I’ve received a lot of emails lately asking specific questions about cloth diapering with a baby who is now on solids, my wash routine, etc.  I figured I would take a minute to answer some of the most popular questions here.  I LOVE that so many people are researching their options and considering cloth diapering.  Of course, the downside to research in this age of Google is that it can get overwhelming really fast.  I can’t promise that my methods will work for everyone, but hopefully this will take a little bit of the guessing game out of the decision making process, especially for those who are trying to predict what it will be like to have an older baby in cloth.

Here are some recent questions I’ve received:

Is the Full-Time Newborn Test Drive Set available at Sunshine Diapers the way to go?  I noticed you mentioned you started off with a similar set.

In my opinion, I really think this is a great way to get started.  For me, I only had to make this short term decision before actually having a baby.  Then I had 10 weeks to find out what system would work best for us moving on.  I was able to try out all types of diapers while still using the Kissaluvs Size 0 Rental from SunshineDiapers.com. In all my research, the only quasi negative thing I’ve heard said about KL0s is that they aren’t super absorbent, and that seems to be true.  However, that was never a problem with a newborn because you are changing them every 2-4 hours regardless.  Of course, there are other diapers you can start out with on a newborn, including prefolds.  But, again, I believe the KL0s were the most convenient option for me and I liked that with the rental program I could return them and get some of my $$ back after three months.  It made it feel like less of a jump off into the deep end of cloth diapering.

Will that be all I need to get started with cloth diapering once our baby is born?  Is there anything else I’m not thinking of, like fasteners or something?

If you choose to go with the KL0s, either from the rental program or by purchasing them outright, you will still need covers for them.  I recommend at least 6 in sizes that vary from newborn to small, so that you can have at least 3 in rotation at any time.  I used 2 newborn Proraps, 2 small Bummis Super Brites and 2 Thirsties (one XS, one small).  If I had it to do all over again. I would have skipped the Super Brites (they seemed to wick urine to the outside of the legs a lot) and replaced them with 2 additional small Thirsties.

If you choose to go the prefold route, you will also need the same number of covers, and some sort of fastener.  You could use old fashioned diaper pins, but I hear Snappis are the way to go.  I think you only need a couple of those.

What do you do when you have dirty diapers, just throw the diaper (full of poo) right into the washing machine – or do you use a diaper pail?  If you use a diaper pail, which one do you use?  How often do you wash diapers?  What does washing diapers entail?

If the baby is exclusively breastfed then, yes, you throw the diapers – poop and all- straight into a pail.  If the baby has started solids or is consuming any amount of formula, you need to remove the poop from the diaper before washing.  My favorite method is to line the diaper with a flushable liner. Then all you have to do is peel the liner out of the diaper and the poop comes with it.  Just flush it  and forget it.  I’ve also tried lining the diapers with fleece since poop tends to not stick to fleece, but Kendall had a bad reaction and developed a terrible rash that resembled a chemical burn.

My “pail” is a white basic step lid trashcan that I purchased at Target.  My pail liner is a Bummis XL bag.  I wash diapers about every second or third day.  My wash routine is this: I remove the liner from the pail, dump everything into the washer, throw the pail liner on top, start a cold rinse.  Then I add one scoop of Crunchy Clean detergent or Charlies Soap (I like to mix it up) and run a hot wash followed by a second cold rinse.  After that they either go into the dryer on medium or on the line out back.  Honestly, they haven’t been on the line all winter, but as soon as it warms up I hope to take advantage.  When they are done drying I throw them in the middle of Kendall’s floor and we sit down and stuff diapers together.  It’s a fun little routine 🙂

Do you recommend a specific brand of baby wipes or diaper rash cream/ointment?  What about detergent?

When I use cloth diapers, I like to use cloth wipes, too.  I bought several 6 packs of thin Circo baby washcloths from Target and they have worked like a charm.  I just spray one with a solution of water and a few drops of baby shampoo and wipe.  I have a squirt bottle for my diaper bag and do the same thing out and about.  We’ve used Aveeno and Burts Bees diaper cream with no incident.  As mentioned above, I like to alternate Charlies Soap, which we use on the rest of our laundry, and Crunchy Clean Diaper Detergent.

