How to Swish a Diaper in the Toilet and Your Other Cloth Diapering Questions Answered
This post marks the end of our short, but hopefully helpful, series on dispelling some myths about why cloth diapering is actually easier than you think.
I asked you for your cloth diapering questions, and you really let me have it! I couldn’t answer every single question, but I tried my best to make sure that all of the various topics were addressed, so here goes nothing…
Q. So, my question is: what detergent do you use? Do you use this for all your laundry? I have been making my own detergent for a while and would like to continue doing so when we are doing cloth, but don’t want to hurt the integrity of the diapers.
A. I have two detergents that I use regularly. One is Country Save and the other is Biokleen Free & Clear Powder. I prefer Country Save for my diapers, and like Biokleen better for clothes, but I don’t usually bother buying two different detergents so I just use them both interchangeably on all of my laundry. They’re both quite cost effective (Country Save is cheapest) and I buy them in large boxes from Azure Standard, a natural foods co-op. Both brands are quite popular and if not carried by your local grocery store, you should easily be able to get them from any natural foods store or online (Amazon, Soap.com, etc.).
I think it’s very important to use detergents that are safe for your diapers. The very best resource that I know of in this regard is the Cloth Diaper Detergent Chart at Diaper Jungle. It lists every detergent imaginable, giving it a rating out of 4, an approximate cost-per-load, and any specific things to note about that particular detergent.
Q. Intrigued, but to be honest, still not sold on it. Why not?
- my weak stomach. Though the washable bag option helps that one.
- my limited time. For now, I’ll need to go back to work (teaching high school) a short 6 weeks after baby arrives. I’m not convinced I’d have the time. But this will be my firstborn, so maybe its because I’m unsure how ANY routines will go.
- the price up front.
A. I think you would definitely prefer the washable bag option. Another purchase to consider would be a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet to make even easier work of cleaning #2 diapers.
As for the time and price, considering that you will be working full time, why not consider partially using cloth diapers as a compromise? You wouldn’t need to purchase nearly as many (maybe start with more like 4-8 diapers). You could use disposables while baby is being cared for by someone else, or perhaps at night, and use disposables during afternoon/evenings and on the weekends when you’re home. This would keep the washing work much more minimal. It would still save you money and allow you to reduce your waste significantly as well.
Q. 3 kids and 5 years of cloth diapering and I’ve never felt it to be a hassle, just part of daily life. I do find they hit an age where I have to use a disposable over night, they just seem to leak out of the cloth diapers. What do you use to overnight your kids?
A. For overnight, I use pocket diapers with doubled up inserts. When I was using only one insert, I had leaking problems. So I began using two inserts (microfiber) and that was better, but not perfect. Then I switched to one hemp insert layered with one microfiber insert (I put the hemp as the bottom layer, because I find the microfiber softer), and this seems to be the best combination I have personally used and the one that gives them the least rashes.
I also had several other questions about leaking, especially at night, and for older babies who are heavy wetters. I’m sure other readers have some fantastic and different suggestions for this problem, so please share in the comments!
Q. I know that disposables are more expensive in the long run, but it’s a big expense up front to get the diapers and wipes for cloth. I guess I’m just worried that I’ll spend a couple hundred dollars and then discover that it doesn’t work out for us, or that I’ve picked the wrong kind of diaper. I wish I knew someone close by who did it. That might help me get up the courage to try it!
A. Here are a few of the answers from the comments on the original post, which I thought were very helpful:
Mom of 4: A lot of diaper stores let you do trials, which is an awesome way to test various diapers and see how convenient cloth really is.
Nola: Most places allow you to buy only a few diapers or a few different kinds. Eg. you could buy one prefold, cover and snappi, one pocket, one all in one, and one fitted (the cover from the prefold would work with this) or more than that if you want, and try it… and then if you didn’t want them, you could probably resell them since they’d hardly be used. You can just use a plastic bag or ziploc while out until you want to invest in a wet bag, and you can just use any garbage can with a lid for a diaper pail (and then reuse it later if you decide not to do cloth).
My thoughts: Another thing that might really help you is to read through the diaper reviews at The Diaper Pin. This is a fantastic site with really thorough reviews on practically every cloth diapering product out there, and the reviews are very honest, helpful ones from regular moms (who even tell you how long they’ve been cloth diapering). I have often used it while trying to make purchasing decisions.
Q. We are on the fence here. Want to go for it, but all my friends who have tried it have all complained about leaks, hard time finding the right detergent, sour smells, and limiting activities, later potty training, etc. What do you think about these issues.
A. My answers:
- Leaks: This is why I choose only excellent quality covers or pocket diapers. Don’t use cheap covers like Kushies or plastic pants. They leaked for me incessantly. Bummis or Motherease are much better and gave me very few leaks. Always check that every part of the diaper is properly tucked in and covered by the cover or tucked into the pocket’s outer layer (around the legs, by the tummy, above the bum, etc.). These are the key areas where leaks happen. And, change more frequently. The nice thing about cloth is that you’re not counting dollars down the drain each time you do a diaper change.
