24 Hours With Cloth Diapers {Contributor}

I have loved cloth diapers since I had my first baby nearly 8 (!!) years ago, and I’m so stoked contributor Suzanne Davis of BeBehBlog.com joined this year’s Make Cloth Mainstream challenge! This is a super awesome peek into a day in the life for those of you who are curious about cloth diapers and how it may work for your family.


This April, as part of a yearly initiative called Make Cloth Mainstream, I joined the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge and became someone who uses cloth diapers. I was previously NOT that person. In fact, when my oldest son was still a baby I sincerely attempted to become that person and failed. Super failed. So the idea that I would try again when I have two and a half more kids is surprising, especially to me.

Even more surprising than me joining the challenge is me finishing the challenge. I made it three weeks without resorting to a single disposable diaper. Can I promise I will never ever use one again? Absolutely not. But by the end of the summer I’m going to have TWO kids in diapers and ain’t nobody got the money for that. Plus, and I really hate to say this part because I sound shallow and silly, cloth diapers are so cuuuuuute. I hardly bother to put pants on Lincoln anymore.

I know Jill has been a huge proponent of cloth for years, so I might be preaching to the choir a little bit if I just talked about how we made the switch. So instead, I’m going to give you a play-by-play of approximately 24 hours of our life in cloth diapers and YOU can tell ME what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, and what could make our lives easier.

I’m still really new at this and although the super nice sponsors behind the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge gave me everything I needed to get started, I’m 100% sure the things I don’t know could fill several books.

Monday, 8 am:

monday 8 am

This week is spring break, so our days are both busier and more relaxed than usual. Linc apparently slept in the twin bed last night (praise be to husbands who deal with non-sleeping babies so pregnant ladies can rest) and was still sleeping this morning. He’s in a Rumparooz pocket diaper with both inserts for extra absorbancy and so far we’ve had no overnight leaks.

Monday, 8:15 am:

monday 815 am

These diapers were actually washed yesterday, so this morning I have a clean supply. The ones on top are Applecheeks and Rumparooz (plus one Thirsties cover), which dry really fast just laying out. The ones in the dryer are the Thirsties all-in-ones and Smart Bottoms all-in-ones, plus a couple wet bags and inserts I ran on low.

Monday, 8:30 am:

monday 830 am 1

monday 830 am 2

I took a few minutes to stuff all my pocket diapers so they’re ready to go, then changed Linc, who insisted on holding this giant train the entire time. His nighttime diaper was disgusting and I hadn’t been expecting a poop so I hadn’t put a disposable liner in it (REGRETS!). That means it’s definitely going to need sprayed.

Monday, 8:35 am:

monday 835 am 2

This is my comically small and old downstairs bathroom. That is the brilliant qdspray that attaches (and easily unattaches) to even my stupid sink and a Spray Pal to hold my gross, gross diaper and prevent poop splatter.

These two things have been KEY to my cloth diapering success. Toddler poop is disgusting (which is why I kindly edited that photo for you) and not having to deal with it for more than a few seconds is the only way I can handle it.

Monday, 9:30 am:

monday 930 am

My Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. bag holds ALL THE THINGS and also has backpack straps. We’re headed to the zoo, so I packed two all-in-one diapers (a Thirsties and a Smart Bottoms), my Applecheeks disposable liners to stuff inside, a mini wet bag with reusable wipes and booty spray, my travel wet bag for used diapers and about 10,000 other things because I have three children.

Monday, 9:35 am:

monday 935 am


I will flash-forward here through the nightmare that was a drive that took literally twice as long as it should, parking a mile from the zoo, hauling all our stuff through the herds of people and finding our friends in the mess. By the time we got inside the zoo it was time for lunch already.

Monday, 12:30 pm:

monday 1230 pm

Quick diaper change for a grumpy baby on our picnic blanket. It only took a few seconds (no poop!) and then we were ready to go. We spent a few hours letting the kids be insane and burn off as much spring break energy as possible and then headed home.

Monday, 3:30 pm:

monday 330 pm

Stopped for ice cream on the way home. I checked Linc’s diaper and decided he was good to go without a change. Those are some really tired, really filthy kids back there.

Monday, 4:00 pm:

monday 400 pm 1

monday 400 pm 2

When we get home and head upstairs for baths I grab all my wet bags. The big Kanga Care wet bag I keep in the powder room to toss in diapers I spray/change downstairs, the travel one was from today and the extra diaper was the one I took off the baby before I threw him in the tub.

Luckily my washer and dryer are in the main bathroom so I pulled everything out and tossed them in for their first rinse (double rinse on cold with just a tiny bit of Allen’s Naturally liquid detergent) while the kids splashed around. After bath I put a cover with a hemp/cotton insert on Linc. He was very extra completely tired from skipping his nap and our busy day.

Monday: 5:00 pm:

monday 500 pm

Came upstairs to restart the diapers on their “real” wash (wash on heavy with hot water/cold rinse x2 with a 1/4 cup of the Allen’s Naturally powder detergent). With 5 people in our family I was already doing a ton of laundry, so I also pulled dry kids clothes out of the dryer to sort and put away, pre-treated everything that needed to go in the wash tonight – like Caroline’s dress from the zoo she literally SOAKED in mud – and pulled all the underpants/pants apart in the hamper. WHY CAN KIDS NOT DO THAT THEMSELVES????