How do covers fit into the picture?  Are they necessary, or just something for decoration?

Covers are necessary for fitteds, like Kissaluvs, contours and prefolds.  You do not use them with all-in-one diapers or pocket diapers.

What do you do with a dirty cloth diaper when you’re out in public?  Someone recommended that we use disposable diapers for travel and public outings and cloth at home.

I have two Wahmies regular wet bags in rotation.  I keep one in my bag and throw the dirty diaper in there and zip it up.  Sometimes that diaper has poop in it.  I have NEVER had an issue with it stinking.  I just remember to take it out and empty it as soon as I get home.  Using cloth while out is just as easy as using a disposable, and it’s fun!  Practice your speech.  People will see you with them and have tons of questions.  It’s the perfect opportunity for some cloth diaper advocacy.  As far as long trips go, we successfully traveled for ten days over Thanksgiving with cloth diapers.  We knew we would be able to wash them where we were staying (my dad’s) so we brought them.  However, when we are going to be at a hotel or someplace with no access to a washer for more than 48 hours, we do use Nature Babycare disposables.

How much has the poop changed now that he’s started solids?

Well, it stinks, and it’s never the same.  You never know what color it’s going to be.  There is a bit of a transition phase that many people call peanut butter poo.  It’s just like you would imagine, the consistency of peanut butter.  This is when cloth diapering can get really frustrating.  Nobody wants to spend 5 minutes over a toilet scraping poop off a diaper. That is why, if it is at all possible, I highly recommend doing the flushable liners from the start.  Like, the minute after that kid eats his first mouth full of cereal, there had better be a large liner in that diaper.  Trust me.  Eventually the poop with thicken and harden.  Some days you’ll get ploppable little turdlets.  Sometimes it’s more of a cowpie, but most of the time it’s very easy to get it off of the diaper.

My husband is a SAHD and not exactly thrilled with cloth diapering.  Is it possible for him to just leave the dirty diapers for me to handle when I get home?

Sure.  My husband seems to do this a lot, although he swears it’s on accident.  In our case, I usually come into Kendall’s room hours after his morning diaper was changed to find it sitting on top of the pail, cold icky poop still inside.  Despite my, dare I call it, nagging at my husband about this annoyance, it’s really not that big of a deal.  Perhaps you can designate a seperate small Bummis bag or wet bag that your husband can place all the diapers and their contents in, and you can just take 10 minutes after you get home to flush them and get them into the pail.  If stink is an issue, I suggest sprinkling some pail freshener into the bag.  I recently tried some from the same lovely lady that makes Crunchy Clean called Poopy Powder, and I love it.  It really helps keep the smells at bay.

What does Kendall wear at night to keep from leaking?

Of all the cute diapers out there, I must admit that I love our Bum Genius 3.0  pocket diapers the most.  They are our go-to diaper, especially at night.  Since he’s in the diaper for up to 12 hours usually, though, it requires a little something extra to pump up the absorbency.  We have had tremendous luck with some hemp doublers from Artsy Fartsy Foo Foo. I bought 4 for less than $20.  I use one in combination with a regular sized BG insert at night and have never had a leak.  Never.

That’s all the time I have for tonight, but if I didn’t answer your question here or in my two previous posts:

Yes, I use cloth diapers.  No, I don’t wear Birkenstocks.

Cloth Diapering – the specifics

Please feel free to either ask below in the comments section or email me.  Also, fellow cloth diaper-ers, please feel free to chime in with tips and tricks of your own!

Kendall is 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days old.

40 thoughts on “Cloth Diaper Q&A Time”

  1. For night time, we use a FuzziBunz with either a hemp insert and microfiber insert together or stuffed with a prefold and then we add a diaper cover on top, just to catch any leaks that may appear after hour 12 (it rarely happens, but at this point changing an exhausted baby’s diaper in the middle of the night results in lots of screaming).

