If you’re new to cloth diapering, and feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! We’ve created a guide designed to be both comprehensive and concise. Browse through the most common questions about cloth and you’ll have the hang of it in no time! If you have any questions, or are confused, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. If you live in the Vancouver area, remember that we offer informative cloth diapering workshops on a regular basis that will orient you to the world of cloth diapering.
There are loads of misconceptions about cloth diapers. Modern cloth truly is easy. Not convinced? Listen up:
|You have to scrape poop||Check out flushable liners or diaper sprayers. These modern inventions make handling poopy diapers an absolute breeze.|
|Cloth diapers are bulky||There are loads of diaper styles on the market. Yes, some are bulkier. If a trim fit is important to you, you can have it!|
|Cloth Diapering ‘on the go’ is hard||It’s easy! Put a few diapers in your diaper bag along with an odor and waterproof wet bag, and you’re set to go. When you get home, just toss the diapers and wetbag right into your pail.|
|I’ll prick my baby with pins||Although diaper pins are still available, they’re really a thing of the past. Most diapers close with either aplix (Velcro) or snaps. If you use prefolds, the snappi makes fastens easy as pie.|
|Cloth Diapers leak||If you have a good fit and change your baby regularly, leaking is not an issue. Many parents find newborn poop is actually better contained in cloth diapers rather than disposables!|
|Cloth Diapers are expensive||Using cloth diapers can actually save you over a thousand dollars depending on the kind of cloth diapers you choose.|
|You have to do laundry non-stop||Using cloth diapers means an additional 2-3 loads of laundry per week. With all the laundry you’ll be doing for your lil munchkin, you’ll barely notice it. Just empty your pail liner and diapers right into the machine and press start…it’s super easy.|
|My baby won’t sleep through the night||There’s a nighttime solution to keep every baby comfortable. You can absolutely use cloth diapers for naps, long trips, and overnight no matter how heavy your baby wets.|
To make it easy for you, we've organized our information into chapters. Simply click on a chapter below or just scroll down.
How Many Do I Need?
Which Cloth Diapers Are Best For Us?
How Do I Store My Cloth Diapers?
Accessories and Wipes
How Do I Wash and Care For My Cloth Diapers?
I haven’t a clue about cloth diapers. Tell me about my options.
Wipe away your visions of diaper pins. The cloth diaper world has revolutionized. It’s hip, trendy and loads of fun. Great patterns and color options make for super cute tushies! We explain three of the most common cloth diapering systems below.
1. Diaper + Cover
2. Pocket Diapers
3. All-In-One Diapers
SYSTEM 1: Diaper + Cover
The cloth diaper plus cover system may be the original, but don’t let that make you think it’s in any way dated. Tons of options and great prints make this system a popular choice.
Prefold/Flat – Prefolds or flats are available in a range of options, including bleached cotton, unbleached cotton and hemp/cotton blends blends. With the innovation of modern diaper covers designed to control leaks, prefolds are a great, affordable option. They can be simply folded in three lengthwise creating a long rectangle and laid inside a cover. Alternatively, you can wrap it on the baby and keep it in place with an easy to use snappi (goodbye diaper pins!) and then put a cover on top.
Examples: Bummis Organic Cotton Prefolds
Fitted – Fitted cloth diapers resemble a regular disposable diaper. Snaps or velcro make for a quick and easy fasten and gathered elastic legs help contain messes. Fitted diapers are a popular and easy to use choice, particularly for newborns and for overnight solutions in older babies. They require a cover overtop to make them waterproof.
Examples: Kissaluvs Cotton Fleece Fitted
Diaper Cover Types
All of the diaper types listed above require a diaper cover overtop or else baby’s clothes (and yours too!!!) will be a tad wet ; )
The most common diaper covers are made of the following materials:
PUL – Polyurethane Laminate is waterproof and stands up well to regular use
Wool – A popular choice given the natural fibers, its breathability and the ability to repel water.
Also fitting into the Diaper + Cover category are the new hybrid systems such as the bumGenius flip or GroVia . Hybrid systems, also often referred to as all-in-two diapers, allow you to simply tuck or snap absorbent material into a cover with your choice of either a reusable soaker (organic / stay dry) or a disposable insert. The covers can be re-used multiple times without washing provided they are not soiled. These systems are essentially a modern take on the traditional prefold + cover system.
