A surprising amount of people have started using cloth diapers for various reasons; allergies the paper diapers, financial saving, environmental conviction ect. I have been doing cloth diapers for about six years off and on. With my last two babes I have used cloth exclusively (unless out-of-town). A few of you have contacted me and asked me exactly what I do. I decided the best way is to put it all down in writing so I have a place to refer all you mamas.
First of all, there are so many ways to cloth diaper it would be exhausting to explain them all myself. Click here for some explanations. Once you’ve read through that I’ll explain what I do.
I use pre-fold diapers and covers with snappis. I love snappis! I order all my supplies from Green Mountain Diapers (link in side bar) and have for years. They are fast, knowledgeable and they have great prices.
I use pre-fold diapers. I have had all-in-ones, and pocket diapers in the past. All-in-ones get to stinky and take too long to dry for me -plus- it’s expensive to buy that many diapers. Pocket diapers (I used Fuzibunz) have a fleece lining which holds smells as well. I also thought they were super leaky since they are not snug against baby. They are also expensive since you can only use them for one changing. I has to buy 30 or so of them! They did pay for them selves in saving eventually but it took 6 months!
I have seriously tried a dozen different diaper covers. Thirsties are the best! They aren’t as expensive as most, they never leak, they come in cute colors and patterns. I recommend the Thirsties Duos with snaps. Velcro breaks down when the cover itself has plenty more life in it. I have also knit some wool covers as well. One hank of pure wool costs me $7. It makes 2 newborn or 1.5 of the other sizes. If I didn’t make them I wouldn’t own then because a wool cover will cost you $30-$40. Yikes! I started doing cloth to save money. That doesn’t make sense to me.
I use regular baby wash cloths for wipes, and I buy fleece liners to wick moisture away from baby’s bottom. I make my own skin healing balm for rashes out of the book Organic Body Care. This also doubles for a substitute for Neosporin. I also buy the Thirsties bottom spray for the dirtier diaper jobs. I advise anyone who purchases bottom sprays to NOT buy ones with tea tree, lavender, or citrus because they cannot be used when a rash is present. They will sting baby’s bottom!
I also purchased a diaper pail and liner years ago as well as a wet bag for when we’re out and about. These can be substituted for a trash can with a lid, and a pillowcase. And when you’re out you can use a grocery bag.
When I wash I use Ecos Laundry Soap, or Biocleen Laundry (the free and clear one). I have used soap nuts in the past, but when the baby get older you need a stronger detergent. I run a regular cold cycle with nothing in the water, then a cold cycle with soap, then a hot cycle with soap and 1/4 of borax or oxyclean, then another cycle free of soap.
I dry them in the dryer because when they quilt up they’re more absorbant and soft, then if weather permits I hang them dry outside to bleach out bacteria and stains.
If I am having a huge problem with diaper rash (ammonia builds in cloth diapers if not treated regularly) I add 1/4 bleach (*gasp*) to the first cycle with soap. Then I dry in the dryer. Wash one more cold cycle with 1 Tbs soap and one extra rinse and dry again. Then I hang them out. This process is called “stripping” the diapers.
Sometimes I put 1/2 vinegar in the last rinse. I don’t know if it makes a difference or not which is why I don’t do it regularly.
P.S. Never dry your covers in the dryer or on the line outside. Heat breaks down the waterproofing. Ideally you should wash them separately from the diaper, but I never have.
It may sound like a ton of info and instruction, but once you do it a couple of time it’s no big deal.
There are diaper sprayers that attach to the toilet (I used to have one), and special pails. They are designed so you don’t have to deal with the poop thing. I just had a pair of kitchen gloves I designated for the job. After a while I just switched to plain ol’ hands.