    We also use Nature Babycare whenever we travel on transoceanic flights or anywhere w/o a washer. For extra security, I throw a diaper cover on over those too. Diaper covers can also be used as a backup swim diaper! I think an extra diaper cover or two is well worth the investment.

  2. So I will be TTC soon and I am researching some options early. I will definitely not be able to be a SAHM. I will be looking for a daycare option that would handle cloth diapers. However, do you think that working full time and keeping up on washing the diapers would be a problem for a working mom? That is my only concern. I don’t want to make a big investment only to give up because I don’t have the time or energy. Anyone have some perspective on this? It just seems like every blog I read about cloth diapers is about a SAHM – totally wish I could be one, but it just won’t work. Thanks!

  3. Tami – I work part time and have been able to keep up with CDing. Once you get in a groove I don’t think it adds that much time to your daily routine. Good luck finding a day care option that will allow cloth!

  4. I currently use disposables for my 4 month old son. I’m very curious to try CD but a little nervous. The BG look really easy and closest to disposables. I’m not sure about doing the trial pack because it seems from your post and reviews that BG is the way to go and the pack only has one. Would you still recommend the trial pack or buying a few BG and using them with the disposables?

  5. Heather, I will be looking for a day care option, not necessarily an actual day care center. I was thinking more along the lines of a family member or someone who watches children at their home. Thanks for the input. I just needed someone to tell me that I wasn’t crazy thinking CDs and working. 🙂

  6. Anonymous- other than BGs, I use Happy Heineys, Baby Kangas and Swaddlebees velour one size fitteds. As far as pocket diapers go, I’m happy with the HH, but they aren’t as reliable at night as the BGs. However, I have to say that my opinion of them may change since they look like they have a little more room to grow than the BGs. I’m not in love, nor do I hate the Baby Kanga pocket diaper. I just won’t be buying more. The Swaddlebees one size fitteds are awesome and feel lovely, super absorbent, but not as convenient as the BGs. That pretty much all I’ve tried out so far.

    Sara, you certainly could do just that – buy a few BG 3.0s and see if they work for you while still using up your disposables. I just don’t recommend buying a ton of them all at once until you are sure they work for you. Most people I know who use them love them, but I recommend the trial because I’m pretty sure once you start cloth diapering, you’re going to be curious as to what’s out there, and it’s only $10 out of your pocket in the long run. But, again, nothing wrong with getting a few BGs to try out instead.

    Tami, obviously I can’t speak from experience on that issue. I will see if I can locate a reader who can give you some more insight.

  7. Tami – Until very recently, I was working FT and using cloth diapers (I just swtiched to PT a couple of months ago). I have an almost 3 year old (potty trained) and a 14 month old and we use a daycare center. We were lucky (and excited!) that our center was willing to do cloth even though we are the only ones there doing it. I bought enough pocket diapers with velcro (mainly Happy Heinys and BumGenius) and two medium size wetbags. I do CD laundry every other day. Even when I was working FT, I found the laundry to be pretty easy. At the end of every second day, all of the diapers and wetbags would go in the wash while I prepared dinner, played with the boys, whatever. Run out to put them in the dryer and they dried while I bathed and put the kiddos to bed. I then stuffed the diapers and put them in the wetbags while watching t.v. or chatting with DH or whatever. =)
    hop that helps!

  8. I essentially have two individual diaper stashes in rotation at any given time. One stash in the laundry and another in use. This way, I don’t have to worry if I’m too tired to sort and stuff diapers.

    I also keep quite a few prefolds on hand as backup. I can’t tell you how many times these prefolds have saved my bacon.

