Monday, April 22, 2013

Cloth Diapers: An Overview from my experience

Why I use cloth diapers  

When I was pregnant with my first I thought about cloth diapering. I have to be honest, the first thing that attracted me to the idea was that it was cheaper than disposables. Yep, that's right... cheap is beautiful.  After talking to friends and family I found that depending on the type of disposable diapers they bought, they were spending anywhere from $25 to $45 a month on diapers. Cloth diapers range from anywhere between $3-$15 per diaper. After looking around I ended up getting mine off ebay. I got a set of 20 for $90.  After some time I also ordered some wipes, but one can easily make them for cheaper.  
I started out really simple. Just with my cloth diapers, a bucket with a lid on it to use for dirty diapers, and a wet bag given to me by a friend. And the adventure began.

The Pros 

Here's baby in his cute caveman diaper. :)
1. It's less expensive. Cloth diapering is a one time upfront cost.
2. They are cute. Cloth diapers come in lots of cute patterns.
3. You don't have as much trash.
4. You are prepared for any emergency.
5. Cloth diapers are more high tech than they used to be. They come with snaps or Velcro so you don't have to worry about pins. 
6. Variety. You can choose between a variety of different types of diapers: All-in-ones, pocket diapers, pre-folds with covers, fitted with covers.


The Cons

1. They are bulky. When I first started I just had one size pocket diapers. They were too bulky for my son when he was first born. They do have different sizes of diapers so you can buy small medium and large and partially avoid this problem.
2. The cleaning process. cloth Diapering usually involves washing your diapers at least twice a week. It takes a while to figure out the cleaning process and get into a groove.
3. Traveling. I find that it is difficult to travel for extended periods of time with cloth diapers. Sometimes I buy disposables or if the trip is short I'll pack up all the diapers and the wet bag.

The Process

Cloth diapers are not that much harder in my mind than disposables. I keep my diapers in a drawer in my sons room with the diaper pail and a garbage can. When changing time comes I take baby to the room, remove his diaper, take out the insert and throw both the cover and insert into the diaper pail and replace the lid.  If I'm using cloth wipes they go in the diaper pail as well. If I'm using disposable wipes they go into the garbage. I take a diaper from the drawer with an insert already in and put it on baby. If I'm getting baby ready for night I will usually double up on the inserts so that the diaper lasts longer through the night. I have 20 cloth diapers and 40 inserts so they usually last anywhere from 2 to 3 days before it is time to wash.

Wet bag with draw string top to seal off the smell.

 Changing a diaper away from home

Let's say I'm out. I make sure I have a couple of diapers and wipes in the diaper bag as well as the wet bag. The wet bag takes the place of the diaper pail when I'm away. So when I'm done changing the diaper everything goes in the wet bag. It locks the smell in so you don't have to smell it throughout your trip. After I get home I empty the bag into the diaper pail. And honestly you don't really even have to touch it just dump the bag out into the pail.


This is the part obviously that you don't have to worry about with disposables.  There is a lot of different ways to wash cloth diapers and it seems as though everyone has their own favorite way. I start by taking the pail and dumping it into the wash. I do a pre-rinse with cold water, no soup first. You can add baking soda to the rinse cycle. This is great if your diapers are retaining a smell. then I add 1/4 the recommended amount of soap for a load and change the water to hot and run it through a cycle. You can add soiled baby clothes or other to the wash after the rinse cycle if you choose.

Diapers, inserts, wipes, garbage, Baby powder...ect
When the washer is done I hang dry the covers and throw the inserts in the dryer. The covers dry super fast. During the winter I did use the dryer for my covers although most people don't recommend it because it ruins the elastics in the diapers faster. I tried it because my cloth diapers said use the dryer in the instructions. 
After they're dry I fold the wipes and stick them in a wipe container and add some water. There are a lot of wipe water recipes. Here's one I'm thinking of trying.
  • 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil.
  • 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's soap.
  • water. 

I stuff the diapers with the inserts and fold them and stack them in the drawer. It takes 5-10 minutes. I stack the rest of the inserts in the drawer and I'm ready to go again.


  1. I am now doing cloth diapers. I am super excited. I am using pocket diapers I got on ebay from china for like $4 a piece with inserts. I hope I can keep up with the laundry though.

    1. Yeah. that is cool. I got mine off ebay too. :)what brand is yours? mine is happy flute. i think they work pretty good but i want to find a brand that fits newborns better.

    2. I bought two different brands one is ohbabyka and the other is shine baby. I also got some bumgenius and gdiapers. We will see what I like best.

  2. I'm struggling to find a good wipes solution. The tea tree oil keeps the water from getting funky, but I have a hard time with its scent for some reason! I kept some Dr. Bronner's and water in an empty face wash bottle and just squirted some on the top few layers of wipes, but for whatever reason I decide to ditch the bottle and just put all the liquid right in the diaper box, but of course, it gets smelly because there's no tea tree oil. I think I'm going back to the squirt bottle unless I find another essential oil that can keep the water from getting gross.

    1. Yeah, I haven't experimented much with wipes. i do know i don't really like what i'm doing now though. I just keep them in a wipe container and put a little water in, just enough to make them damp like a normal wipe but i don't feel like it does a good job. I need to look into that more.

    2. I have been doing some reading and most of what I find leads me to want to do the spray bottle. I say spray just plain water right on the bum if no bm and wipe off with the cloth. Then something with antibacterial or soap in a separate spray bottle for bms. The main ingredient should always be water then some kind of oil, like olive oil and just a tiny bit of tea tree oil. You can always adjust amounts to see what works best for you and your baby. Some use witch hazel and lavender oils, maybe the lavender would cover the smell.

    3. When I use cloth wipes, I just keep them folded in a pile on my changing table. I put water in my peri bottle and use that to wet the wipes. It works really well for us.

  3. If your baby poops on a regular schedule, like after nursing or naps, you could use infant potty training, or elimination communication. We did this with our baby starting at about 4 months, and just held her over the toilet for a few minutes until she went. It was pretty awesome, and I only had to wash out a messy cloth diaper like once a month. Totally worth it.

    1. That's a great idea. I'll have to look up about elimination communications. Sounds like a good idea.


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