Monday, 7:00 pm:

monday 700 pm

Caroline made (most of) our dinner. I supervised but she’s currently obsessed with doing as many grown-up things as possible, so I’m letting her help as much as I safely can. In case you were wondering, it was chicken fried rice and it was delicious. Monday dinner is late because the boys are at Judo. This is not cloth diaper related, except that she loves playing grown-up and that also includes diapers.

Monday, 8:00 pm:

monday 800 pm

Pajamas and one last diaper change for Linc. Caroline helped again. I think maybe I should give her most of the credit for the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge.

Monday, 8:15 pm:

monday 815 pm 1

monday 815 pm 2

Twelve hours after I grabbed my clean diapers off the dryer, I put more clean diapers on top to air dry. That Rumparooz is a little stained after the nightmare poop from last night so I’ll put them out in the sun tomorrow and that will lighten them right up. Now it’s time for tooth brushing and baby bedtime!

Tuesday, 8:00 am:

tuesday 800 am


Tuesday, 8:15 am:

tuesday 815 am

My helpers and I put the diapers from yesterday’s wash outside to sun bleach. We have afternoon plans so I grabbed them around noon just in case it rained but 4 hours brightened them right up. It’s really like magic. I won’t have to do cloth laundry at all today unless for some reason Linc goes through 9 diapers between this moment and bedtime.

So, cloth diaper people, am I officially one of you? Or am I doing this COMPLETELY wrong? Does this pretty much look like everyone’s cloth diaper days?

For the record, one poop a day is average but not predictable. Some days it is 4 poops and I hate everything. Does cloth diapering always involve talking about poop so much?

I would say that the number one thing I learned from this challenge is that you do not actually have to know everything about cloth diapers to cloth diaper.

I do not know how cloth diapers work with a newborn. I do not know anything about why hemp is better/worse than microfiber. I do not know how to strip diapers. I do not understand the nuances of using Tide vs. other laundry detergents. I haven’t had to troubleshoot rashes or leaking or poopsplosions. I was not 100% prepared to make the switch. But you know what? It doesn’t matter.

If any of that stuff becomes necessary, I can figure it out. I’m in a great Facebook group called The Cloth Diaper Experiment where people are more than happy to help with even my dumbest questions. If I never become a cloth diaper expert I can still be someone who cloth diapers. And I’m pretty excited about that.

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  1. I love my cloth diapers! I exclusively use flats and covers and use an old plastic garbage can for a pail. Ridiculously simple, cheap, and low maintenance. I do have a stash of all in ones also as my husband won’t touch flats and makes it easier if my mom babysits also.

  2. Haley Ferguson Dillon on

    So what happens to that plastic funnel thing after you’ve had it in the toilet and it comes in contact with poop water? Do you now have to disinfect it too? How do you collapse it without dripping dirty water all over or dirtying a towel?

    I’ve always been curious about cloth and felt guilty about how much garbage we generate, but we have a high efficiency washer and I work full-time so it doesn’t seem like a good fit.

  3. We occasionally use an eco sposie when on holidays but otherwise do only cloth for our 1 year old.

    In Australia there is a big push to discourage us from using flushable wipes. Even the eco ones. This includes nappy liners. They are flushable and may disintegrate in time but they cause huge clogs in council sewerage systems.

    For poop we use a microfleece liner as poop mostly just rolls off it into toilet. Then gets washed with nappies. I know of others flushing in the toilet and using a spray like yours which sound good.

    We wash only every second day. Nappies go into a bin that has a washable liner. Take the whole thing out and chuck in the machine. We’ve not needed to do lots of extra rinses. We add one extra rinse to the cycle. And yes the sun is amazing!

    Your son’s bum is very cute!

  4. Love cloth diapers! I worry you might run into some trouble with your wash routine. Extra rinses can lead to mineral build up and repelling, especially if you have hard water. And more detergent is actually better. Somehow the rumor that less detergent is better got started but usually it leads to problems in the long run. After all, you’re cleaning poop! Detergent works by binding to the dirt and removing it from the laundry so when there’s more dirt you want more detergent! I like fluff love university for setting up a good wash routine.

    • Luckily we don’t have hard water at all, so it makes things easier. The Allen’s Naturally detergent has specific cloth diaper instructions on it, which is what I was following, but maybe I’ll try leaving out the extra rinse after the wash. I was worried about detergent build up, which is something people seem to deal with a lot! Thanks for the advice!

      • We have found that one rinse before and an extra rinse AFTER a heavy wash is good enough to avoid detergent build up – the one rinse before, heavy wash, and a rinse after takes long enough with an HE machine – but I have like 20 pocket diapers so I only wash every 4 days – thankfully don’t have to do more often – I’m sure I would be constantly forgetting to restart the machine and would be out of diapers

  5. Jessie Frank on

    I used recommended cloth diaper detergent with my first. After a few months we had tons of rashes and the diapers were repelling. Luckily, I was able to find Fluff Love on Facebook before my second was born. They helped me strip my diapers so that they didn’t repel anymore and set up a good wash routine. A quick wash with line one of Tide, and borax for our hard water. Then a heavy duty wash with a full scoop of Tide and borax added again for the hard water. 19 months in and we have never had a problem, and hardly ever a rash. Check out their website. Here is a link to their section on how to wash cloth.http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/how-to-wash-cloth-diapers/

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