  9. I work fulltime and CD fulltime! I don’t find it overwhelming at all. You just need to have enough diapers to go 3 days without washing. Then you only have to wash twice a week. One worknight and once on the weekend. On the weeknight that I wash, I’m sure to throw the diapers in the wash as soon as I get home around 6pm. By the time I’ve gone through the rinse/wash/rinse cycles, the baby is washed, fed and asleep. I throw them in the dryer and get everything else ready for the next morning (bottles of BM, clothes, etc) and as soon as they’re dry, I stuff them and throw them in the diaperbag. I’m done by 10pm and ready for bed myself. You could do AIOs to avoid the stuffing of inserts, but I prefer pockets because they dry faster. I always tell myself I can aend sposies if I don’t get the laundry done, but it’s never happened! Good luck!

  10. I am a FT working, CD’ing mom. I found CD’ing overwhelming and difficult when my son was a newborn. However, I have now come back to CD’ing at age 15 months and it has been much more manageable.

    My advice would be not to invest too much money at first. Try things out, and if it doesn’t go well, put the diapers away and come back to it in a month. There is no reason to get to stressed out about it. Good Luck!

  11. I just started CDing and work full time. We’re building so that we will only have to wash every other or every third day. Honestly, the CD laundry is not bad. It doesn’t require a bunch of folding which is the hardest part. I just fold my all in ones and pockets in half and put them in his drawer. I throw them in the washer for a cold cycle. Then go back 25 min later for a hot wash cycle. Then I toss them in the dryer. It literally takes MINUTES for a load of cloth diapers. We really like the all in ones and have had no leak issues. DS even sleeps in the all in ones with no leak issues. We just use a doubler or insert laid inside. For a recommendation – we love our bumgenius diapers! So easy! Good luck!

  12. Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement about CD and working full time. Now that I know other people can manage no problem, it makes me feel better about trying it out. I’ve still got a while to go, but I like feeling more prepared.

  13. In some of your previous posts, you like the BG organic all in ones. What are your thoughts now on those? Do you like all in ones or do you prefer the pockets (as it would appear since that is what you have the most of). Why…money or how they absorb?

  14. Amy, you are right! I totally forgot about my BG organic all in one. I DO like that diaper quite a bit. In fact, for daytime use, I like it just as much as my other BG pockets. However, it’s not absorbent enough for nights and it’s not as easy for me to add extra absorbency as it is with my pockets. That being said, I still hope to get a few more down the road since they are so easy to just toss in the diaper bag and go.

  15. Hi, first let me say thank you for your blog. This is only the second time leaving a comment, but it has entertained me for months and months. Thanks for your last reply, that helped a bunch! I am trying to create a registry and notice that bumgenius 3.0 are not offered on Amazon, only the one size pocket. Target has a bumgenius 2 pack, but doesn’t say what version. I can’t figure out what the difference is or if it is 3.0, any help? TIA

  16. From another CD user:

    I love reading about other people’s CD experiences! Thanks so much for posting all this…

    I use a diaper service, so we are full time on prefolds and covers. At night we use hemp liners underneath the cotton diaper for added absorbancy, and since starting that we have never had a leak.

    Also, you mentioned liking Thirsties better than the Bummis– we’ve had equal numbers of leaks with both (although that number is very few!)

    And lastly, you don’t actually need a fastener for the prefolds if you’re using covers– the cover holds it in place well enough. We used Snappis at first, but not anymore, and the diapers stay in place just fine. Especially with the Bummis and the Thirsties, we tuck the diaper into the flap in the front so that we can actually fit the diaper into the cover ahead of time– then putting it on is a piece of cake.

  17. You single handedly have me sold on giving cloth diapers a try when I have my first baby at the end of April. Thank you for taking the time to put together such thorough information. I still have one question – I am confused as to which diapers require the flushable liners. Do some require them and some don’t, or you can just put flushable liners into any cloth diaper? Where do you get your flushable liners. I think I am going to go with the newborn trial package you suggested, will liners come with it?

  18. Amy – the one size pocket diapers listed at Amazon.com are the same as the ones listed at Target.com. Their official name is the Bum Genius 3.0 one size cloth diaper. HTH!

