With disposable diapers becoming scarce in some areas, a lot of parents are considering at least augmenting their diapering routine with cloth. We are part-time cloth diaperers, so while I am not an expert, I have done a lot of research on the subject– including plenty of hands-on time!
While we do have a few different kinds of diapers, our favorites are the all-in-one style diapers. These are also the most similar to cloth diapers, and for that reason I will be focusing on them today. We use the Bum Genius brand all-in-ones, and have a combination of Freetimes and Elemental style diapers. Freetime diapers have a quick-absorbing microfiber inside and a waterproof outside to keep your baby dry. Elemental diapers have an organic cotton inside and the same waterproof outside as the Freetimes. Other than the absorbent material inside, the diapers are essentially the same.
I chose to stick with the Bum Genius brand because I wanted to keep things simple. My husband isn’t the bumbling, clueless Dad type, but having different snap patterns for different brands of diapers wasn’t going to fly around here! This way, the diapers all look and perform the same. Having a stash of all-in-ones makes things even easier because there’s no inserts to deal with. It’s just like changing a disposable, except they go in a hamper instead of a Diaper Genie!
What do I need to get started?
Essentially, all you’ll need to start a cloth diaper journey are:
– Cloth diapers
– A wet bag for soiled laundry (we use these inside an upright hamper)
– Laundry detergent
– and although it’s optional, I’d recommend a diaper sprayer or liners for removing solids)
If you’re looking to stock up on cloth diapers, the best thing to look for online is somewhere that gives you a bulk discount. (I like Cotton Babies)
How do I wash them?
You’ll want to figure out how to wash the diapers before using them, and this is where things get a leeeetle tricky! I stumbled upon Fluff Love University while I was researching cloth, and have followed their directions without issue. They recommend knowing your water hardness in order to best choose a detergent because a build-up of hard water minerals can cause your diapers to not absorb as well, or worse– stink. Our water has a hardness of 140, which means powdered Tide is a good choice as it has enough softeners for our water. You can look at the recommendations for your detergent in their Detergent Index. Once you know how much and which detergent to use, you’ll need to know how to actually wash them to get the waste out. Fluff Love also has a Washing Machine Index (because of course they do) which will set you up with a solid washing routine.
Don’t they smell?
The diapers themselves are cleaned so thoroughly that no, they don’t smell. When they’re dirty, there is the potential to smell because, well, poop does smell! What helps combat the smell is air flow. The hamper we use has holes in it, and the wet bag liner is permeable. I also try to stay on top of washing every few days before things start to get interesting lol! But overall, cloth diapers do NOT smell any more than disposables.
But what about poop?
If your baby is still 100% breastfed, congratulations! Breast milk poop is water-soluble, so those poopy diapers can go right into the washer with no extra steps involved. Once Baby gets started on solids, you’ll notice changes in their dirty diapers that would suggest not putting them through the wash lol! You do have a few options, though. One popular method is the Dunk and Swish, where you put the poopy part of the diaper into the toilet and swish the poop off. Some parents invest in a diaper sprayer that attaches to a toilet and spray poop into the bowl. We use Viva brand paper towels as liners (it has to be the green package “cloth-like texture” ones!) because they catch the solids and then we trash them, poop and all.
What about overnight?
Full disclosure, we have always put Jack in disposable diapers overnight. We chose to do daytime cloth in an attempt to lessen the volume of diapers that end up in landfills, and we still accomplish that! Jack is a heavy overnight wetter and would require a lot of trial and error to find a cloth method that would work for him. We just weren’t willing to go back to waking up to change diapers once he started sleeping through the night! Plenty of parents use cloth overnight, though, and there are many specialized options to help you do so!
Did I answer your questions about basic cloth diapering? Let me know!
Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost to you.) Thank you for supporting my dream!