- Detergent: Use the link above to source out some good possible detergents. If you have hard or soft water, check out something more suited to your situation, like Rockin Green’s unique formulas.
- Smells: If you’ve found a good detergent and are washing properly, you shouldn’t have smell issues. To avoid this with diaper pails/bags, keep in your laundry room if you prefer (that’s where I keep mine). Use homemade air freshener to keep things fresher. If a particular diaper is super stinky, wash that next load sooner than later. Use a good wet bag to keep your diaper bag free of stink. Also, drying diapers out in the sun helps to keep the stink away, too!
- Limiting activities: I have never found that cloth diapering limited what I do, whether it’s going out, taking long drives, having sitters, etc. The only time we don’t use cloth is for long vacations when we will not be staying with family and that’s only once or twice a year at most.
- Potty Training: I have not found cloth diapering to make much of a different in potty training, either on the early or late side. My first trained early, my second late, my third will probably be average. I do know that many moms have attested to earlier training (as opposed to later). I honestly think it’s more about the particular child than about the type of diaper you use, but that’s just my opinion.
Q. We are currently in a rental and have limited access to a washer and dryer. Given that, I think we probably can’t do cloth diapering since it is so dependent on having easy access to a washer and dryer. I’d love to hear ideas to get around this since I do believe cloth is definitely better!!
A. It does definitely help to have easy access to a washer and dryer, but you may be able to compromise. One idea is to ask your landlords if you can split up your laundry days throughout the week. Our tenants wanted to cloth diaper, so we talked about it and I gave them additional access to the machines on Wednesdays (instead of only weekends as was our previous arrangement), so they could do diaper laundry twice a week.
If that isn’t a possibility, you could think about doing one mid-week trip to a laundromat. Yes, it’s a bit of cost, but if you only do half of your diapers this way it might not be that bad. Or, you could consider doing cloth only Wednesday-Saturday so that you can wash those diapers on the weekend when you have access (or adapt this to your particular situation), and use disposables or something like gDiapers the rest of the week.
Any other ideas from those with limited machine access?
Q. A lot of you are mentioning that with cloth there aren’t leaks…. It is true that I don’t have any poop blow outs with my cloth diapers (I use Fuzzi Bunz), but for some reason, my son often gets wet clothes when wearing cloth and I have to change his clothes. He is 4 months old. For this reason I use Disposables when I am out. Does anyone have any tips on keeping your baby’s clothes dry when using a Fuzzi Bunz cloth diaper. Am I doing the snaps too tight?
A. You might just be changing less often when you’re out (this is easy to do- I often catch myself going longer between changes just because I’m otherwise occupied while I’m out). Or you might want to try using double inserts for outings or long car rides. Especially when they’re very young and exclusively breastfed, they pee so frequently that you probably need to be changing a solid 6-8 or more times per day. And some kids are simply heavier wetters than others and need more frequent changes.
You should also double check that the inner part of the diaper is tucked properly inside the outer cover in all of the main “leaky” areas: around the legs, by the tummy, above the bum. All the places where the insides of the diaper can creep above the outside cover and the wetness can wick onto the fabric of their clothing. Double check that you have a snug fit in those areas and that no cloth (only cover) is touching his clothes.
Lastly, every once in a while diapers begin to repel a bit and start leaking. This doesn’t happen often (unless, of course, you are using a detergent that just isn’t working with your diapers), but if it starts to happen frequently, it might be worth stripping your diapers and see if that helps.
Q. I have some FuzziBunz that I used with my youngest during potting training. If I had used them when mine were infants, how would I handle a poopy diaper? I could replace the insert but there is still poop on the inside of the diaper. I don’t understand how the inserts are more helpful seeing as most infant diapers are poopy. I would really like some insight into the actual steps in dealing with wet or poopy diapers. Do you toss the whole wet bag in to the laundry open or zipped up?
A. When babies are small, you just toss the poopy diaper straight into the pail and then wash. No rinsing needed at all. You only need to start dumping poop or rinsing diapers once you get to solid poops.
But, you won’t be able to pull out and replace only the insert. Generally, that is only for diapers like Flip or GrowVia. With a diaper like a FuzziBunz pocket, you’ll have to wash the whole thing each time.
Also, for those using diapers with inserts, there is no need to actually remove the insert from the diaper before laundering. I previously thought that I had to and so I would sit there shaking them out, needlessly. Now I just toss the diaper, insert and all, straight in the pail and then in the wash.
If you’re using a wet bag, you will want to unzip it and dump it’s contents into the wash, so that the diapers can freely move around, otherwise the inserts won’t come out and the diapers won’t get clean enough.
Q. One thing I wonder though is washing the soiled diapers along with other clothes… how many fecal particles are getting on the other clothes or in the washer? I think I read somewhere to clean your washer once a month by pouring a cup of bleach in and washing an empty load. This will help sanitize it. What are your thoughts on this?