    Leah- awesome feedback! As I’ve mentioned, I’m not experienced with prefolds, so I love that you added to the conversation. That’s great to hear that covers take the place of fasteners. It makes prefolds seem less daunting to me. I still mean to try them out someday.

    Monica- that is great! In my experience, all the diapers have needed flushable liners. Although, the poop does tend to repel better from some diapers, like my Happy Heineys, I just don’t chance it and always stick a liner in there. I got mine from http://www.peppermint.com and http://www.moderndiapers.com, but I think just about every cloth diaper website sells them. I don’t think they come with the newborn trial package. Keep in mind, though, that if you are able to exclusively breastfeed, you won’t need them while you have a newborn in diapers. They are only needed when you have started solids or if the baby is on any formula. Good luck to you!

  19. Great post! I’m bookmarking away.

    My DH’s main concern is the poo, etc, somehow making its way into our regular laundry. He’s so concerned about this that though he’s willing to give CDing a try when the time comes, he wants to build out our tiny laundry room to add a second washing machine that will only wash diapers. I think he’s insane and that poo, etc, is not going to float into other loads of laundry that follow the CD cycles but he doesn’t believe me.

  20. Brett, I think that is such a common concern for a lot of guys, but I swear to you that had never, ever, ever been a problem for us. Ever. And explain it to him this way – what would you do with a onesie with poop on it? You would wash it, right? Every parent does and in the same washer they wash everything else. You aren’t going to be purposefully putting any poop in there other than breastfeeding poop, which is like the consistency (and color!) of Grey Poupon (and now I’m laughing and typing that). Everything else you flush. But, hey, if that’s what he really wants to do, more power to him.

    Something tells me he would get along great with Scott. I bet Scott could ease some of his concerns.

  21. We’ve been CDing for most of our son’s 4-month life now and love it. I had a follow up question to a question from the blog. Have you been able to use the aveeno and burt’s bees diaper creams and been able to wash the creams out of the diapers? I was under the impression that no diaper cream could come out without using Dawn to strip the diaper. We also use BumGenius diapers. Jack had a pretty bad diaper rash this past week and we used “butt paste” with a flushable liner to heal that one. It worked fine. Just surprised you don’t use a liner is all. 🙂

  22. Leah, we’ve used both Aveeno and Burts Bees with no problems and never had to use Dawn to wash it out. It’s always washed out just fine with our regular laundry routine. To my knowledge, the creams you need to avoid have cod oil in them (?). We do use liners, but only because of the sticky poop now. 🙂

  23. Hi Jill! Quick question…how many of each of the covers in the NB and Small sizes did you get to go with the Kissaluvs size 0? I just ordered 6 Thirsties in NB, but then re-read your post and I think I misunderstood! Should I get 6 of the Small size, too? I also got 24 of the BG 3.0 OS, so God willing, it works as well for us as it did for you all! Also, side note while I’m here (!), love your blog and so excited for all of the opportunities it’s bringing your way! Much deserved!

  24. Hey American Girl! You really only need about three covers in rotation at any given time, so if you’re going to stick with Thirsties, which I think is an excellent choice, I would return three of the NB sizes (are these actually XS? Didn’t know they sell NB) and get three smalls. And thanks for all the well wishes 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions.

  25. I am due in September and expect that I will be home for the first few months and then back to work (FT) after 3 months or so at home. I would love to CD but I am worried about washing. Currently we live in a building without laundry, so I have to cart everything to a laundromat. There used to be diaper services in the area (I live in Brooklyn, NY), but all of them seem to have closed down except one which consistently gets horrid reviews online for their lack of reliability (who wants a bag of soiled diapers to sit on the stoop waiting to be picked up for more than a day!!). I am wondering if it is at all feasible to do diaper washing once a week, instead of 2 to 3 times a week? At least after month 3 when the number of diapers a day seems to go down a bit. Is it just going to be super expensive to have enough diapers to do this? Are there other considerations that I don’t know about having never done this before?

