Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Using them only supports this blog, with no added cost to you. Thanks for your support!
When I found out I was pregnant I knew that I would want to cloth diaper because I try to be as eco friendly as possible. I searched the Internet for all the information I could find on cloth diapers… and the more I read…the more confused I felt on the topic.
When it comes to cloth diapering there is so much information out there that it becomes this overwhelming and complicated idea. I am here to tell you that cloth diapering is simple. If you can do a load of laundry, you can cloth diaper.
It took me 10 weeks to gather the courage to start my cloth diapering journey. For some reason I was afraid. Looking back now that makes me laugh. I wish that I would have started sooner. The best advice I can give you to encourage you to start your cloth diapering journey is two fold.
Cloth Diapering Advice
1. Cloth Diapering Doesn’t Have to be all or Nothing
There is this common misconception that if you use cloth diapers you all of a sudden are no longer allowed to use disposable diapers ever again. Not so! You can switch between the two however works best for your personal needs. When I first started using cloth I would put Roam in a disposable every time we left the house. Once I got more comfortable with the idea I would just throw a travel sized wet bag in her diaper bag and have her go out in disposables.
I still put her in disposables on long trips when there will be no washer available, and during overnight sleep. She started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks wearing disposables and I’m not ready to experiment with that because she is a HEAVY wetter. (and I still have PTSD from not getting any sleep for 6 weeks.)
These are the disposable diapers I use. They are free of chemicals, dyes and made from Bamboo. They are more expensive but since I rarely ever have her in them they last a very long time. 100 will last me about 2 – 3 months or longer if we don’t have any travel time planned.
2. Sample a few Different Brands and Styles
Like I said before, all the information you find online can seem overwhelming. Everyone talks in cloth diaper lingo on blog post making it hard to understand what they are actually talking about. Below are a few brands/ styles that I sampled. Out of all of these brands/styles Buttons Diapers are my favorite. They work the best and are affordable.
Brands I’ve Sampled
Styles I’ve Sampled
- All-in-twos: Water resistant covers with snap in- on top- inserts
- Pocket Diapers: Diapers that you stuff an insert into a pocket
- Snap Closures: Snap the Diaper shut (I heard these were better for when they get older and can start taking their diapers off.
- Covers with Pre-folds: Basically you fold a cloth that looks like a burp cloth and place it on top of the cover and then put that on the baby
- Velcro Closures: Most similar to a Disposable Diaper (would recommend these for daycare or baby-sitters …or dads who feel weird about cloth)
- One – Size – Fits – All: All the diapers I got are one size fits all because economically it made the most sense to me to get diapers that would grow with my baby.
Common Questions When Getting Started
How many diapers do I need?
Short answer is, It depends. (Adult diaper joke, lol) Do you want to cloth diaper full time? Part time? Once a day? How old is your baby? What style do you want to use?
You want to have enough to go 2-3 days in-between washing. At 3 months old Roam was needing her diaper changed about 7/8 times a day. So I needed a stash size somewhere between 16-24. If you prefer the Pocket style or All-in-ones then you will need about the same amount. If you like the All-in-2 style you will need about 8-10 covers and 16-24 inserts.
My current stash is :
9 Pocket Style with inserts
11 Covers (originally I only had 6 covers)
18 snap in inserts for covers
3 pre-fold inserts
With this stash I can got 3-4 days in-between washes. Although it’s not recommended to go longer than 3 days…Which brings us to the next common question.
How Often should I wash my Diapers?
Short Answer: 2-3 Days
Longer answer, We don’t own a washer & Dryer. Poop and pee doesn’t bother me so I go straight to the sink after a diaper change and rinse and squeeze out as much poop and pee as I can. Then I throw it into an open wet bag that’s in a 5 gallon bucket under our kitchen sink. I read that it was better to leave the wet bag open so that way your diapers can air out. I haven’t had any issues with stink, or mold by doing this. The longest I’ve gone in-between washes so far has been 4 days.
Do you have to change the whole diaper every time?
Short Answer: It depends on the type of Diaper.
Longer Answer: This is why I really like the All-in-2 style. You can just remove the insert, wipe it clean, and add in a new insert and reuse when the baby only peed. If the baby pooped, there is a good chance you will need to wash the whole set-up. For all-in-one or pocket style diapers you will have to wash the entire diaper set up after each use.
What about Poop?
Short answer: What about it?
Long answer: Im just kidding…okay, so if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby then the poop is water soluble. Just toss it in the wet bag. Most of the time I will rinse it out at my sink, but when you run your rinse cycle on laundry day it will rinse right out.
I don’t have all the answers for solid poop yet but I did read that you can make fleece inserts and that poop does not stick to fleece and will just plop right off into the toilet. I haven’t tested this yet but once Roam starts solids I will report back on my findings. You can also get Bio Liners that are biodegradable and supposedly flushable. Some people get a diaper sprayer and hook it up to their toilet. We are going to have a composting toilet on the bus so I didn’t go that route.
BUT from my understanding after talking to my sister who cloth diapered for 2 years…you just plop the solid poop in the toilet and then wash as normal.
