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On Cloth Diapers

August 1, 2011

Many thanks to my best friend Brandy for giving me something to blog about. She sent me this message last week…

“So, what kind of cloth diapers do you use? I am soooooo tired of buying diapers every other day…”

Yep, we use cloth diapers. Well, we did before Brock was diagnosed with ALL. Chemo is excreted in feces and urine and I don’t want to deal with all the safe-handling issues that go along with that.

Her 1 question led to a host of other questions and I figured I’d type up the response here in case anyone else was interested.

1. What kind do we use?

When I first started researching cloth diapers I was completely overwhelmed with all the different types that were out there. And without seeing them in person it’s a little hard to imagine that they’re like, and therefore hard to imagine which type would be best for you.

We finally settled on 2 different systems.

a) A prefold diaper fastened closed with a Snappi and covered with a Thirsties brand diaper cover. I tried several brands of diaper covers and I liked Thirsties the best because they fit well and were really trim underneath clothes.

This system tends to be the most economical. Prefolds are by far the cheapest type of diaper out there, even given the fact that you’ll have to buy several different sizes of them as the baby grows.


Brock at 5 days old in a newborn size prefold, fastened with a Snappi. Still needs a cover so it won’t leak.

b) BumGenius one size pocket diaper. This diaper has snaps to adjust the rise of the diaper, so theoretically they’ll fit a baby from the time they’re born until the time they potty train. They are a little bit bulky on a newborn and really fit better once the baby has hit 10 pounds or so. Brock weighs about 25 lbs and they still fit him great.


Brock at 7 weeks olds in a BumGenius

2. Are they smelly/how do you keep them from smelling up the house?

Believe it or not, cloth diapers really do stink LESS than disposable diapers. For one thing, you’re flushing any waste down the toilet instead of wrapping it up and throwing it in the trash can. Also, we wash cloth diapers every few days so there isn’t time for them to get stinky.

We store dirty diapers in a regular trash can with a liner like this one. As long as the lid is closed, there’s no smell!

Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner source

3. How many of the inserts would you recommend?

It really depends on which type of diaper system you want to use. We had about 2 dozen prefolds, 2 snappis, 6 thirsties covers, and 6 bumgenius diapers and that was enough to last us a few days. I should mention that with the prefold system, if the diaper is just wet, you change the prefold and reuse the cover. The only time I changed a cover was if the diaper leaked (which RARELY happened) and the cover became soiled. With the bumgenius you have to change the whole thing (the insert and the cover) every time.

4. Do you use a different detergent on them?

Yep. We used Purex Free and Clear. There is an excellent list here of which detergents are ok to use on cloth diapers and which aren’t. Most “regular” detergents aren’t ok.

5. Is there a special cream that needs to be used with the cloth diapers?

In general, diaper rash cream and cloth diapers don’t mix. The cream can affect the absorbency of the diaper. Brock hardly EVER had any problems with diaper rash in cloth diapers and if he did, I just switched to disposables for a few days until it cleared up.

6. Do you use Snappi’s? Do all of them need these even if they have velcro or is that what the Snappi’s are for? Or are the Snappi’s so that kids can’t get their diapers off?

Snappi’s are for keeping a prefold diaper on, but you’ll still need a cover with it so that it won’t leak everywhere. You can just lay a prefold in a cover and fastened it on without a snappi but you’re more likely to get leaks that way.

7. Are they any harder to wash once they start eating food, do you have to pre-rinse them, etc?

I don’t think they’re any harder to wash. My kids were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and breast milk poop is water-soluble so I would just toss the dirty diaper into the pail. I always did a pre-rinse with cold water before washing in hot water. Once they started eating solid food I would dump any waste in the toilet and then rinse the diaper with a diaper sprayer, if needed. But the washing routine stayed the same.

bumGenius Diaper Sprayersource

The only thing I can think of that she didn’t ask about was drying the diapers. We line dried them because they’ll last longer that way and because it takes a lot of energy to dry a load of diapers. They’re meant to be really absorbent so it takes a long time to dry them! I could dry them outside in the sun faster than I could dry them in the clothes dryer.

Hope that helps! Feel free to ask any other questions you have in the comments!

Linking up with Megan at Sorta Crunchy for Your Green Resources. http://www.sortacrunchy.net/sortacrunchy/2011/09/your-green-resource-week-one.html

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Alicia permalink
    August 1, 2011 1:43 pm

    My two-cents: I don’t own the sprayer, but I use flushable liners in my cloth diapers and it makes the clean-up super easy- they’re esp. great when I am away from home and have to change a poopy diaper.( http://www.diapers.com/p/Kushies-Flushable-Biodegradable-Diaper-Liners-1-Roll-6472)

  2. August 1, 2011 1:49 pm

    thanks alicia! i’ve never tried them but they look great!

  3. melissa permalink
    August 1, 2011 9:12 pm

    I use BG on A and the one thing I’ve discovered is that the fabric can irritate her. I cut up a birdseye cloth gerber diaper and used that as a liner (And then would put butt paste on her) and that would clear it up.

  4. Lizzy Ruffles permalink
    September 22, 2011 1:58 pm

    Great info – I’d also mention washable wipes, they really make so much sense if you’re using cloth nappies.

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