SYSTEM TWO: Pocket Diapers
Pocket cloth diapers most typically consist of a waterproof outer PUL cover and a microfleece, microsuede or cotton interior which touches the baby’s skin.
Pocket diapers have an opening either at the front or back in which you can add extra stuffing between the outer PUL layer and inner fleece/suede lining. The “stuffing” is referred to as an insert and provides the absorbency for the diaper. There are a wide range of inserts available, some of which are made of natural fibres (e.g., hemp) and others which are not (e.g., microfiber). You can tailor absorbency to suit your little one’s needs.
Once stuffed, these diapers go on and off just like a disposable. Some of the brands are even made so the inserts agitate out of the diaper in the wash all on their own!
One of the benefits of pocket diapers is that the diaper dries more quickly than traditional all-in-ones in which the absorbency is fully sewn into the diaper itself. Pocket diapers also allow you to customize absorbency for times of greater need (e.g., long car trips or overnight) versus general daytime use when changes are more frequent.
Examples: bumGenius 4.0, FuzziBunz
SYSTEM 3: All-in-Ones
All-in-One cloth diapers are typically considered the easiest diaper to use. They are in fact the closest to a disposable. Traditional all-in-ones typically consist of an outer waterproof layer, typically made of PUL, and a microfleece, cotton or microsuede inner liner that touches baby’s skin. In a traditional All-in-One, the absorbent material is sewn directly into the diaper between the PUL outer and the soft inner lining that touches the baby’s skin. This means that All-In-Ones can simply go on and off like a disposable. The primary drawback with All-in-Ones tends to be the drying time. In Pocket Diapers, the absorbency material is separate, and stuffed in and out of the pocket area, which lends faster drying times.
Examples: bumGenius Elemental, Tots Bots Easy Fit
What is the difference between a liner, doubler and insert?
Liners are placed between the baby’s skin and the cloth diaper. Liners provide a quick and easy solution to handling poop and help protect the diaper if you are using diaper creams. Fleece liners can also be added to provide a stay-dry feel for baby if your diaper is made of natural fibers.
Inserts are the absorbent part of pocket diapers. They are available in a wide range of textiles including microfiber, hemp, bamboo, etc. You can use one or more inserts per pocket diaper and even combine different kinds such as pairing a microfiber insert with a hemp insert.
Doublers are designed to provide an extra absorption boost to a diaper. They are typically placed on top of the diaper, next to baby’s skin. However, they could be added into a pocket opening as well, similar to inserts.
HOW MANY DO I NEED?
How many cloth diapers should I purchase?
Our diaper chart below details recommendations on how many cloth diapers to purchase based on the age of your little one and your intended washing frequency.
We recommend that you wash your diapers every 2-3 days. Washing every two days works out to approximately 3 loads of laundry per week (e.g., Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), and washing three times per work works out to approximately two loads of laundry per week (e.g., Wednesday, Saturday). We do not recommend leaving your cloth diapers any longer than 3 days maximum before washing.
The more frequently you wash, the less diapers you will need. However, keep in mind that these diapers will be used more in rotation, which means they will experience more wear and tear than if you have a larger stash.
If you are purchasing one-size diapers, most people will purchase 20-24 cloth diapers.
|Baby’s Age||Laundry Freq||Qty. Diapers|
|Newborn (10-12 changes per day)||
Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days
|Infant (8-10 changes per day)||
Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days
|Toddler (6-8 changes per day)||
Every 2 Days
Every 3 Days
I’m not certain I want to cloth diaper full-time. How many diapers should I purchase?
Choosing cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For your lifestyle, it may work best to use a mix (e.g., cloth at home, disposables when running errands or on vacation); you may prefer cloth 100% of the time (wet bags are amazing); or you may simply feel cloth isn’t a good fit for you.
If you would like to try cloth diapering, but aren’t ready to commit fully, we recommend purchasing around 5-8 diapers to start. Two fitted diapers with one cover, one or two pocket diapers and one or two all-in-one diapers is a good mix to try.
Won’t I need to change my baby more often if I cloth diaper?
Your baby should be changed regularly; in newborns this is often every 2 hours or even less. Sometimes when we use disposables, we leave them on babies for much longer than that simply because we can given the super absorbent polymers they contain. We should always change our babies whenever they have wet the diaper.
If I can re-use covers, I won’t need to buy the full quantity of covers. How many should I have?