    Thanks for the great posts!!

  26. @Sarah It may be possible, I was down to doing laundry about every 5 days, but it can lead to stinky diapers, not just when in the pail, but long-term, when they are not cleaned every 2-3 days. I had some problems with that. The diapers that seem to retain smells the least are prefolds, which also happen to be the cheapest (both to start out with and to replace if you do run into smell issues that you can’t strip away). Could also try using gDiapers if getting to the laundromat is too challenging!

  27. Hi

    This is a great post. I learned a lot. I am from Canada and I was wondering if you know of anywhere in Canada that might have the same program with the rental kissaluvs as Sunshine Diapers?

    Thanks so much!

  28. Hi, Jill! Thank you so much for all the helpful CD information!!

    This may seem like a dumb question… but it wasn’t totally clear to me from your posts whether you drop both parts of the BumGenius 3.0 pocket diaper (cover plus insert) in the dirty laundry pail each time you have to change K.’s diaper.

    Is it sometimes the case that you just need to remove the insert, and can carry on using the same BumGenius pocket diaper with a fresh insert?

    If not, how does the pocket diaper function differently than the BumGenius all-in-one? (Other than it sounds like the pocket diapers dry more quickly after being laundered.)

    Thank you!

    1. Yeah, you put both the inserts and the cover in the laundry pail. I remove the inserts before dropping them in. The same company that makes Bum Genius now makes a new diaper called Flip that claims you can reuse the cover and just remove the insert, but I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet.

      The big differences between the pockets and AIOs are you can adjust the absorbency of a pocket by adding extra inserts or hemp inserts, and yes, they also dry faster.

      Hope that clears it up for you!

  29. I am so glad that I found this website! I really want to use CD’s when I deliver in July but I feel lost in all of the options. My mom used the basic cloth diaper and rubber pants on both me and my sister and I was considering doing that until I saw all of these other options. I like the idea of the gDiapers but I have heard mixed reviews. Part of the reason why we want to CD is the cost savings so I am wondering what is the cheapest option? Thanks!

    1. Well, the “cheapest” I believe is still going to be prefolds and covers, but you can also check out sites like DiaperSwappers.com and snag gently used pockets, fitteds and all in ones for cheap. You could probably build a pretty nice stash by getting some good quality prefolds (like from GreenMountainDiapers.com) and some Thirsties covers and some gently used pocket diapers and/or fitted diapers.

      I haven’t tried gDiapers, so I can’t say much on the subject. GL with the journey. If you have more questions, you can always shoot me an email – jill at babyrabies dot com

  30. ok so my son is 9 mos old and has been slowly getting into solids. his poops are peanut-buttery, and i use imsevimse flushable liners, but many times, the poop gets outside of the liner, and what the liner does catch is partly stuck to his bottom. i don’t have room to move the changing table into the bathroom, and i can’t leave him on the table while i take the diaper to the bathroom, and with him kicking around he gets his feet in the poopy diaper and well, you get the picture. what do i do? i really want to continue cd-ing but this is so frustrating.

    1. First, I hate those liners. HATE. THEM. I would get different ones that are wider. I’ll try to email you a link to the ones I like. I have a pail next to the changing station that I rest the diaper on top of until I van get to it. I always clean Kendall up and rediaper him first. Then I take care of the diaper. I hope that helps!

  31. Do you use the powder detergent? I am using the liquid Charlie’s Soap detergent and have been using 1/8 of a cup. Is this too much?

    1. Yeah, I use the powdered, so I’m not sure how much you’re supposed to use with the liquid. I would say just go by what is recommended on the package for a regular load. I use the recommended amount of the powdered detergent.

  32. I know I’m a little late to this thread but I recently found your blog after finding out I was pregnant and I am really interested in CDing.

    I’ve read all 3 of your CD posts and was wondering something. Do you use a sprayer at all or just throw out the flushable liners to remove the poop?

    You make it sound so easy and that is really encouraging! Thanks a million!

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