How do I wash my cloth diapers
- Remove poop: if your baby is eating solids. Just plop it into the toilet. A lot of people recommend getting a diaper sprayer. I have the Spray Pal which a friend got for me at a baby consignment shop (with a sweet set of Best Bottoms Diapers, thank you Cleta!) I think it’s really cool, especially if poop weirds you out.
- Separate covers from inserts: Do this before you toss them into your wet bag
- Toss Covers, inserts and wet bag into the washer on laundry day
- Do one cold rinse cycle : If your stash is really stinky you can add a little bit of detergent to the rinse cycle
- Followed by a warm/hot wash cycle with detergent
- Tumble dry inserts on medium – DON’T USE DRYER SHEETS
- Hang your covers to air dry to prolong the life of the elastic and closures: You can hang on a rack inside, or on a line in the sun (this will sun bleach out any stains) I use these metal clothes dryer hangers. on sunny days I hang it outside and on rainy days I hang it somewhere inside. If I have the time I prefer to hang dry my covers & inserts.
What laundry detergent should I use?
Really any brand that you would use to wash your baby’s clothes (as long as it doesn’t have fabric softener in it). It is recommend that you use something free and clear of dyes and fragrances and most sites recommend a powder detergent for cloth. Tide Free and Clear works great. I also heard All Free and Clear works great (and it’s cheaper.)
Are the Inserts Brand Specific?
Short Answer: No
Longer Answer: The only “issue” I’ve run into from buying inserts not designed specifically for a brand is that the inserts I bought only have 1 snap instead of 2 snaps. It’s not a big deal. I just snap the one snap in the back and make sure that it’s in place in the front when I put it on my baby. I can interchange all the inserts from the brands I mentioned above.
What All do I need to cloth Diaper full time
- Enough Diapers to go 2-3 days in between washing
- 2 wet bags: I use Planet Wise and Wegreeco
- 1 travel wet bag: I use this one because I thought it was cute!
- Cloth Diaper friendly detergent (a free and clear powder detergent works best)
- A way to wash the diapers. (We don’t own a washer so I go to my in-laws or I hand wash them in our tub).
- 5 gallon Bucket to use as your diaper pale
- Cloth wipes (because if you are already using cloth diapers … this is the next logical move.)
- 1 spray bottle with water in it. For the wipes.
- Get fancy and add Castile soap and a few drops of lavender & Tea tree essential oils (not necessary but makes baby’s bottom smell nice.)
- Organic Coconut oil to moisturize your baby’s booty.
Common Push Backs From Trying Cloth Diapers
I could never use cloth because of the poop.
Hate to break it to you but with a baby comes poop. Doesn’t matter if you’re in ‘sposies or cloth. You will deal with poop. And quite honestly I delt with more poop in disposables because Roam would have multiple blow outs a day. I have only ever had one blow out with cloths so far and I am so happy she was in a cloth because this was a MASSIVE poop. (she didn’t poop for a few days (totally normal for breastfed babies) and then all of a sudden she pooped for 5 minutes straight…im not kidding. And it was the first time I decided to go to church since she was born…and I forgot my wet bag. hahah, fun times. I just rinsed it off in the sink at church and carefully put it in a corner of the diaper bag.
It’s too much work.
Okay, I think I already proved this one wrong. But incase you still think this I will just say it again but differently. Cloth diapering is as easy as using disposable diapers. Honestly, it might even be easier because if you run out you just do a load of laundry…no need to go to the store. You already do so much laundry when dealing with a baby, whats one more load? I even read on a blog somewhere that some Moms just wash baby clothes with the cloth diapers. Which actually isn’t that crazy when you think about it.
It’s too expensive.
As Dwight Schrute would say: FALSE.
There are a lot of numbers out there about how much disposable diapers will cost your family and how much cloth diapers will save your family.
but let’s just say you only buy super cheap generic brand disposables. From birth to potty training you will spend about $1,500+ on disposables. (this is the lowest of low for that total cost.)
True, cloth is an initial investment and if you bought a stash of Grovia Diapers you will probably spend about $500 up front – which is on the expensive side for cloth diapering (and is still cheaper than disposables)
You can Cloth Diaper for Cheap!
A 3 day stash of cheap Alva baby diapers will cost you roughly $105
A 3 day stash of Buttons Diapers will cost you roughly $140 – (5 Buttons covers = $65 + 21 microfiber inserts = 73.50) = $138.50. Give or take a few bucks for different styles.
If you used prefolds it could be even cheaper with the cover/insert system.
It’s about $27 for 100 pampers diapers so after buying five 100 packs you will spend just as much money as you would on a stash of cloth diapers that can be reused over, and over, and over, and over again. And if you plan on having more than one kid…they can be used again! So in reality, disposable diapers are expensive.
Well, that escalated quickly. When I started this blog post I wanted it to be short and concise. I clearly did not succeed at that but I have had a lot of Moms ask me the above questions so I just wanted to put it all in one place. In the future I want to do a youtube video on this for people who prefer to see instead of read.
I hope this helped you/ inspired you to put your baby in cloth diapers! If you have any other questions comment below or come find me on Instagram @beachykefer
Also, If you still want more information/ opinions about using cloth I highly recommend you check out some cloth diaper blogs on Pinterest.