A. I personally don’t worry about fecal particles. I always dump solid poo in the toilet, and give less “solid” ones a good swish to get most of the yuckies off before washing.
Since I always do a rinse cycle first, I would say that the majority of fecal matter rinses away before I even do my hot wash. With the second, full, hot cycle, anything remaining is rinsed away and sanitized because of the hot water and the detergent that I use in this cycle. I don’t notice anything dirty left in the machine after this second cycle and it smells fresh as well.
If it really bothered you, I think it’s reasonable to consider doing an empty cycle once a month, perhaps with a more natural bleach product or something like Biokleen’s BacOut, to give the washer a really good clean and set your mind at ease.
Image by niftysmith
Q. I think your numbers are very conservative for disposables costs — but HIGH on the cloth side. (i.e. further proving your point) — showing that even with the most luxurious cloth diapers, you are still saving money! I’ve gotten most of my diapers as gifts (baby shower) or homemade (from flannel receiving blankets) or second-hand (passed on to me, as my original cloth diapers from 8 years ago are all worn out now). Sure, they aren’t as fancy/convenient, but it has meant very, very little out-of-pocket! 🙂
A. I agree, my numbers are exactly as you said– conservative for disposables, and high for cloth. I actually did that on purpose. I didn’t want to have a bunch of people telling me that disposables cost less than what I had calculated (even though I know that many people spend more than the numbers I used and there are still some super-shoppers who spend even less).
I also wanted to show how, even with higher cloth diapers numbers than is necessary (because yes, you can do it so much cheaper than the numbers that I quoted!), the cloth STILL wins out as cheaper. Does that make sense? I wanted to make it a worst case scenario and have the cloth still be the obvious winner!
Q. OK, I’m going to ask my question. When you say you swirl the diaper in the toilet and then drop it into the pail, do you drag the pail into the bathroom with you, do you have an extra pail in the bathroom, or do you bring it back to the changing area and drop it in the pail (and if so, how do you keep it from dripping all the way back)?
A. Basically, yes, I drag the pail into the bathroom (I keep it in my very nearby laundry room, but I know others who keep it right in the bathroom). I lift the pail up right next to the toilet so there’s no leaking.
And now, allow me to demonstrate (yes, really– blogging is a shameless job, you know!):
Q. Do you really end up with a pail full of wet cloth waiting for a whole load? Or do you let them sit for a while before washing them out?
A. I really do end up with a pail full (usually) of cloth diapers by the time I wash them. Sometimes, it won’t be quite full but I will wash anyways because I don’t like to go longer than 3 days.
Now, it’s not really a “full” load in the sense that a load of clothes would be. I usually only only a small load setting or at most, a medium setting. Never the large setting that I use for clothes, towels, etc.
Image from Leslie’s Boutique (they make gorgeous wet bags!)
Q. But I have some fears and questions. How does the wet bag hold in the smell? What fabric is it made of that can do that? I’ve heard that even diaper pails with plastic bags can get smelly. My worst fear is having a house that smells like poo and not even knowing it. (I want my friends to love visiting!)
A. Wet bags are made of PUL, a water-resistant fabric. They usually have at least two layers, so the stink has to travel farther to get out and it can’t leak out. They are not perfectly stink-proof (nothing is), but I find that it stinks less than a pail (but, I still use the cheap pail I bought 6 years ago, because the “green” girl in me just won’t let me get rid of it!).
My main solutions to diaper pail/bag stink are:
- Go no more than 3 days between washes (and with a wet bag, you will always just toss this in and wash it at the same time)
- Use a dry pail, rather than soaking diapers in water.
- Keep it somewhere other than a frequently-used room (mine is in my laundry room)
- When it does start to smell a bit (usually, though, the smell is a direct result of opening it to toss a diaper in, not from the smell just naturally seeping out), use a simple homemade air freshener. I keep a bottle in my downstairs bathroom, which is where I swish my diapers and close enough to my laundry room that I can use it in there when needed. I will spray both inside the diaper pail and in the air around it.
Real Moms Talk Diapers
I had been hoping to share with you some of the reasons why other moms choose to cloth diaper, and also some of their best tips for diapering… but, this post had so many great questions to be answered that it is already long enough!
You can read all 79 of them on the Keeper of the Home Facebook page (this is a direct link to the answers). There are so many excellent answers and helpful thoughts in there.
Your Turn to Weigh In
I’ve done a lot of talking just now, but I know that there are so many knowledgable and experienced cloth diapering moms out there, who can help to answer some of these great questions.
