Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Cloth Diaper Routine

This post is mostly going to be an overview of how we do cloth diapers on a day to day basis. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask.

We chose to use bumGenius one-size pocket diapers, and we have 14 of these. When we first started we also used 2 gdiapers (size small) with prefolds so we had 16 diapers. We also decided that we would wash our diapers every other day instead of trying to do it every day. We wash the diapers in the evening so that they can air dry overnight.

We usually lay the shells out on our upstairs banister

And the inserts we hand up to dry in the laundry room. Sometimes the shells get hung up and we throw the liners in the dryer. We used to put the shells in too from time to time, but this really beats up the velcro. Our velcro has stayed much stickier by letting the shells air dry.
The liners still are pretty white, even after a year of continuous use. This is the "worst" of our stains, and even it is hard to make out.
One thing I've tried to do is use cloth wipes. This has been more difficult than using cloth diapers. My wipes are just baby washclothes (the box on the left) and I keep a spray bottle with water by the changing table to wet the diapers. In theory, cloth wipes are much easier because they go right in the diaper pail with the diapers. But it is still habit to grab a disposable wipe for us. We have cut back on the wipes we go through, so I still consider that to be progress!

A life-saver for us since our daughter began solid foods is flushable liners. We bought the toddler size of these liners and tear each one into 3 pieces. The smaller pieces fit into the diaper well, and we get triple the use out of each liner! These liners look a lot like a dryer sheet, but stiffer when they are new. If your child just has a wet diaper, they go into the diaper pail and get washed along with the rest of the diapers. If there is a bowl movement, the waste sticks to the liner and falls out of the diaper easily into the toilet. After a few washings (and always air dry, the dryer breaks them down much quicker) the liners begin to get very soft and start to fall apart. Usually we end up flushing them before that happens, but sometimes we get one that looks like this:
The only complaint we have with the liners is that sometimes they seem to give our daughter diaper rash quicker. If she has a very messy bowl movement, she will get red quicker than in a disposable, which we think is because the liner keeps the waste closer to her body. The good thing about this is that she seems to be quickly learning to tell us if she has pooped - at least she will confirm it if we ask her.
The mornings after the diapers have been washed, I try to stuff all of them so they are ready to go for the next two days. I am notoriously bad at remembering to do this (even though it takes maybe 5 minutes!) and so many days I stuff each diaper as needed.

When we change a diaper, the used one goes right into our diaper pail (we don't use a fancy one) which is a trash can with a wet bag in it. The wet bag is fantastic!

We have a Blueberry one that has a draw string closure. When its full, we dump the diapers into the washer and throw the wetbag in after them.

I prewash our diapers with cold water, and then add a Tablespoon of my homemade laundry detergent and wash with hot water. I am so thankful for my HE washing machine that makes it super affordable to wash diapers every two days. After washing, we pull out our clean-smelling diapers and hang them to dry for the next day!
I do try to strip the diapers every month (its more like every other month or every other other month) by washing with bleach. This helps keep any smell from building up when the diapers are wet and helps them to stay absorbent.

One of the main complaints with bumGenius diapers is that the velcro wears out. While this is probably the biggest problem that we've had with them too, it is not something that makes us regret choosing this style. As I stated above, line drying the diapers has really helped to keep up the velcro. The velcro is what makes these diapers just as easy to use as disposables also! When we did our diaper trial, we tried fuzzibunz (which is very similar to bumGenius except for snap closures) and did not feel like we could get as good a fit on our daughter. Of course, other people may have different experiences too!
Here is a picture of my worst looking diaper. The velcro on the front has pulled away from the diaper shell. Actually, it should be a really quick fix with my sewing machine, I just need to do it!

One of the main things that people ask when they hear we use cloth diapers is "But isn't that so much extra work??" While washing diapers every other day or every day may be more actual work, the way I've found to make it work for our family is to make it just part of the routine. I do not keep a lot of disposable diapers on hand, so I have to wash diapers if my daughter is going to have something to wear!

The flip side to this all is that I rarely have to shop for diapers. I do keep my eyes open in the drug store ads so that I can pick up a pack for cheap or free every few months, but other than that, cloth diapering saves me the time of buying diapers!

If you use cloth diapers and have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, any questions are welcome too!


  1. Distilled white vinegar is a FABULOUS laundry deodorizer ... and super cheap!

    Bleach tends to break down materials fast (I used to use this all the time). I was desperate to keep my dark towels smelling fresh, and my bedwetters laundry odor-free.

    Thankfully, my grandma knew a (cheap!) solution ... 1/4 cup of vinegar in a large laundry load. Works like a charm!

    Just a thought. ;)

    I think it's great that cloth diapers are working for you (what do you do when you travel, though?). Although, I'll admit, my children never wore them, nor did I consider them. My husband, actually, is a scientist for a name-brand diaper company! ;)

  2. I have used vinegar too, and it does work great. This is actually a recommendation by Jillian's drawers on keeping the diapers smelling fresh.

    Depending on the length of the trip we will bring our cloth diapers. If we are going to stay with family for a day or even the weekend, we bring the cloth, and wash if needed. But for a longer out of town trip or vacation, we just bring disposables along!


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