We typically recommend a minimum of 8-10 cloth diaper covers if you are using fitted cloth diapers or prefolds full-time.
When is it too late to start cloth diapering?
Cloth is always an option! Cloth diapers typically pay for themselves within 6 months, 9 months maximum. Most babies in cloth begin to toilet train around 2 – 2.5 years. If your baby is a year old already, it is still financially (not to mention environmentally!) beneficial to make the switch.
WHICH CLOTH DIAPERS ARE BEST FOR US?
What is the least expensive diapering system?
The least expensive option is to use prefolds with covers.
Which cloth diaper is as easy as disposables?
The easiest diapers to use are all-in-ones or pocket diapers. Daycares, dads and family members often like these diapers best. If you choose a diaper with an aplix closure (velcro) they're as easy as pie!
Which cloth diaper is best for newborns?
One of the absolute best newborn diapering systems is a kissaluvs size 0 fitted plus a diaper cover (Thirsties Size 1 Duo Wrap or Bummis Super Brite Newborn). The kissaluvs fitteds are incredible at containing newborn poop. Pair it with a diaper cover that features leg gussets for virtually leak proof system.
We do not necessarily recommend one-size diapers from the get-go. One-size diapers are ultra-convenient, particularly if you have more than one child in the diaper stage. However, many one-size diapers do not fit babies well until they are around 11-14 pounds (approximately 2-3 months of age). Now, every baby is different, but we generally suggest waiting until you’re out of the newborn stage to add a ton of these diapers into your stash. Please keep this in mind as an ill-fitting diaper will be prone to leaks and the source of much frustration!
Some sized diapers (in most cases you only need 2 sizes from birth to potty training) fit well right from the newborn stage. Check out the Thirsties DUO.
Tell me about one-size cloth diapers. They seem like the perfect option, fitting from birth right up to toilet training.
Fitted diapers, cloth diaper covers, pocket diapers, and all-in-one diapers are available in both sized options and one-size options, varying by manufacturer. One size cloth diapers work with your growing baby and can even be used on multiple diaper-wearing children in the home of different ages. The majority of diapers on the market today, not to mention the most popular cloth diapers, are one-size systems.
There are however, some drawbacks to one-size cloth diapers. Many one-size diapers do not fit newborns well until they are around 11-14 pounds (approximately 2-3 months of age). Similarly, they may fit too small on toddlers who have not yet reached potty training. This has led some companies, such as Thirsties, to create a two-size diaper, predicated on the idea that a two-size approach ensures an optimal fit for the wee-est baby up to the biggest toddler.
One-size diapers typically will not offer as trim of a fit as a sized diaper will. Simply put, there’s more material. This does not interfere with the function of the diaper itself, but is something to consider if you’re after an uber trim fit.
Overall, one-size cloth diapers are fantastic; you just need to keep in mind the potential fit issues that can occur on a newborn or large toddler.
I’m interested in organic cloth diapers.
Many parents are now choosing to place natural fibers next to their baby’s bottom. Crops such as hemp, bamboo, and cotton can be grown organically, offering parents a very earth-friendly natural cloth diapering option.
One of our favorite organic cloth diapers is the bumGenius Elemental. The diaper offers a super trim fit and dries quickly given the diaper design. The Bumgenius has a PUL outer, so if you are looking for an all-natural system, you may want to consider pairing an organic prefold with a wool cover for example.
Natural fibers do not offer the stay dry feeling that fleece does. However, feeling wetness is not bad for the baby. In fact, it often helps little ones toilet train earlier.
Which diapers should I use for daycare?
We highly recommend keeping it as simple as possible for daycare. Choose either all-in-one or pocket diapers with aplix (Velcro), not snaps. If you go with pocket diapers, make certain they are sent to daycare pre-stuffed.
We also recommend laying disposable diaper liners in each diaper ahead of time so handling poopy diapers is a breeze. An odor and waterproof wetbag large enough to hold a day’s worth of diapers is also a must have.
Which cloth diaper is best for night time?
Finding a night-time solution that works for you is always possible, whether your baby is a super-soaker or not.
Typically, two options work best for nighttime, irrespective of the cloth diapering system you use during the day.