I have a bit of insight to offer the mom who lives in a rental and is contemplating washing cloth diapers. We live in an apartment building with a large laundry room, and we cloth diaper part-time (evenings and weekends). We both work full-time, me with a very long commute, and we simply cannot do laundry during the week. We tried out only washing the diapers once a week, and it actually works fine! This is not something I readily admit to others because they get repulsed :), but truthfully our diaper pail of disposables gets far more stinky than the cloth diaper pail ever does (and it’s smaller and gets taken out far more often!). We leave the cloth pail open so the air can circulate, and we sprinkle baking soda liberally over each diaper and each insert as we drop them in. I encourage you to give it a try – you may just find it will work well for you!
About detergents – I don’t use any detergent with my diapers! I quit when my daughter started with a rash that I finally traced to the detergent, and I have no problems with stained or smelly diapers. With a cold rinse first and then hot wash, I feel they get clean. I realize different types of water may affect efficiency, though.
I’m intrigued by the fact that you don’t use detergent. You think they really get clean?
@Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker, I do use detergent. I do a rinse cycle with no detergent, and then a hot wash cycle with a half scoop of detergent. Most cloth diaper users use less than the full detergent amount, because too much can create build-up on the diapers. But if I didn’t use anything, then no, I don’t think they would be clean.
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Thanks, Stephanie! I do the same as you (although I use a full scoop of Country Save because of my water and washer type), but Karen said she didn’t use detergent? I would be afraid my diapers wouldn’t get clean?
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, I live in Europe, and I think the washers here are more efficient – other clothing seems to get cleaner than with my washer in America. I figured that if they consistently smell good, they are clean, but I could be wrong.
I had another idea for the renter – I live in an apartment with a laundry room, but when we first moved here three years ago, we purchased a miniature washer that hooks up to the kitchen sink. It is a bit of an upfront cost – I think we purchased ours for around $175 or $200, but since I do a lot of laundry (I use it for all our laundry – and with three kids we have a lot of it!), and the apartment washer costs $1.25 a load, the cost evened out for us after less than a year of use. I line-dryed our laundry for a long time in our apartment (with a rack and a clothesline hung in our bedroom), but I do use the dryers downstairs now. The machine is small (it takes about three loads to equal a large washer load), but the money we save over using the apartment washers, and the convenience of having a washer whenever we need it makes it more than worth it!
We wash diapers every morning. In fact, after the laundry is done for the day (usually around 10:00 a.m.), I use the washing machine as my diaper pail. In the morning, I add a tiny squirt of Dawn detergent; turn the machine down to the small load setting; and wash. Then I turn it back up to large load setting and add more clothes. The dipaers get washed twice that way, and we never run out of clean diapers. Since we have six kids, there is always laundry to wash. However, if I can’t do laundry for some reason, I just run the diapers through that first wash and they sit until I can get to them.
My favorite routine right now is rinsing on cold and then soaking on hot overnight (usually with some pure oxygen and detergent) and finishing the hot wash in the morning, followed by a warm wash w/ no detergent and cold rinse. My diapers come out SO clean this way!
Stephanie, this is wonderful!! I’ve commented on here a lot – I really love cloth diapering! It’s almost a hobby! Sad! But really, I LOVE it!
I do have a question for a fellow cloth diapering momma. What do you do when your child gets terrible diaper rash? My baby has awful diaper rash at the moment. I think it might be from something I ate… garlic, perhaps? (I swallowed it like a pill… a few cloves over the past couple days. Trying to cure a cold.) Either way, she woke up last night with bleeding blisters!! 🙁 It made me so sad! I’m wondering what you do. Right now I have her in a disposable because I wasn’t sure what else to do. I have used liners before – just cut up a blanket and used cloth strips as the liners. I can do that but I still worry about damaging the diaper. What do you recommend? Thanks!
@Ashleigh, try a cloth diaper rash cream (one that is safe for using on cloth diapers). You can buy them online at many cloth diapering stores. If its really really bad sometimes you do have to use a disposable or two to get it a bit more under control first. I also sometimes lay microfleece into the diaper to keep the baby drier. You can do the liner thing with a non safe cream but in my experience its always gotten onto the diaper somehow.
@Nola, Thanks! I have a couple CD creams, but they just don’t work as well as the others, not that I’ve found anyway. Thanks for the microfleece suggestion. Hopefully that’ll help!
My FAVORITE cloth-safe cream is CJ’s Butter: http://www.cjsuniqueboutique.com/?cat=5 It is AMAZING and smells SOOOOO good!
Have you thought that maybe your LO has a yeast rash? My DD dealt with one for 5 months. 🙁 I JUST guest posted on yeast rashes for Jack Be Natural. I hope this is helpful (but i hope it ISN’T yeast!): http://jackschangingtable.com/2011/07/22/cloth-diaper-challenge-4-yeast/
@Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker, Thanks! I found your post helpful. I hadn’t thought about it until you said that. If she had a yeast rash, would it go away? Or would it continue to stick around? She’s had diaper rash in the past, but this one is terrible. She had another bad one, like this, about two months ago. But it went away. Since then, she has gotten a couple diaper rashes but both very small and minor. I haven’t worried about them. If she had a yeast rash, it would be big and blotchy and not go away right?
