Tuesday, July 26, 2011

how [our] cloth diapers work

I am not suggesting that we are pros when it comes to cloth diapering.  We invested $$$ into one brand, bumGenius, so I have NO idea how other brands/systems work (but I'm guessing they are all fairly similar.)  I didn't even really understand how they really worked until we started using them - so I figured I would pass along what we've learned.

This is what they look like...a series of snaps in the front make them different sizes.  The light pink shows the hook and loop (or velcro) closure whereas the other two diapers show the snap closures.  The velcro are a little bit easier to work with - but they don't look nice for long (in my opinion...the strip that the velcro adheres to starts to look kindof ratty)...the ones that have snap closures are my favorite.

These are the inserts that go inside the diaper.  They are long and fluffy...with snap closures that are adjustable to be small and medium (large sizes don't need any snap closures!).  The inserts slip into the diaper through an opening in the back of the diaper.  We found that the doubled up portion works best when placed in the back of the diaper (but I've read that for little boys, the doubled up portion works best when placed in the front.)

After a diaper has been used, we take that diaper and remove and unsnap the insert, and secure the velcro tabs to a portion on the back of the diaper (so the velcro doesn't get stuck to other diapers).  We keep the dirty diapers in a diaper pail that sits next to the changing station in Clara's room.  If there is a poop diaper, we tie it up tight in a plastic bag because they smell too bad when in the diaper pail (this works for us now because Clara only poops every couple of days!).  There is a space for a small deodorizer in our diaper pail and honestly the thing doesn't smell (well...it does if it is open...but not at all when it is closed.)  We have a special diaper pail liner that gets washed with the diapers.  Ours work fine (we have 2 and rotate them), but the drawstrings don't work so that kinda sucks.)

We wash them every other day (or every two days).  We don't have our own washing machine in our apartment, so we use the community laundry.    We wash them twice...the first cycle is a cold cycle without laundry soap.  The second cycle we use HOT HOT water and laundry soap, and we do an extra rinse.  The laundry soap we use is the pricey bumGenius brand laundry soap (I don't like how it smells...so we'll use a different brand next time.)

It would be easy to use reusable wipes...they are for sale ALL over etsy.  But we have chosen to use disposable wipes.  We keep a little plastic container on the table next to the changing station for disposing of the wipes.  Works easy for us.

These diapers are great for us...but they aren't perfect.  Some of the used diapers seem to leak on occasion.  I tried stripping the inserts by boiling them in small batches on the stove top.  I don't think it worked.  But it was worth a shot.  We ended up following some advice found on the Cottonbabies.com website and washed a couple loads with Dawn dish detergent...that worked OK.

We are overall very pleased with the cloth diapers.  The do leak occasionally when she is in sideways positions (think during breastfeeding) which is freaking sick as she usually leaks on me :-) 

*note:  there are a bunch of products you CAN'T use with these cloth diapers that will "ruin" them...no bleaching, no diaper rash ointments on baby's skin, no "regular" laundry detergent, no fabric softener.


  1. Thanks for the lowdown. We used disposable w/ both of our girls, but we might like to try cloth when we eventually have baby #3.

    For wipes, we like Costco's Kirkland brand best.


  2. as she gets older she will leak less as it fits her leg better but it should be absorbing. I did not have any leading issues with my FuzziBunz and they are basically the same deal as BumG. Once the diapers are repelling water you are sorta in trouble... did you call them? Also I use VASKA detergent or Charlie's soap and nothing else in our washer as anything else in your washer will leave residue and end up ruining your diapers. You can buy Charlie's soap online.

  3. one more side note, I use washable wipes because you never get your hand poopy. I use a wipe warmer by Prince some-thing..(forget the name). I dislike disposable wipes because 1) you have to throw them into a separate can than the diapers and 2) they are thin as hell and my hand always gets dirty (yuk) oh and 3) less waste.



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