(1) Pocket Diaper. Take a pocket diaper and add two to three inserts. Be careful not to over-stuff so that it doesn’t fit properly (and potentially leaks), but you want to ensure you have enough absorbent material to handle a long night stretch. We typically recommend that you use a combination of microfiber and hemp inserts. Place the microfiber insert on top of the hemp insert and stuff both into the pocket opening. Microfiber is a fast absorbing material, which will soak up wetness from your baby quickly. Although hemp absorbs more slowly, it can hold an incredible amount of liquid. Alternatively, use a flip organic cotton insert in the pocket. This is an incredibly absorbent insert that should stand up to a night!
(2) Fitted + Cover. Fitteds offer great absorbency and if you pair it with a wool cover for great breathability and absorbency (wool can hold up to 30% of its weight in liquid) you'll have no problems. This is our fav! Check out the Bumboo Bamboo Fitted cloth diaper - so soft, so absorbent.
Which cloth diaper is the trimmest?
Cloth Diapers vary in their trimness. If a trim fit is important to you, or you’re looking to add a few diapers to your stash perfect for under jeans, then we recommend you try one of the following diapers:
Tots Bots Easy Fit
Should I go with snaps or velcro/aplix?
Snaps typically last longer than Velcro as Velcro does tend to wear over time, particularly if you regularly place your diapers in the drier. However, Velcro makes for super quick and easy changes, and also allows you to find the perfect snugness around the waist. Snaps can be challenging if you have a super-wiggly baby, but many parents prefer them for how well they last. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. We like to have a mix.
How do I measure my baby for sizing?
There are three measurements you will need: waist, leg, and rise.
Waist: Measure approximately 1 inch below the belly button (where the top of the diaper will sit).
Leg: Measure around the fullest part of baby’s thigh. You will essentially follow where the diaper elastic would normally be.
Rise: Measure from 1 inch below the belly button, up to the level of the belly button in the back.
I’m still stuck…I don’t know which kind or which brands to select.
Give us a call or drop us an e-mail…we’re happy to help you make a selection that will be suited to your needs. You might want to check out our 2 week diaper tester rental program. This will give you a chance to try out a wide range of diaper styles and brands, allowing you to determine what you truly like best before investing in your stash of cloth diapers and accessories.
HOW DO I STORE MY CLOTH DIAPERS?
What kind of diaper pail should I use?
Gone are the days of storing cloth diapers in wet pails. We now recommend the use of a dry pail, letting your washing machine do all the work!
For a dry pail, you simply need a container and a pail liner. Some people prefer to use an airtight garbage bin with a lid and a deoderizer disc. Others prefer to use a breathable bin (such as wicker) or to leave the lid off the bin. Ultimately, you can choose what suits you best as there is no right or wrong option. Depending on your budget, you may want to select a stainless steel bin as plastic absorbs odors more readily.
How do I store dirty diapers?
We recommend storing your diapers in a pail liner inside a dry pail. You can purchase a pail – a large regular garbage bin – at any local store such as Home Depot, Canadian Tire, WalMart, etc. When wash day comes, you remove the waterproof pail liner and carry it along with all the diapers inside to the machine. Then simply empty it inside out and start the wash, complete with the pail liner inside. It’s that easy, really!
Alternatively, you can use a large wetbag, like the Bummis Fabulous Wet Bag in size large. It can either hang on a door or closet or dresser, or be used as a pail liner inside a pail.
ACCESSORIES & WIPES
What cloth diapering accessories do you recommend?
Aside from purchasing cloth diapers, there are a few other accessories that we consider essential to setting you up for success. Here are the cloth diapering accessories that we recommend you purchase:
Flushable Liners or Mini-Shower
If you have an exclusively breastfed baby, poopy diapers can simply be tossed directly into your diaper pail as breastfed poop is completely water soluble. If you are formula feeding, or your baby has started solids, you’ll definitely want to check out flushable liners or a mini-shower.
Flushable Liners make dealing with poopy diapers an absolute breeze. Just lift up the liner and drop in the toilet, or turn your cloth diaper over and let it drop into the toilet. No scraping, no fuss! If there is a bit of residual poop left on your diaper, don’t worry about it. Your machine will take care of it!
Another option is a diaper sprayer, which attaches right to the toilet. You can spray your poopy diapers and then just toss the diaper into your dry pail along with the rest of them.
Diaper Pail Liners
Diaper pail liners are fantastic! These are placed inside your diaper pail or can be left to hang behind a door if you prefer not to use a diaper pail. They provide a wick-proof, odor-resistant option for storing your dirty diapers between washing. The best part? When it’s time for laundry just carry the liner (kind of like a large duffel bag) and empty it inside out into your washer. Leave your pail liner inside the washer to be washed right along with your diapers! We highly recommend having two diaper pail liners so that you always have one in your diaper pail even if the other is in the wash.