@Ashleigh, I will direct you to a couple of posts written by one of the writers here, Sherrie. She is a cloth diaper expert, and wrote two posts on healing rashes:
A few of my own thoughts are that I try to change diapers much more frequently when we get really bad rashes. I use a good, thick diaper cream and I have a natural, arrowroot based baby powder that I add as well for extra dryness. I also try to let them “air-dry” a bit, too, as that helps with faster healing.
We do occasionally succumb to a few disposables, particularly for nighttime as that seems to be the time that the rash gets most aggravated. I don’t like doing it, so I try other options first, but when I simply can’t seem to heal the rash otherwise (and I have plenty of experience with this- my kids seem to be very sensitive to rashes) then a couple nights in a disposable will usually make a big difference.
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Thanks Stephanie! I’ve been using disposables some just so that I can use Desitin or A+D ointment. What are your thoughts on me using those? I know they aren’t natural but I feel like I’m at a loss!!
I’ve been letting her hang out diaper-less for a bit between changes.
I have also put a microfiber liner between her bottom and the diaper to help keep her bottom drier. And I’m changing her more often.
I’ve also tried using some yogurt on her bottom… am I crazy? I just figured if it’s yeast, maybe that would help… ??
What is the arrowroot powder you use? Where do you get it?
Thanks so much!!!
@Ashleigh, I personally try to stick to the more natural diaper creams. I like Weleda, Burt’s Bees, and am currently in love with the Baby Bird one from Graham Gardens (a small online store, all very pure ingredients).
I don’t think using yogurt for a yeast-related rash is crazy. I’ve done it before. I have also opened and sprinkled probiotic capsules straight onto a thin layer of diaper cream (to make it stick), which helped a lot.
The powder I use is also from Graham Gardens. It’s their baby powder and I believe it is arrowroot based.
@Ashleigh, Thanks Stephanie! I use California Baby and another one from an online boutique as well. I just haven’t felt they’ve been working as well. But the good news is that the yogurt has been helping, which makes me think maybe it was a yeast rash. Or maybe it’s just running its course. Hard to say. Thanks Stephanie for all your help!!
My little girl has had the same thing happen a couple of times. We have used cloth from the very beginning so I was hesitant to use disposables or cream. What worked for us was to rinse her with plain warm water a couple of times a day and also let her scoot around naked. She loved it and the rash went away. Now we let her play diaper free a little bit everyday and she is still rash free.
@Jennifer, Thank you! You inspired me to give her more naked time! And of course, she did pee on the floor. But such is life. If it helps her rash heal, then it’s worth it!
@Ashleigh, I definitely second the air time! With no creams on it while airing. Sometimes I do that at night as well which is better for trying to prevent puddles on floors. 🙂 I Just leave my boy naked (make sure it’s warm enough) and put down a waterproof bed mat then something soft over that and let him sleep like that. I do co-sleep though, not sure if it would work as well if you don’t but I don’t see why not!
I also use coconut oil sometimes as well for diaper rashes and that is safe for cloth diapers. 🙂
@Ashleigh, My middle daughter really struggled with diaper rashes. Here are a few things that really worked, baking soda baths and probiotics. I pulled out our little tub, and put some baking soda in with warm water a few times a day. Then I mix some of our baby probiotic (http://www.amazon.com/BabyLife-Bifidobacterium-Billion-Potency-Powder/dp/B00020I16S/ref=sr_1_17?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1311904125&sr=1-17) with warm water to make a paste; put that on the rash, then put on some kind of zinc oxide and then petroleum jelly. The two creams create a barrier, and that helps heal the rash. I would do this at least 4 times a day. Now I would use disposable diapers for a few days, you want your sweet baby feeling better as soon as possible
Thank you so much for posting a video of your toilet swish! I was having a hard time picturing it, but that is so easy! I’ve been going back and forth on cloth diapering (We’re trying, but not pregnant yet. Cross your fingers!), but was still unsure. I have a friend who swears by it and one who does completely disposable. I see the benefits of each, but I’d really rather go with cloth (especially since I’m allergic to just about everything). I really, really appreciate you taking the time to expand on this. It makes it so much easier for those of us who aren’t experienced mom’s yet.
@Chelsea, So glad it was helpful and hoping you’ll get to try out cloth on your own baby soon! 🙂
I am expecting my first child at Christmas. We want to cloth diaper. But we want to start our cloth diapering collection keeping in mind that we want a lot of children and we want them to last as long as possible. Do you have any specific suggestions for cloth diapering multiple children? Is there a particular type or brand that lasts longest? Do you suggest buying more to start out with? Is there anything that as a new parent I wouldn’t think of with regards to planning on future cloth diaper use?
@Erin, Personally, I love one-size pockets for diapering multiple kids. For one reason, because they last well and one set will go through all sizes of kids. The second reason is that because they do all sizes, if you end up with two in diapers at once (as I did with my last baby), you can just grab the same diaper and know that you can use it on either the baby or the toddler! So convenient!
