Friday, September 2, 2011

My Thoughts on Cloth Diapers - Part I

I have decided to use cloth diapers for the new baby as soon as I can physically reach down into the washing machine to do diaper laundry.  With that in mind, I bought some used diapers around a month ago because I don't have much of a newborn stash.  I picked up a nice stack of prefolds because it seems to me that those are the most economical option for diapering a newborn.  How much did I spend?  A little less than $1 for each diaper.  SCORE!

Why buy pre-owned?  The obvious answer is that it is far less expensive to build a stash of cloth around pre-owned diapers and covers than buying new and paying full retail.  This is particularly true if you're buying premium brands.  The less obvious answer is that these diapers and/or covers have been used and the owner can give their input on how well they performed and any issues they noticed.

Did you just get creeped out at the notion of putting pre-owned diapers on a baby?  Yeah, I used to be that way too.  The fact of the matter is that diapers are just like any other article of baby clothing and they can absolutely be sanitized so you shouldn't be too skeeved out by pre-owned diapers if you're willing to accept hand-me-down baby clothes.

There are many informative sites about cloth diapers and this is a good one to get you started exploring options.  Here are some of my thoughts on cloth diapers:

- Do not buy an entire stash of one style or of one brand.  I made this mistake and it can be a costly one!  You never know what style diaper you'll like or what ones will work best for your little one.  Styles of diaper include:  Flats, Prefolds, All-in-Ones (AIOs), All-in-Twos (AI2s), Pockets - one size and sized, and Fitteds. 

- Flats, Prefolds, and Fitteds all require a cover and there are a ton of options for covers too.  You can use the old-fashioned pull on style of plastic pants, but I can't figure out why anyone would do that then they could use a cover that fastens with snaps or velcro and that has elasticized gussets at the legs to keep things nice & tidy. 

- I started off loving pocket diapers and AIOs, but my favorite styles changed over time and I ended up preferring fitteds with covers.  Keep your diapers in great condition so you can sell them later to buy other diapers that you like better.  Of course, you can always save them for any future children you may have too.

- As much as I used to love them, I hate pockets now.  There's nothing wrong with them and they worked perfectly fine, but I absolutely detest stuffing the pocket because it feels like I'm doing far more work while folding laundry.

- AIOs are the most user friendly diaper and they are basically a cloth diaper that work just like a disposable.  I found that they take FOREVER to dry and I'd be reluctant to build an entire stash around AIOs just for that reason alone, but they are really nice to have for babysitters and other caregivers because they are foolproof.

- Though I initially loved them, I ended up disliking hook & loop fasteners.  It's not that they don't work, it's that I hated picking linty stuff out of it after washing and the tabs often ended up curling up on the edges after repeated use.  However, I think hook & look is definitely is the most user-friendly fastener and it has the shortest learning curve so it's nice to have some diapers and/or covers that fasten in this way instead of with snaps.

- I was intimidated by snap fasteners on diapers and covers in the beginning, but these are definitely my preferred fasteners because they seem more durable than hook & loop and it was harder for my lil' guy to take them off and go streaking.

- A lot of people seem to think that diapers are a stained and disgusting looking mess after being used.  My diapers aren't stained and I couldn't bear to put stained dipes on my son.  Yes, I will buy pre-owned diapers, but I'm not okay with stains inside the dipe.  I truly believe that every diaper should have a dark or printed inside so that stains aren't as likely to show, but most of my diapers have white insides so I had to learn to keep staining from happening.

- The sun and a little bit of Soilove (from the 99cent Store) kept my diapers looking like new by removing any stains.  I'd squirt a little Soilove on the diaper prior to washing and then put the diaper in the sun to dry and I credit this technique (as well as an every other day wash routine) with keeping my diapers looking like new.

- I would never attempt to cloth diaper a baby if I didn't have a diaper sprayer because I'm way to squeamish to do a dunk & swish in the toilet to remove solids.  As a bonus, the diaper sprayer functions as a handheld bidet after toileting if you're so inclined to use it as such.

- I mentioned this earlier, but I didn't keep days upon days of stinky diapers sitting in the house because I think that's gross and I frequently do laundry anyway.  After doing a quick rinse with the diaper sprayer to remove any solids, I tossed the dirty dipe in a locking wastebasket until laundry day.  I never went more than three days before doing diaper laundry and never really had any staining or stinky problems with the cloth diapers.

- I fell in love with Bac-Out by Biokleen because is has such a remarkably pleasant lime scent and I'd spray it on dirty diapers before tossing the dipes in the locking wastebasket.  This way I wouldn't get knocked off my feet by the stinkies when I'd lift the lid to toss in the next dirty diaper.

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I have plenty more to say about cloth diapers and expect that this will end up becoming at least a 3-part series.  If you've cloth diapered, please feel free to chime in and share any of your experiences & advice.  If you're thinking of cloth diapering, do ask any questions and share any concerns.


  1. Hi. My sister-in-law, Jenn, asked you about cding awhile ago. I am expecting my first in January and intend to cloth diaper. Your blog is great. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for reading and for the kind compliment. Hope all is going well with your little one and that you've found a carrier that you're comfortable using.