Zippered Wet Bags
Zippered wet bags are a must have for cloth diapering parents on the go. They offer an odor and moisture proof solution for storing dirty diapers until you’re home again. The best part? Just toss the wet bag along with your dirty diapers into your dry pail at home. They can all be washed together. We highly recommend having two wet bags on hand so when one is in the wash, you still have another ready for use.
At first thought, you might think cloth wipes are a pain, but we urge you to give them a try. They can be easily washed right along with your diapers and if you want you can even make your own natural solution to spray onto your baby’s bum when you’re changing a diaper. You’ll save hundreds and hundreds of dollars by using cloth wipes and they work wonderfully. If you’re out and about, you can moisten some cloth wipes ahead of time and put them in a baggie, or have a spray bottle in your diaper bag to use with them. Then just toss them along with the diaper into the wet bag.
Cloth Diaper Safe Detergent
It is imperative that you use the appropriate detergent to clean your cloth diapers or you will potentially have all kinds of undesirable problems ranging from leak issues to diaper rash on your baby’s tushie. Please consult our laundry care section for washing details and recommendations on which detergents to try.
Leave it to a dad to create an ingenious invention to replace diaper pins! The snappi is made of plastic and works wonders to keep prefold cloth diapers or contour cloth diapers in place underneath a cover.
Can I use diaper cream when I cloth diaper?
Yes, of course! However, we strongly recommend you use cloth diaper friendly creams. Any zinc or petroleum based creams (most drug-store creams) will coat the fibers in your diapers and cause repelling issues. Even when using a cloth diaper safe cream, we always recommend the use of a disposable liner with creams just to minimize the build up of the cream on the diaper material.
Check out CJs BUTTer or Dimpleskins bumbum balm.
All babies are susceptible to diaper rash. Did you know that babies in cloth diapers actually experience LESS diaper rash on average than babies in disposables?
Can I use disposable wipes?
Yes, of course you can use disposable wipes. We highly recommend you try cloth wipes, mostly because they are so easy and can be thrown into your diaper pail and washed right along with your diapers. Over time, cloth wipes are absolutely the cheapest option.
I'd like to use cloth wipes. Can you recommend a wipes solution?
One of our favorite cloth wipes solution recipes is as follows:
2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil.
1 teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap
1 cup of Distilled Water / Water
Alternatively, you can just use water!
What will my diaper bag look like if I cloth diaper?
We recommend the following for your diaper bag:
Spray bottle with water / wipes solution
You’ll see this list is remarkably similar to what you require with disposable diapers. The main difference is the inclusion of a water and odor-proof wetbag that you can throw your cloth wipes and dirty diapers into for storage until you get home.
HOW DO I WASH AND CARE FOR MY CLOTH DIAPERS?
What do I do with poop?
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, simply toss the diaper into your dry pail. Breastfeeding poop is completely water soluble!
If you are formula feeding, or your baby eats solids, we recommend either disposable liners or a diaper shower. A diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet allowing you to easily rinse off your diapers. Even easier, and our personal favorite, are disposable liners. These liners are simply laid on top of a fresh diaper. When your baby has a poop, simply lift the poop and liner into the toilet or turn the diaper over and let it drop into the toilet. It’s that easy! No scraping needed.
How many extra loads of laundry will I have to do a week?
As you’ll see from our chart on how many diapers to purchase, cloth diapering involves 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week. Given how much laundry you already will be doing with a baby, you’ll barely notice it. Many of us love to wash diapers at the end of the day, and toss them in the drier / hang them to dry before bed. We then wake up to fresh diapers.
What does a regular wash routine look like?
Your washing routine is absolutely critical to ensuring your diapers remain in tip-top shape with no funky smell or repelling issues.
Always wash your diapers separate from clothing!
Here is the washing routine that we recommend:
- Run a cold or warm wash with no detergent (set water to highest level).
- Run a HOT wash with detergent (set water to highest level).
- Run an extra rinse
- Place in the dryer on medium or hang to dry.
We particularly recommend hanging diaper covers and pocket diaper covers to dry to lengthen their life. In certain cases cloth diaper manufactuers will recommend a wash routine that differs from what we recommend here; you should always follow the manufacturer washing guidelines to ensure your diapers stay under warranty.