Personally, I love FuzziBunz one-size, but that’s just my preference. If you want to go with a fitted and cover system, then I really like Bummis and Motherease. Both make excellent diapers and covers (their covers are such workhorses- they are high quality and don’t leak).
I would actually start out with less at first, to get a feel for whether you really like what you’ve purchase before you go and completely stock up. Know that you’re happy with it, that it works for you, and then buy enough to have a full set.
My other personal suggestion is that I think if you want the diapers to go the distance, if you’re looking at something like pockets, snaps last longer than velcro. I know some moms love velcro (and I do agree that they give a great fit) but I find the velcro wears out and needs to be replaced, whereas the snaps just keep going and going.
This is fantastic work Stephanie! Wow. I simply had to watch the diaper swishing, LOL. Looks the same as how I do it. 🙂
For the night time issue as I commented to the reader before I use double diapering which has always worked for me. One regular toddler prefold with an infant prefold folded in thirds inside that, topped with some microfleece liners (and a wipe or two if a really heavy wetter) plus a cover one size up from our day time size (so I use Bummis Large Super whisper wraps). Yes the child looks a bit more “padded” bottom wise but it has always worked well for us.
I recommend the wet bags that have more than one layer. I can’t use my bags that are just one layer PUL once the solid poops come unless I double bag them in a plastic bag. They stink up my diaper bag otherwise. I’ve been told like you said this wouldn’t be an issue with the double lined ones. I’m hoping for a wet bag with more than one layer and its on my wish list for our 3rd baby.
For the smell issue in the home- not an issue except when opening and closing the pail. Or if I accidentally don’t close it right. I simply keep a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle (your idea is even better since it wouldn’t smell vinegary) and sometimes spray around the change table and always spray the toliet when done swishing out a diaper. Smell is gone in a few seconds and the vinegar smell in a few more.
One caution that came up is that with some diapers, especially if not washing as frequently, need a FULL load since that is how they get clean. They need enough room to really swish around in there and get clean. Someone told me once its like if you loaded up 10 people in a bathtub, no one would really be able to scrub well. LOL I have to use a full load on my washer to wash every 3rd day. I tried less and I had smell issues.
@Nola, Interesting about the full load and reducing smells. I’ve never thought about that and whether it makes a difference. Mine are usually decent sized “small” loads, even when basically all of my diapers are dirty (I only have about 15). When I get smell, I just end up giving them a good soak and stripping if necessary.
And I agree about double diapering for nighttime. That’s basically what I am doing, except I use pockets. But when I used fitted and covers, I also double diapered and it worked fine for me, too!
Love the video! lol I just started using cloth diapers when I had my daughter in June, so we haven’t had to start “swishing” yet. I will definitely keep your method in mind and will probably move our diaper pail to the bathroom when the time comes. Thanks for this series! It has been very informative! 🙂
@Jenni, Glad you liked the swishing!
And just so you know, I don’t keep the pail in the bathroom. I actually keep it in the laundry room, which is about 10 feet from that bathroom, so it’s super easy to just grab it, swish and dump, then return it to the laundry room.
I absolutely love that you made a video to show the swishing. When I first started cloth diapering and got my first poopy diaper, I realized I had no clue what to do with it, even after all the reading I had done! I ended up figuring it out and doing as you do, but it would have been nice for someone to show me first so I didn’t get that clueless feeling. 🙂
Thanks for this series! I have sent links to it to some of my semi-interested friends.
LOVED this post (b/c I love your blog AND cloth diapers!) 🙂 Several comments:
1. I use Country Save on my diapers, too. Love it! I use Sun Free on my other laundry. I get it super cheap at Big Lots and it’s plant based. Along with Diaper Jungle, I’ve found this diaper detergent chart helpful: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoices.htm
Also, this is an amazing tool from the Real Diaper Association: http://detergent.realdiaperindustry.org/
You can enter in a detergent’s name (or ingredients you don’t mind), and it will tell you what potentially harmful ingredients it may have.
2. I use the Fuzzi Bunz hanging wet pail instead of a regular dry pail because of very limited space in my house/laundry room. It unzips at the bottom, so you don’t have to touch any diapers while loading them into the wash! http://www.amazon.com/Fuzzibunz-Hanging-Diaper-Storage-Laundry/dp/B002OL1TBW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311624341&sr=8-1
3. I have a diaper sprayer, but after 2 weeks on the road with cloth diapers, I think I prefer my Imse Vimse flushable liners for poop (I had them before but didn’t use them as much). They are especially helpful for the peanut-butter-like transitional poop when baby is going from breast to solids: http://www.jackbenatural.com/products/Imse-Vimse-Flushable-Liners-%28100-count%2C-toddler%29.html
4. I RARELY ever have overnight leaks! I prefer my overnight cloth diapers to disposables for night! I have two overnight solutions:
Kawaii Heavy Wetters, double stuffed w/ a bamboo doubler: http://www.jackbenatural.com/products/KaWaii-Baby-Goodnight-Heavy-Wetter-One%252dSize-Pocket.html
Kawaii Mom Label Bamboo (my FAVORITE diaper ever!), double stuffed and *sometimes* triple stuffed if she drinks right before bed: http://www.jackbenatural.com/products/KaWaii-Green-Baby-Bamboo-Diaper-%28Mom-Label%29-.html
5. RG, I think cloth diapering is like breastfeeding. You need support. There are many online diapering communities that can help. Check out DiaperSwappers for one.
