I put the call out on social media for any cloth diapering questions and quite a few rolled in. I’m going to jump right in and answer them, consolidating any really similar queries. A few of you wanted to know more about our diapers themselves and which accessories I recommend, read all about those here.
Laundry is the most frequently asked about category with these diapers. I’ve already done a whole post on my simple, no-strip laundry routine here that has worked amazingly for us for almost 3.5 years, so check that out if your question isn’t answered below!
What do you do about #2?
If it is solid, it just gets plopped into the the toilet and the diaper put into the pail. If it is messy I spray it right into the toilet, easy peasy.
I know everyone says if your baby is exclusively breastfed that their poop is water soluble and can just go in the wash, but that never worked for us, causing lots of staining and mess. We have a simple cloth diaper sprayer similar to this one here, and we take 60 seconds to spray off poopy diapers when necessary. This makes your diaper pail smell way less awful, prevents tons of staining, and results in cleaner diapers, in my opinion.
How often do you wash diapers? Aren’t you constantly doing laundry?
Nope! I wash on Mondays and Fridays, or when the diaper bin is full, whatever comes first. With just Zelie in diapers right now, the M/F schedule is perfect, but before Philomena learned to use the potty we needed to wash every 2.5 – 3 days because of the bin filling up.
Four days is the max I’d want to go for fear of mold, and once the 13 gallon diaper bin is full, I know we have reached the max amount we can put in our washing machine and them still come out clean. Any more diapers than that and they don’t have enough room to move in the water and really get washed
Does that extra laundry take forever or add a ton of work to your week?
Honestly, no. I timed it and putting away Zelie’s diapers from the moment I dumped them on to my bed to all the diapers being reassembled and put away was just under 8 minutes.
Let’s say it took 10 minutes of active time to take them to the laundry, add the detergent for the hot wash, transfer them to the dryer, and bring them upstairs… 18 minutes twice a week of me actively doing something to having almost free diapers is a pretty amazing trade!
How do you dry your diapers in the winter?
So the actual diaper covers with the elastic leg holes I always just lay out to dry in the house year-round. We lay them out on the table at night or just use the girls’ slide in the play area.
As for the rest of the diaper components… I use a dryer year-round. I know it would be super energy efficient to line dry them but that does add in quite a bit of time to the routine in pinning all of the diapers up to a line, waiting hours for them to dry, and going and collecting them. Also, some people have told me they need to then toss their diapers in the dryer for a bit after that to fluff them up.
I pay for the convenience of having dry diapers 75 minutes later, knowing we are still saving tons of money.
How do you keep away bad smells?
So a diaper bin will never smell rosy, but spraying off any poop, washing every few days, and a quality wetbag to line the diaper bin with are key. I’ll talk more about the wetbag and caring for it in my full stash post coming up next on the blog, but for now, just know this one from PlanetWise is amaaaaazing!
Doesn’t all of the laundry cost as much as just buying disposables?
Definitely not! The average disposable diapering estimates are at $1500 per child, using a mainstream, full of chemicals brand and that child potty training at 2.5 years old (Philomena wasn’t done with diapers until 3). So if your child potty trains that quickly, you’re looking at an average of $62.50 a month to disposable diaper a child.
On average washing and drying a load of laundry is $1.52 a load (or so Google tells me). So if I’m doing cloth diaper laundry twice a week that comes out to $12.16 a month to diaper my daughter. This means it is 5x cheaper to cloth diaper AND I’m avoiding tons of chemicals and creating all of that waste! (And yes, I had to invest in our cloth diaper stash, but that cost us less than $1,000, so they definitely paid for themselves before Philomena was even done with diapers, and now they get to be reused for multiple children. They truly are just costing us what it takes to wash them now).
On The Go ~
What do you do when you are out for the day running errands?
We use our cloth on the go. It is the same as disposable diapering except instead of tossing the diaper in the trash I toss it into a zippered wetbag that contains the smell. When we get home I empty it into our diaper pail. Thats it.
I keep a cheap plastic bottle with water in the diaper bag to wet cloth wipes if we have a poopy diaper to change, wrap the wipes up into the diaper, put it in the wet bag, and I’ll spray it when we get home. (I have had amazing luck though with the girls and poopy diapers out. No joke, I’ve probably only had to change 15 poopy diapers out in 3 years. I don’t know why but they always seem to go first thing in the morning or after dinner when we are usually home!)
What do you do while traveling?
We used to take the cloth with us even on big trips until we had two kids. We are always trying to fit into one suitcase because of the expense of checking baggage, so now that there are four of us we just can’t fit the cloth stash in the bag. When we do use disposables traveling our preference is ordering eco-friendly Bambo Nature diapers if the budget allows. (They’re the least chemical-y diapers with no rash issues and amazing absorbency I’ve found, but their prices really fluctuate over time and depending on the size.)
The Issues ~
What do you do about leaks?
Leaking can be caused by detergent buildup if there are issues in your laundry routine, but I’ve found any leaking in our case been the girls’ pee output exceeding the capacity of the diaper, or the diaper not being put on right.
In the case of the diaper’s fit, you want to make sure the elastic is snug against their legs and that no part of the inside is poking out. (If a bit of cloth pokes out of the cover than you will probably get a leak seeping out there with a heavy pee)
If the problem is absorbency then I just need to lay a simple flat absorbency booster or two on top of the diaper insert to let the diaper handle more liquid.
What issues have you needed to overcome cloth diapering?
Initially it was a problem to deal with newborn poopy diapers not coming out super clean, no matter the wash routine. Like I mentioned earlier, the diaper sprayer was the solution for us.
By 18 months, Philomena kept leaking her diaper which is when we upgraded from the Grovia Hybrid to a toddler stash of their O.N.E. diaper. I’ll get into all of those details in Friday’s stash post.
Also, for the last few months before Philomena learned to use the potty and stopped peeing in the night, we did use a disposable at bedtime because she got a yeast infection from sleeping with such strong urine against her skin all night. I hated not using the cloth but it was just a few months of using a disposable a night before she started waking up dry.
We have not had any other issues I can remember right now outside of these three. I think investing in such a high quality, plentiful stash has really helped!
I hope this information was of use to you all out there, and please feel free to post in the comments below if you have more and I’ll be sure to answer them.
4 thoughts on “Cloth Diaper FAQ’s”
I am unfamiliar with using cloth wipes instead of disposable baby wipes. Do you use a special rinse on your cloth to wipe baby’s bottom? (I’ve heard of sprays you can buy or essential oil concoctions you can make….?) Do you rinse it off in the toilet for a #2 diaper? Or does it just go in the pail with the diapers?
Hi Raven, I just wet them with water and leave it at that. It’s best not to use essential oils and stuff on cloth if not necessary as you can cause build up and irritation. I don’t rinse them, they just go in the diaper pail.
What do you use for diaper rashes? I’ve heard that if you use any sort of cream you basically HAVE TO strip diapers? Is that true?
Not true, I’ve used some diaper creams and I’ve never needed to strip my diapers. Make sure it isn’t petroleum based as they’re less likely to gunk up the diapers and just healthier. I haven’t had many diaper rashes with my girls, but usually coconut oil or a squeeze of breast milk has done the trick.