The water level when you wash is extremely important. If you have a high efficiency front-loading machine, check with your manufacturer if there is a way that you can set the water level manually. If not, you may need to “trick” the machine by tossing in a wet towel with your diapers (a light colored one!). The wet towel adds extra weight which makes the machine think there is more laundry, thereby adding extra water.
You can also set the machine to 'no spin' following the first wash cycle so that the diapers go into the main hot wash cycle heavier which will cause the machine to add more water. Selecting a heavy soil level on your front-loading washing machine, if applicable, will also help to increase the water level.
What detergents do you recommend?
The detergent that you use to clean your diapers is also critical.
We recommend the following detergents:
Rocking Green Detergent
bumGenius Cloth Diaper Detergent
Allen's All Naturally
If you are partial to traditional detergents, then we recommend the original Tide powder (not the free and clear version).
It is particularly important that you do not add too much detergent or it will build up on your diapers (not rinse clean) and cause repelling and leak issues. In most cases, you will only need about 1 tablespoon of detergent! For front loading machines, typically 1-2 tablespoons is enough, and usually 2-3 tablespoons in a top loading machine. If you add too much detergent, it will build up in the fibers of your cloth diapers causing repelling issues and you will need to strip them down (see below) to fix them.
How can I speed up drying time in the machine?
Toss in a dry towel with your diapers to speed the drying process. Or check out our wool dryer balls – they’re fabulous!
Remember, we recommend hanging diaper covers and pocket diaper covers to dry as much as possible.
Do I need to wash my new diapers before using them on baby?
Cloth diaper covers and pocket diapers, and any diaper featuring microfiber or minky should be washed at once. Although it is typically recommended to hang dry diaper covers, we recommend drying them on medium-high heat the first time to seal the PUL.
Cloth diapers made from natural fibers (hemp, cotton, bamboo) need to be washed 5+ times. This process will strip the natural oils from the material and will also build absorbency into the fabric. It is not uncommon for it to take 8-11 washes (or more!) for these materials to reach their full absorbency.
You should not wash unbleached cotton or hemp with your other cloth diapers initially as the natural wax will transfer to the diapers and cause repelling issues. Some folks report great success with boiling unbleached cotton prefolds to remove the wax! After washing a few times, hemp and unbleached cotton products can be washed together with all your diapers.
**If you do not wash your unbleached cotton or hemp multiple times on hot before use, leaks will occur.
How do I care for wool products?
The wonderful part of wool is that it is largely self-cleaning! Unless wool is soiled or smells like urine, you can simply air it out and re-use over and over again. We recommend washing wool every 2-3 weeks, or when soiled. When you do wash wool, we recommend using Eucalan wool wash which has lanolin included. Simply hand wash in lukewarm water, leaving the cover to soak for approximately 15 minutes. After, roll the cover in a towel to remove moisture (do not wring it) and lay flat to dry.
Don’t be afraid of wool! It sounds intimidating to many parents, but it is a wonderful natural fibre that truly is easy to care for. And it’s not itchy either!
What can I do to lengthen the life of my cloth diapers?
Line drying will extend the length of your diapers.
In addition, having a slightly larger stash will also extend the life of your diapers as you will use each one less frequently. Although a larger stash costs a bit more, this can help maintain your diapers in good condition which is helpful if you are hoping to diaper a second child or sell your diapers when your little one is toilet trained.
Can I use bleach or fabric softener on my diapers?
No! Regular bleach will break down the material of your diapers. Fabric softener will cause the diapers to repel rather than absorb liquids.
Please note that if you regularly use fabric softener on your own personal laundry, a film may build up in your machine that can transfer to your cloth diapers.
What about dryer sheets?
If you use dryer sheets, a film in the dryer can build up and interfere with the diaper absorbency. You don’t want to deal with this problem if you can avoid it!
Did you know that static only presents an issue with synthetic fabrics? One option with your regular laundry is to always hang dry such materials (e.g., polyester). Another option is to use dryer balls, such as Nellie’s dryer balls. Finally, if you absolutely want to use dryer sheets with your regular laundry, we recommend running your dryer with a large wet towel prior to drying your diapers. This should help remove some of the residue left behind by dryer sheets.
How about free and clear detergents?