6. If you have stink issues, double check your wash routine: http://jackschangingtable.com/2011/06/27/cloth-diaper-challenge-2-the-wash-routine/
7. Here’s a post I wrote on stripping diapers (help rid stinkies and leaks): http://jackschangingtable.com/2011/07/04/cloth-diaper-challenge-3-stripping-your-diapers/
8. If you are low income and concerned about the start-up costs, check out the Cloth Diaper Foundation: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Cloth-Diaper-Foundation/227280050622282 or Giving Diapers, Giving Hope: http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/ My family received a CDF loan.
And a question:
Stephanie, so you really don’t unstuff ANY pocket diapers and the inserts come out in the wash?! I thought you could only do this with sleeve diapers? I need to try this!! 🙂
@Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker, I really don’t unstuff them. I initially did, for over a year. Then I found out that a friend of mine doesn’t, so I decided to just try it. Every once in a while, I have one that doesn’t come unstuffed in the wash, so I just separate it before drying it and if it’s still dirty I rewash it. But generally, they all come apart and get clean. I love it!
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, This is SOOOO good to know! Unstuffing is the *worst* part (but really isn’t that bad!). I have a few “sleeve” diapers that I was told I’d never have to unstuff, but I’ve never tried not unstuffing my pockets! Looks like I have something to make my routine better! Thanks!! 🙂
Dear Mammas of Precious Babies,
My own babies have long since turned into rowdy, rambunctious, long-legged boys. I never heard of cloth diapers while they still wore them. We spent, on average, $.25 per disposable diaper. If we had taken that money and set it aside into a college fund and allowed it to grow, we’d have a healthy start on the oh-so-high college expenses. Just the first year alone cost us at least $456 (assuming only a conservative 5 diapers a day). Multiply that by the 9 years we had diapers in our house, we spent over $4,000 on diapers! Surely you can purchase all the diapers you need for less than that!
I’ve let go of that regret. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. But would you please consider the advice of an older “sister”? Please, give them a try.
Completely agree w/ Milly B. I’ve been cloth diapering for almost 5 years now and because I had a sprayer on my toilet, I didn’t have a clue how to “swish” a diaper without making a MESS. We recently moved and I was doing disposables because I didn’t have a sprayer. My boys are in cloth as we speak thanks to the video 🙂
This comment is in reply to Autumn who mentioned on Facebook that she couldn’t afford the initial cost of cloth diapers. I use the old-school, cheap method of prefolds and plastic pants – and I’m very happy with them. I use Gerber “premium” (NOT guaze or birdseye) 6-ply prefolds, and they work great! I had purchased mine a few years ago at Target in 12 packs for $17. I got 3 dozen, but 2 dozen would probably last 2-3 days. I also use Gerber plastic pants which are around $4 for a pack of 3 (you’d want at least 6). I also now have some homemade PUL diaper covers which cost me about the same as the Gerber ones. It isn’t fancy, but this makes for a very small upfront cost, and I love them! The 6-ply premium diapers are very absorbant; I have very few leaks, and they fit newborn through toddler (I just fold them down as needed for a smaller baby). No need for lots of diapers in each size (you do have to buy different sizes of plastic pants – but I have gotten away with just three sizes of those). My diapers are now on my third child – and still going strong! My large size plastic pants only made it through one child, but replacing those is very inexpensive. I honestly like my prefolds so much that I have no desire to buy fancier diapers. I encourage you to try these out if you need an inexpensive option!
@Annaleah Riley, Correction: The fabric my diapers are made of is a guaze fabric, but it is tightly woven. Here’s a link:http://www.gerberchildrenswear.com/Products/tabid/118/CategoryID/182/List/1/catpagesize/0/Level/a/ProductID/407/Default.aspx
This is in regards to limited laundry use. Over 400 people participated in a Flats/Handwashing challenge where they used only flats and covers and had to wash the diapers by hand to see if people without washers could cloth diaper. Info and results can be found through this link. http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/take-the-flats-and-handwashing-challenge-may-23-30/ Also, dirtydiaperlaundry.com is a really good cloth diapering resource. 🙂
Hi Stephanie, these answer all my question, myth, and facts about cloth diapers. I never use a cloth diaper on my first born because I am afraid to use a cloth diaper, and I thought before that it is more expensive and can only cause more leaking and wet bed. Now that I’m an expectant mother again. I’m thinking of using a cloth diaper, and I will definitely be following all your tips and advises regarding cloth diaper. I know I need a lot of reading regarding this. Thank you for sharing this post and sharing all those wonderful links!
