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Welcome to cloth diaper 101!
Cloth diapers have gone a long way since the olden days when our grandmothers used to use them. It was more challenging back then but luckily today, technology and new techniques and materials have made it much easier for mamas out there to be using cloth diapers!
There are also lots of types to choose from so there is something for everyone. Nowadays, using cloth diapers is getting more popular because it is more eco-friendly as well as economical. At the same time, it is also important to have the proper knowledge and information in order to ensure you are making the most out of cloth diapering.
Let’s jump into cloth diaper 101:
How To Use Cloth Diapers
If you are still new to the world of cloth diapers, you may want to test out first which kind or type will suit you and your baby. There are a lot of options to choose from. Most of them have velcro closures so you don’t need to worry about pins and such.
Most also have snaps along the top of the diaper in order to adjust the waistline. Some even have adjustable leg elastics in order to customize the fit even more.
Cloth diapers usually need to be changed at least every two hours and you can tell that it needs to be changed if it hangs a little lower and feels stiff.
Once you remove the diaper from the baby, put it inside the diaper pail right away if they are just wet. If not, you need to make sure you remove the poop into the toilet or use a cloth diaper sprayer like this one.
You can then take the pail to the washing machine when it’s time to wash them and empty the contents including the pail liner. Pre-rinse them in cold water then do an extra wash in hot water on a delicate cycle. Hang dry on a clothesline since this is more effective when it comes to removing stains.
Types of Cloth Diapers
These are very easy and simple to use. They are the most similar to traditional diapers so it won’t be too foreign to use especially for first-timers. The absorbent liner is permanently attached and it is all in one piece. This does mean it might take a little longer to dry since all the layers are put together and it could also get a bit pricey. You can find single sizes or adjustable ones.
These cloth diapers are very affordable (costing around $100 for a lot) and easy to wash and dry quickly as well. They are called “pre-fold” since the flats are already pre-folded and the absorbency is usually in the middle section area.
Contour Cloth Diapers
These are like the pre-fold cloth diapers but they are tapered around the leg area so they don’t need to be folded. Because they don’t have their own closures, you also need to use a pin to secure them.
These look more like traditional cloth diapers and you can fold them in different ways and customize them according to your preference.
This kind of cloth diaper still needs a cover but it also has elastic legs and a contoured shape which is more “fitting”, which also means that lesser leaks. Because there is no folding involved, it could also be easier to use.
This style is composed of a waterproof outer cover and an inner fabric sewn together forming a pocket. The pocket is then stuffed with an absorbent liner and it also has a built-in closing system, usually a snap closure system, which means no need to pin.
All in two Cloth Diapers
They are similar to pocket diapers but the liner will be directly against the child’s skin and they also dry quicker than the all-in-one diapers.
Hybrid Pocket Cloth Diapers
This diaper still has a cover but you could choose from either a fabric liner (which is more affordable) or a disposable liner, which is often organic and biodegradable but could be pricier.
Cloth Diaper Inserts
Cloth diaper inserts are what does all the absorbing. You can even put two inserts in the evening if you want to make sure that no leaking will occur and it will do its job the whole night. They could be composed of different materials like microfiber, Minky, bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp.
This kind of material absorbs liquids quickly and is also affordable and the one used by manufacturers a lot.
This holds two times more liquid than a microfiber insert of the same size and is also thin.
Cloth Diaper Covers
PUL (Polyurethane Laminate)
Is made up of polyester with PUL coating making it waterproof. These covers usually have snaps or Velcro closures.
These are natural and are super absorbent, which makes them perfect for nighttime. They are usually a pull-on style, which can also act like clothing.
Fleece covers are similar to wool covers but they are more affordable and are also great if your baby is sensitive to wool.
How To Wash Cloth Diapers
How to wash your diapers is a must in cloth diaper 101.
A good washing routine is vital when it comes to using cloth diapers. You need to buy the right detergent that will work best for your cloth diapers. If you have hard water at home, you can also use water softener.
Once you remove wet diapers, you can put them directly in the pail but for if they are soiled, you would need to scrape or spray them off unto the toilet first before tossing them in the pail.
The normal time frame for you to wash your diapers would be every 2-3 days in order to prevent the smell from getting too strong.
You can also check out the washing instructions that the diaper manufacturer is giving in order to get advice on how best to clean and wash your cloth diapers that will also help to decrease unnecessary wear and tear.
How To Strip Cloth Diapers
When you have been using cloth diapers for a while, you will begin to notice that simply washing them won’t work anymore and the task of washing them might be too much.
