Cloth Diapering Basics

10:49 PM

I get asked a lot how I can stand to cloth diaper. I was looked at like a crazy person when I first said it was the decision my husband and I made for our unborn child. I think a lot of people thought I wouldn't follow through or even really give it a shot. But we did- and we love it.

We made the decision because we didn't want to throw away money and it takes about 400 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. We were expecting but that didn't mean that our child had to suck every single penny we had into diapers, wipes, or unnecessary baby products. So we started researching. There are so many products out there to choose from it was just too overwhelming to research online. So we headed to two local stores here in Eugene Oregon, Fletchers for Children and Bambini's. There we were able to physically look at our options and figure out what would be the best fit for us and our lifestyle. I was going back to work after 3 months so I wanted it to be easy on the babysitter as well.

What we chose/What we use now:
We chose the pre-fold/diaper cover route. So I invested in 2 dozen Indian Cotton Pre-folds at $24 a dozen. My mother was a doll and bought me another dozen as a baby shower gift. These pre-folds should be washed and dried about 10 times in hot water and then dried in hot temperatures to get them to soften and absorb properly. I did this obviously in my "nesting" phases. The covers I bought were Thirsties Duo Wraps in size 1. I bought about 5 and my mother bought me one along with a size 2. The nice thing about the covers is that you can just keep buying them down the road if you want. We only used 5 for a long time. I didn't start buying the bigger sizes until it seemed like he was starting to outgrow his size 1's. These covers dry super fast (about 15 min in the dryer) so if one got too bad to reuse for the next diaper change you could just rinse it and throw it in the dryer. The Rumperoo's we use are a couple dollars more but I like the quality and durability a lot better than the Thirsties. For the next kiddo I think I'll add a lot more Rumperoo's to the mix.

How we washed them and how we wash now:
So because we exclusively breastfed for about 5 solid months the beauty of washing your diapers then is that there is no pre rinsing needed before you throw them in the washer. Just toss them in the washer and start your cycle. When you start feeding your little one solids then the joy of cleaning the poo from the diaper begins. We bought a diaper sprayer at one of the local shops for about $54.00. Again- we didn't have to buy it until we started feeding our little guy solids on top of the breast milk he was getting. It simply attaches to the waterline of the toilet and conveniently hangs off of the toilet bowl for easy access.

 It took me awhile to get the wash just right to avoid build up of yeast but so far this works for us best:

-Start a regular wash cycle on COLD without any detergent. This helps get the stains out.

-When that load is finished continue with a HOT setting (as hot as your washer will go) and run this cycle with about 1 Tablespoon of ALL Free and Clear Detergent. It's important to use a detergent with no dyes or perfumes. And don't use oxyclean, it does something really nasty to your diapers that repels water.

-When the hot cycle is over do a COLD rinse.

Finally you can transfer your prefolds to the dryer. Do not add a dryer sheet. This adds build up to the diapers and repels liquid. Dry them for 60 minutes on the hottest setting you have on your dryer. I leave the covers out of this process and hang dry them. I went through the whole drying process with some of them and I think that they leak now because of it :(

How we Store the Dirty Diapers and When we Wash them:
Lets face it. There is no "we". Unless you count the baby sitter- she changes him during the day and my husband does sometimes but I'm the one who does most of the washing and changing at hom. Husband said that he would change the diapers if I washed them- so a deal was made!

I have two Planet Wise wet bags. A large one (one of the largest) for pee diapers and one small one for poopy diapers. This way when I go to wash them I don't have to sort through which ones are yucky and need to be cleaned and which ones I can just throw in the wash.

When we're home I just take the diaper directly to a closed waste basket next to the toilet. If the diaper is soiled I just spray it there and toss it in the bucket right next to it. Easy-Peezy.

Because I work 40 hrs a week and I only have 3 dozen diapers I wash every other day to avoid a diaper shortage and a stinky house. It's easy when you get used to it. Trust me.

If your baby ever gets a rash:
This did happen to us. Twice. Both yeast. And I felt really bad, but it was easy to get rid of with some athletes foot cream and disposable diapers for a week.

Cloth diapers are limited to what we can use on rashes. Breast milk works really well and coconut oil works too. These tamed the rash when we had it but the only thing that zapped it was the cream.

We would strip our diapers when this happened and since the last time (March 2013) it hasn't come back. I would run a load of hot water with just plain dish soap. We use Seventh Generation at our house so that's what I used. I just put a small squirt in there and ran the hot cycle over and over and then ran the dryer on the longest hot cycle there was.

I love cloth diapering. And yes, it's had some of its challenges but I liked to think that I'm helping the Earth one diaper change at a time. And it's super addictive with all of the options and adorable prints out there! I've posted some links of helpful sites that I looked at when researching. It's all just finding what works for you and your family and going with it. I hope this inspires you to take the cloth diapering plunge!

Why wear pants when you can just wear your super cute diaper?!


*Update. We now use Branch Basics Concentrate soaps to wash our diapers. 1 Tb for the cold wash and 1 Tb for the Hot wash. You can purchase the soap here:

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  1. Would you mind sharing how Branch Basics is working for you?

    1. The soap worked really well! When I ran out though I went back to my normal detergents. I did learn that if you have hard water you should be incorporating a water softener like Borax to break up any build up. Which could have been my issue in the beginning. Now, with baby #2 we haven't had any rash issues and I bought a lot more pocket diapers. Lol. I can't help it, diapers are just too cute!


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