I have used the bumGenius one size diapers with the inserts for the past 11 months with my son. I have always removed the inserts to wash them, because that is what was recommended by the company I bought them from. But I would LOVE it if I could skip this step in my washing routine! But since you don’t remove the inserts, how long does it take them to dry? When I hang dry my diapers without the inserts in them they are dry in about an hour. I know that it would obviously take longer than this, but it seems like it would take forever (especially with my nighttime diapers that have two inserts in them!)
@Mindy @ The Purposed Heart, The great thing is that they come out themselves in the wash! I thought they needed to be pulled out by hand, but the water and movement of the washer seems to just naturally separate them, so by the time the wash is done, everything’s separated and easy to dry.
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Okay, that makes sense! I’m definitely going to start doing this! Pulling out the inserts for the wash is my least favorite part of CD – but no longer! 🙂 Thanks so much for the tip!
We do our cloth diaper laundry at the laundromat. We go twice a week. Once we got into the rountine, it was quite easy. We make sure to shake off poop in the toilet, spray with BacOut and put into the large wet bag we have. I find liberally shaking baking soda into the bag really helps with any smell (and we have a small house, so this is critical!). We also add Borax and sometimes vinegar to the wash, and just bought some grapefruit essential oil which I’m eager to try. Just wanted to pipe in as someone who does CD laundry at a laundromat and for whom it’s no big deal! You can do it.
for the first few months of our cloth diapering, we lived in an apartment. laundry was convenient (just down stairs) but expensive, since you had to do multiple washings for each load. one way we saved money was by always hang drying the diapers (rather than pay even more for the dryer). fortunately, it was summer, so the diapers dried pretty quickly in the sun on our balcony. i never did the math to find out for sure, but i think we still saved money overall with this method (as opposed to disposables).
I don’t see the video. Am I missing it?
@Katie@Gluten-Free Food Storage, I see it now, thanks.
Thanks everyone for the tips and ideas for doing cloth diapering in a rental situation!
Just wanted to comment on 2 things. There was a lady who is finding it hard to cloth diaper at night. The best combination of inserts at night is a bamboo doubler with a hemp booster underneath. Microfibre inserts are not good at night time because they compress & leak very easily.
To the lady with the fuzzi bunz that wick during the day – it sounds to me like the inserts are getting compressed & leaking. Are babies clothes too tight over the diaper? I would suggest moving up to the next size clothes for whatever he is wearing over the diaper & see if that helps. Baby clothes are not made to go over bulkier cloth diapers so most babies would need the next size up.
I just wanted to say to everyone who talks about the upfront price of diapers that I found a nice lady from china who owns a company called sunbaby diapers. They are really nice pocket diapers is cute patterns and colors and they only cost about 5 a dipe when u order 12 and they come with inserts too and free shipping. Diaper swappers is also a great site for buying used diapers if u hav the time to look at hundreds of posts to find what u are looking for.
I’m using soap nuts which got pretty great ratings on the the diaper jungle chart but I’m having horrible leaking problems. I’ve checked the fit and the diapers just seem to be repelling the moisture.
@Molly S, I remember that Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking said the same thing happened to her. At first, they seemed to work great, but ultimately she had issues with her diapers becoming less water proof.
We use a garbage can with a removable inner canister and the kind of lid that opens when you step on the tab at the bottom. We fill about half full with water and a bit of baking soda, and never have problems with smell as long as we wash the load when it’s full. We keep it in the bathroom (right around the corner from the change table) so it’s really easy to dump solids in the toilet (I don’t rinse them in the toilet though) and toss it in the can. When the pail is full, lift out the inner canister and dump all the contents into the washer. We use homemade cloth wipes and dump those in the same pail, though sometimes we use a separate, smaller pail for the wipes if we’re going through a disposable diaper phase; then we don’t need the full sized pail for just the wipes.
Works great for us!
Thank you so much for this series! I am 30 weeks pregnant and wanting to do cloth diapering. Your articles gave me some great information. They were very helpful!
how does one deal with the cloth wipes? I tried cloth diapers for a little while but never felt like I had that figured out. When I use disposables, I tend to fold the wipe over (in order to use less wipes) and they tend to get crumpled up. I also use a lot of wipes and they all get put inside the dirty diaper as I use them up- and it doesn’t matter because it goes straight in the trash. When I have a cloth diaper that needs to be sprayed, where am I supposed to put the wipes?? Do I have to then take them all back out of the diaper before I can spray it into the toilet? Or what? (Very messy business, just like unstuffing soiled diapers…) And what about all the solids (sometimes large amounts) that are on the wipes?