No, please do not use free and clear detergents. Although it sounds like it might be a good choice for cloth diapers, these detergents typically clean with enzymes. Enzymes are designed to attack organic matter. Sweat, urine and poop are all organic matter so if any enzymes linger on the cloth diaper fabric, sensitive babies may experience a reaction that appears as a rash, blister, or sore.
Is oxygen bleach safe for cloth diapers?
Yes, oxygen bleach or oxy-powder may be used periodically on your diapers to freshen or sanitize. We always recommend that you follow the washing instructions set by the manufacturer(s) of the diapers that you use as many manufacters note that using any kind of additive will void the warranty.
My baby had a yeast infection. How can I disinfect my diapers?
We highly recommend using HOT water to wash your diapers. You might want to temporarily turn up the temperature on your hot water tank or use the sanitization cycle on your washer if it has one.
Other options include using some oxygen bleach or placing your diapers out to sun (the sun is an excellent way to naturally brighten and sanitize diapers). Many parents will do a combination of these as it is incredibly important to clear your diapers before putting them back on baby or else you will re-introduce the infection.
How can I avoid stains on my cloth diapers?
The best way to avoid stains is to wash your diapers regularly, washing no less frequently than every third day.
The first washing step with a wash on cold/warm is also very important to removing stains. Hot water will set stains.
Finally, the use of a microfleece or disposable liner can help by minimizing the amount of solid waste that comes in contact with the diaper surface.
How can I remove stains from my cloth diapers?
No matter how diligent you are with following a great care routine, stains are bound to happen. One of the absolute best stain removers is the sun. Yes, the sun! Whether it is summer or winter, take your diapers outside and lay them face up to the sun for a few hours. Make sure they are really wet when you do this. The natural bleaching power of the sun is truly incredible! The sun is also a great sanitizer.
What is detergent build up?
Detergent build up occurs when the detergent does not rinse clean from your cloth diapers.
How do I know if I have detergent build up?
Detergent residue can present in a variety of ways. Your diapers may leak or wick; urine may repel or bead rather than absorbing into the diaper; your diapers may stink; off-coloration of your fabrics (particularly for synthetics) may occur; or your baby may even develop a rash out of sensitivity to the detergent film.
How do I fix detergent build up?
To fix detergent build up, you need to strip your diapers. There are a number of different recommendations on how to strip diapers. We recommend the simplest approach, which is to use RLR and run a number of consecutive hot wash cycles with no detergent afterwards. You may need 5+ hot rinse cycles with no detergent; just continue to look for bubbles in the water on the final rinse. If you see bubbles, continue with more cycles until no bubbles remain.
My diapers stink...how can I fix this problem?
If your diapers smell of urine even after washing, or immediately after your baby pees, you most likely have a detergent build up issue. Fixing detergent build up is actually quite simple! As noted above, simply run your diapers through multiple hot washes (3-5) with NO detergent until no suds remain after including RLR in the initial wash.
I sometimes hear about using baking soda and vinegar when I wash.
We prefer not to recommend additives to your washing routine aside from detergent and perhaps the odd cycle with oxygen bleach. Vinegar can potentially break down the elastic in diapers given its acidity.
Help, my diapers are leaking. What do I do?
Diapers may leak for three main reasons.
You need to change your baby every 1.5-3 hours. Some babies are heavier wetters than others. If you leave your baby for 4+ hours in a cloth diaper, it is bound to leak.
If you need some additional absorbency, don’t hesitate to add a doubler or use more absorbent inserts in pocket diapers such as hemp or bamboo.
The correct size of diaper is important to ensuring a proper fit. If the diaper does not fit properly, it will leak. For example, most one size diapers do not tend to fit most newborns very well.
Some diapers fit certain babies better than others. Babies come in all shapes and sizes so it’s not surprising that not every diaper on the market is going to be a great fit for you little one. This is one of the reasons we recommend building a variety of diapers into your stash, rather than simply purchasing all of one kind.
(3) Residue / Detergent Build Up
Over time, your diapers may begin to repel liquid for a variety of reasons, ranging from detergent buildup to the use of certain diaper creams etc.
We strongly encourage you to use a cloth diaper friendly detergent and only use a small amount (approximately 1 tablespoon). If you have a residue/detergent build up issue, you will need to strip your diapers.
We also encourage the use of disposable liners when using diaper creams.
If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch at any time. We're here to help make your cloth diapering days fun & easy!