I’ve been using cloth since Henry was born, and I really do love them. This is more for my kids’ sake than the environment because diapers contain some of the nastiest ingredients out there! Although reading about the environmental impact that disposables make as well as how many are dumped in landfills every year is enough to encourage me to continue using cloth!
They function much like a disposable using velcro or snaps – they are way easier than you may think!!
I’ll admit, I’m a cloth diaper cheater. I use chlorine-free disposables at night, because I’ve found that my kids sleep longer (like 12 hours...can I get an amen?) when they wear one. I will also double up the cloth liner at night which works well too.
I also do the disposables for the Church nursery, just out of consideration for the workers, as they are all volunteers and differ week to week.
I had a hard time finding a washing routine that worked consistently, didn’t cause residue build up, and got them 100% stink free (which can be a bit of a challenge with the pocket diapers)…and we all know that smelly diaper is pretty much one of the grossest things ever.
So, after about 5 years, I’ve finally figured it out. You may need to tweak this depending on your water. If you have very hard water, you may need a bit more detergent, but always start with a very tiny amount.
HOW TO CHANGE THE DIAPER
1. dump the solids in the toilet. gross, i know, but hey, it’s not so bad when it’s your own kid.
2. remove the liner & put it in a wet-bag. THIS ONE is my favorite, it’s big enough for about 12 diapers and has a handle that I use to hang on the bathroom door. You can also order a smaller size for the diaper bag which is also great for soiled clothes, socks, burp rags, blankets and shoes.
The best part? They completely keep the odors inside – serious.
I ordered the large one in the “paprika” print – soooo pretty! I mean, if I’m going to have tiny turds hanging around in my home, I want them to be hidden in something attractive.
3a. swish the outer cover in the toilet by folding it inside-out like a taco so that the soiled part is in the toilet water and your fingers are not. you can also get a sprayer to attach to the toilet, but I’ve never had one.
3b. if “swishing” makes you want to curl up in a corner and die, you might like these biodegradable liners instead. they contain the poo, and go down the toilet with it.
4. toss the cloth liner in the wet bag.
HOW TO WASH THE DIAPERS
1. hold your breath, and dump the contents of your wet bag in the washer – I only wash my wet bag every few weeks so that it will last longer.
2. ONE COLD RINSE (no detergent)
3. ONE FULL CYCLE HOT WASH WITH AN EXTRA RINSE using:
(a 30min – overnight SOAK may be necessary depending on your water)
4. ONE ADDITIONAL RINSE
5. hang dry the outer covers and the inserts, or hot dry the inserts in the clothes dryer.
- don’t wait too long to wash – I do a load every other day to keep them from becoming overly stinky, and thus, harder to get clean.
- don’t use too much detergent! my diapers started “repelling” which pretty much defeats the purpose of a diaper, and it was due to detergent build up.
- strip your diapers every few months to remove detergent or mineral build up. HERE is a great link for how to do this using DAWN – (ok, I don’t LOVE Dawn, but it really works well for every once in a while to strip out extra residue)
- you can also strip them using RLR, which works great as well, you just toss it in with a regular wash.
- don’t over rinse. like the detergent issue, this seems counter-intuitive, but mineral deposits can build up on the diapers from over-rinsing.
- easy stain removal – just lay those suckers in the sun to dry! the sun is a natural stain remover, deodorizer, and bacteria killer.
- don’t use baking soda or vinegar – these will void most pocket diaper warranties as it can break down the fibers. however, baking soda and vinegar are ok to use on 100% cotton pre-folds (remember the ones that mamma used with the clothes-pins?)
- if your diapers seem to be leaking, try drying the outer cover just once on a hot cycle – this seems to bring the absorbency back to life!
Alright, so cloth diapering can be very simple and EXTREMELY affordable. They pay for themselves in no time, greatly reduce landfill waste, and reduce your child’s exposure to chemicals!
live well. be well.