The smell might also become worse. When this happens, it’s time to strip your cloth diapers. This process is basically heavy-duty washing your cloth diapers. Here’s how:
1. Using the blue liquid Dawn dish detergent, wash your cloth diapers in hot water using one teaspoon for high-efficiency machines and one tablespoon for regular washing machines.
2. The key ingredient to use is to add half a cup of bleach in the wash cycle.
3. Continue doing a few more hot water rinses without detergent in order to fully cleanse and remove suds
4. If you aren’t comfortable with using bleach, you can use other natural alternatives like using lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide together with your normal laundry soap.
5. Strip your cloth diapers every 3 to 4 months.
Must-Have Cloth Diaper Supplies
Using any normal detergent for your cloth diapers is a no-no. Using one that is safe and gentle enough for your baby’s skin is ideal. The Rockin’ Green detergent works great!
This can be a simple cloth or flushable fabric that helps preserve the life of your cloth diapers and also minimizes stains, as well as reducing moisture against baby’s skin. It also makes dealing with poopy diapers way less gross!
This device will be hooked into the clean water supply in your toilet and you can use it to spray the diaper clean. You don’t need to touch any of the waste. This is a great way of removing those solids.
Cloth Diaper Pails
Another tip for cloth diaper 101, get a good diaper pail. You need these to store your cloth diapers. They are also very important so you have somewhere to store soiled diapers in without the odor escaping.
You Have Two Options For Cloth Diaper Pails:
This means the diapers are being stored in a pail of water and are left to soak until it is time to wash them.
It is similar to a trash can that is lined with either a waterproof pail liner like this one. I also recommend trying a stainless steel garbage can. The plastic ones can soak up more of the dirty diaper odor.
Best Cloth Diaper Brands
You can find a lot of variety with this brand. They are good at preventing leaks and can be easily stuffed. They also have a lot of closure styles and options. They are affordable but very functional too!
These diapers are the hybrid kind and you can use a cloth or disposable liner. Cloth liners are placed in a front-loading pocket for easy removal while the disposable liners are secured with an end flap. It also has soft fleece along the back making it really comfy. Moms have also raved that they are easy to put on, take off, and also wash well!
Alva cloth diapers are an affordable brand selling the pocket style cloth diapers. You also have different insert options like microfiber, bamboo, or a microfiber and bamboo blend. There are also a variety of prints and designs to choose from. They are also very durable and can hold up for a long time.
Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
When it comes to cost, cloth diapers are much more affordable compared to disposable ones. And if you have multiple children, having cloth diapers will really reduce your diaper expenses and needs especially if you will be able to reuse your cloth diapers on multiple children.
Disposable diapers are plastic and have chemicals in them that can put your baby at risk! If you want to lessen baby’s exposure to chemicals, then cloth diapers are a better option.
Using cloth diapers are also better for the environment and also decrease carbon impact compared to disposables. In effect, you are reducing the number of diapers placed in landfills.
Cloth diapers, in general, are softer compared to disposable diapers so that’s one more advantage you can consider. When it comes to cloth diapers, you can also notice that baby gets fewer rashes and leaks – they are also less likely to have blowouts.
If you are potty training, cloth diapers are more effective since baby becomes more aware of the wet sensation than if you use disposable diapers so it makes them learn quicker. Another advantage of cloth diapers is that they come in a lot of cute and interesting designs compared to disposable ones, which is always an added bonus.
Cloth Diaper 101 Frequently Asked Questions
Where to buy cloth diapers?
You can find different kinds of cloth diapers online on Amazon for example or you can check out your usual local baby stores.
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
Most of the time, cloth diapers need to be changed more often compared to disposable ones so you have to keep this in mind. This means that you would have to take into account the days between washing.
First, you need to determine how many diapers your child will need within 24 hours and multiply it by the days between washing.
If you are unsure, it is always better to have extra diapers on hand rather than having none left once they will all be in the wash. The more diapers you have as well, the less washing you would be doing, meaning wear and tear is reduced and it can last longer. In the end, this will help maintain its value.
For example, if you are using a cover system, 24-36 diapers with 6 covers are enough for infants.
For toddlers, 18-24 diapers with 4 covers will suffice. If you are using pocket style cloth diapers, 24-36 is also good.
Using cloth diapers can be beneficial because of advanced technology and because the whole process has evolved making it easier than before.
You will be able to save money + there are lots of brands and styles to choose from.
They actually leak less compared to disposable ones as well and if you take good care of them! Cloth diapering may not be for everyone but it is a good option to consider.
Now that you’ve been through cloth diaper 101, what do you think about cloth diapers? Would you use them?