, using disposables, and had left the diaper cream at home. She has gotten a little red down there a few times but we were always able to catch it before it turned into anything bad. I think that using cloth has really helped in that area. (Technically you are not supposed to use diaper cream with cloth diapers.)

* Because cloth diapers are a bit bulky the Little One pretty much lives in dresses (especially so during the summer). It makes it much easier to change and she doesn't look like she has a huge butt in them.

 If you have any questions about cloth diapering please feel free to leave them and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

If you cloth diaper and have any comments, helpful hints, or suggestions please leave them here.

And if you have blogged about cloth diapering please leave/ email me a link! I would love to have as much information on here as possible.



  1. Well I know I don't have a baby but I am a believer in cloth diapering. Thank you for the very informative post. How do you make your own detergent? I find this very interesting...

  2. Thank you so much for this post! All of my mom friends (and me with my first) use disposables and I didn't have a clue with where to start with using cloth for this one! I am so glad I found it!

  3. i cloth diaper and im the only one i know of where i live, we just moved. and so all of my "knowledge" is from mommy blogs like yours! THANK YOU! one question: how do you strip when they start stinking AND repelling? we cloth at night and she has started leaking through.. i know we can double up on inserts but her poor butt is just HUGE! lol Thank you!

    1. i emailed you back the day you left this... i hope that you got it. i recommended boiling for with a tiny squirt of blue dawn. :-)

  4. Kate Schwartz, you can strip with the original blue dawn dish soap. Google it for more info if needed. But I throw about a half load in the washer with a palm full of Dawn and soak, then rinse 5 or so times until there are no more bubbles. Sometimes I do a final regular wash with Sport Wash- founding outdoor/hunting section at Walmart. Is made to rinse clean and leave no smell or residue behind as its meant for hunters to not be "smelled" by the animals. If you have an HE machine, you cannot use the dawn but can strip in the bath tub by filling it with the hottest water you can get and agitating or stripping with a stick or handle of some sort. Let soak then rinse the best you can and then throw in the wash for a regular wash.

  5. This is great! I do have one concern though, what if you live in a consistently rainy or child area and thus rarely ever able to hang clothes outside to dry or sun bleach them? My location rains or is cold or very cloudy about 3.5 seasons out of the year.
    I'm afraid the answer is either to stick them in the dryer (greatly reducing their lifespan) or mostly use disposables.