Saturday, February 2, 2013

What I learned about cloth diapering: The good, the bad, & the very smelly

all pictures photo credit: Kaylee Chelsea Photography

I always pictured myself as one of those earthy, all-organic, baby-wearing mommas.

So, when I actually became a mom, and came across the cutest baby boutique in town, and they recommended cloth diapering as the best for baby's sensitive bum, I saw it as an opportunity to get a little crunchier. And with all the adorable patterns out there, it looked like fun.

That day, I invested in four diapers & it cost me about $50. I was told I would need to buy special detergent, baby rash cream, and stock up on 14-20 more diapers.

"Ouch! This is too pricy for my little pocketbook," I concluded.

Sold on the idea though, I went home and resorted to my favorite store of all- Craig's List.

One lady was willing to part with 11 Bumgenius diapers in a size one, hardly used, for 80 bucks. Not sure what that fully meant, I decided it must be a good deal after googling the brand, so I bought them from her.

But the more I learned about cloth diapering, the more I realized how much there was to it, and I felt slightly overwhelmed. With stubborn faith, I was determined to master the world of cloth diapering.

FUZZIBUNZ Pocket Diaper
This is what I learned:

Styles of Diapers

1. All in One (AIO) diapers mean that the diaper comes with everything you need so there are no other steps. Simply snap on baby and go! They now make them in one size fits all, which are great for chubbier babies like mine, but tend to not work well for skinnier little ones. This is the easiest way to cloth diaper, in my opinion. But the sizing doesn't always work for every baby & they do require a bit more drying time. Plus, the microfiber is notorious for becoming stinky.

2. Pocket diapers are another type of cloth diaper. With pocket diapers, you have to stuff the cloth insert into the pocket of the diaper, hence the creative name. I have about ten of these and though they dry faster, they are a bit of a nuisance because of the stuffing factor. You have to pull soiled inserts out before washing too. Gross!

3. Fitted and/or pre-fold diapers are two good options, especially because they are cheaper. With fitted diapers, there is no stuffing & fitting issues. Simply choose the size diaper that works for you & pair with an outer layer, called a cover.
On the other hand, pre-folds are closer to the old-fashioned way of diapering because they do require more folding, looping, snapping, etc. Due to the nature of pre-folds, they are the cheapest way to go. (Nikki's Diapers online have great deals on pre-folds as well as Green Mountain Diapers). You'll need a cover with the pre-folds too, to help with absorbency. Covers can be made of wool, or simply water-proof material. 

Storage & Laundering

5. Storage of soiled cloth diapers are easy. Buy a few "wet bags," which are designed specifically to hold in the stink for a few days, or until washed, and keep one in your diaper bag for when you're on the go, and two or three more at home, or buy one larger dialer pail/ hamper for at home use. Each wet bag typically holds 5-10 diapers, depending on the size of the bag.

6. Laundering diapers... this is the "fun" part. Make sure to use a free and clear laundry detergent. Costco, & Sprouts are all good places to get deals on free and clear detergents. Some people prefer certain brands, like Rockin' Green, but those are typically more pricy & any free and clear detergent should do.

I always do a pre-wash to get the grimies out first.

I use a tablespoon of vinegar in my pre-wash. Once a month, I add Biokline laundry detergent too to my pre-wash. Some brands, like Bumgenius, recommend using Chlorine free bleach once a month too, but beware that this can hurt other brands of diapers so do research first on the cloth brand you are using. After the pre-wash, I add my detergent & wash in hot water.

7. Drying diapers is easiest if you have a clothes' line because the sun bleaches out any stains & it's more economical, of course. You can dry them in the dryer too, which I do on rainy or lazy days. If drying in the dryer, I highly recommend wool dryer balls. You can purchase 6 for $18 on Etsy (free shipping) & this cuts all drying time in half for all laundry items! It's worry the investment up front!

Tips on Diapering Cheaper & Smarter:

8. Do not buy Velcro diapers. I imagine that's why the lady on Craig's List parted ways with the diapers I bought from her- not only do they stick to everything in the wash but also wear out faster. Snaps is where it's at :)

9. is a Chinese manufacturer with free shipping and really cheap prices on pocket diapers, inserts, & wet bags! The quality is actually pretty decent too. Another cheap Chinese manufacturer is

10. Find a boutique by your house, get your baby fitted in what works best for you & Craig's list, or check out local consignment baby stores for your favorite brands. It's pretty easy to get used cloth diapers still in good condition for a fraction of the price.

11. CJ's Butter Cream or coconut oil are great for diaper rashes. DO NOT use regular products like Desitin. CJ's comes in sample sizes for $1.50 per sample through if you want to test it out first.

12. Brands that are popular include: Fuzzibunz, GroVia, Applecheeks, Bumgenius, Bummis, Bumkins, Thirsties & Oso Cozy. Try a variety of styles & brands until you find what works for you. There are 100's of websites selling 100's of brands & it's overwhelming at times.

13. Places to try- Green Mountain Diapers, Green Baby Goods, Nikki's Diapers & Sweet Bottom Baby are four good sites to try. Really do try get fitted in person first before purchasing in bulk though! Also, Kelly's Closet online sends sample packs so you can try a larger variety for a month in order to find what works for you!

13. You can choose to buy cloth wipes too, which can save even more money, but I love my Earth's Best diaper wipes & haven't converted yet to cloth wipes. 

14.This is an investment & can save you money if you use cloth diapering as your main source of diapering, especially through a few kids' diapering days. You'll need about 18-20 diapers in order to start an appropriately sized stash.

15. Don't try cloth diapering if you don't possess the time for 2-3 extra loads of laundry time a week. If it's going to be a hassle for you, Earth's Best & Seventh Generation both offer great free and clear paper diaper options.If you open an Amazon mom membership, you can save money by setting up an automatic shipment every few weeks right to your door. My friend did the math & discovered, using the membership, you can actually get diapers at the equivalent price of Costco diapers in bulk per year.

Phew! That's only a small fraction of cloth diapering knowledge 101 but I hope it helps some bewildered mom out there. 



  1. If my husband and I ever have children, I totally want to do cloth diapers. Thanks for the tips.

  2. These are the prefolds I use, and they have worked great for me.

    When my son was brand new and pooping what felt like a million times a day, I used whats called an ' jelly roll' fold with the prefold. That fold seemed to contain the poop from getting on the waterproof cover better then any other fold I tried. I also sometimes used the 'angel wing fold' which was a bit faster than the jelly roll and also did a decent job of containing poo explosions. Now that my son is a bit older and doesn't poop as much, I opt for a trifolded prefold put right in a cover and then put on the baby. EASY & CHEAP! So many covers even come with flaps to hold a trifolded prefold in place.

    Here is a tutorial on a bunch of different ways to fold a prefold diaper.:

  3. I 100% agree that snaps are where its at. All of my 'one size' diaper covers are in snaps. However, 'one size' diapers don't really start fitting most babies right until about 10lbs. In my opinion, if you plan to cloth diaper a newborn from day 1, you really need newborn sized diapers. I got most of my NB covers in velcro aka hook&loop because the fit of the cover is much easier to customize. Also, while snaps last much longer and are more practical for toddlers who might want to rip their diapers off, they do take longer to put on baby. Since newborns poop SO much, I prefer velcro for newborn days simply because of the amount of diapers I have to change. I got a few of my newborn diaper covers in wonderful used condition (since they aren't used for very long before they are outgrown) Thank you Krissann for such an information packed blog! =)

    1. Great advice! Thanks for sharing Kat! :)