February 12, 2015

Cloth Diapering Part 3 – Basic Care

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

 Whew!  We made it through part 1 and part 2 (check them out if you haven’t already)…now onto the grande finale:  Basic Care (and it really is basic!)

There are several ways you can store your diapers. We first tried the wet pail method (where you essentially keep them in a container with water) but it got sooooo stinky. yucko.  I then bought a stainless steel garbage pail and a pail liner and that’s been perfect!  No smell (and we keep it in our bedroom, so that matters), and super easy.  When it’s laundry day, I dump the whole bag, liner and all, into the washer and that’s that.

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

The kind of detergent you get is really important!  You can’t just use your regular stuff, as it will cause buildup on your diapers and eventually render them ineffective.  There are a lot of great brands, but you just need to try some out and find out what works best for you.  Our first detergent cleaned great, but gave Jay sores.  We switched to Seventh Generation and haven’t had any problems! I found this chart really useful in picking out our detergent.

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

I’m going to be honest here…when it comes to washing, your washer makes a difference.  If you have a new fancy energy efficient washer, you might have to do extra washes because many people say they’re not as effective at cleaning diapers.  Older top-loading washers with central agitators clean the best.  We have a Speed Queen and looove it.

I wash diapers about every 2-3 days as that’s how long it takes us to get through our stash of 24.  I generally do 3 loads to get clean, no-stink diapers:

1) Cold – No detergent this time…we’re just getting the poop out

2) Hot – I use about 1 Tbsp of detergent, but you need to play around with it and see how much your washer and diapers need

3) Cold- Makes sure no detergent or residue is left

Note: Don’t skip the last cycle!  I made the mistake of thinking it wasn’t necessary, and after several months ended up with really stinky diapers, which I then had to strip.

As far as water level and cycle, generally, the more water you use, the cleaner the diapers.  Obviously heavy washes clean better also, but there’s definitely some wiggle room.  Do some experimenting and find what combination works best for you and your washing machine.  Even with a full 24 diapers, I rarely have to use a high water level or heavy cycle.

Eventually, you might have to strip your diapers.  The reality of cloth is that no matter how well you take care of them, you’ll probably end up with some buildup.  Good news is that stripping is really easy!  5-6 hot (but not boiling) loads should do the trick!

Hang drying diapers in the sun is really the best method as the sun bleaches any stains out (it really does work!), but if I’m honest, we hardly ever do that.  With a toddler and a baby, well, you know the saying “ain’t nobody got time for that!”  95% of the time, we just throw them on our drying rack at night and they’re dry by the next morning.  You can also machine dry the inserts, but we prefer to save the energy if we can. (Note: most covers should not be put in the dryer, but follow your manufacturer’s instructions)

Cloth Diapering is Easy (A Basic Tutorial) www.bestofbabylady.com

So let’s quickly review all of the aspects of care:

  • Use (pre-stuff or on the fly)
  • Store (garbage can with pail liner)
  • Cold wash, hot wash, cold wash (with proper detergent)
  • Hang dry (outside or on drying rack)

See, totally doable…if you’re thinking about cloth diapering, take the plunge!  It’s worth it and so manageable.  If you have any other questions you’d like me to address, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them!



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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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  • deliberatemom@gmail.com'
    Reply Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom February 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Oh the diaper days.

    I remember air drying my diapers (I loved how white they get from the sun… nature’s bleach)!

    Great tips here.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely evening.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #34My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      I miss the air drying days…no time for that right now. It’s 9:30pm and I still haven’t finished washing the diapers. No way they’re air drying today 🙂

  • mmstreeter1@gmail.com'
    Reply Michelle February 13, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I like the comment above use to dry my daughters’ diapers outdoors. They were white, smelled fresh and actually enjoyed doing them. Cloth diapers have improved since my days. Glad to see young moms using them. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you Michelle! And yes, cloth diapers are so different from what they used to be!

  • nathanaclayaz@gmail.com'
    Reply Nathana Clay February 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Thanks for the helpful tips! We are only 7 weeks out, so I am really starting to do my research! 🙂
    Nathana Clay recently posted…Make Your “Yes” CountMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Good for you for getting on the research! It can be a bit overwhelming with all of the options, but once you settle on something, you’ll find your groove!

  • monaco.nelle@gmail.com'
    Reply nelle monaco February 16, 2015 at 11:56 am

    again- you have encouraged me to hopefully do this someday- i have enjoyed all three segments! such great advice!!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      Oh I’m so glad! I hope you end up loving it 🙂

  • shewhofears@gmail.com'
    Reply Jordyn February 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Ah! I am so happy to have stumbled across your blog! I am expecting my first in May and we are planning on using cloth diapers!! Thank you for this post!
    Jordyn recently posted…Nursery Inspo BoardMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Jordyn thank you for your sweet words! I’m grateful to have you reading my blog 🙂 I checked out your blog and love it…following! Congratulations on your pregnancies…babies are awesome. I hope you end up loving cloth diapers 🙂

  • lifewithlorelai@gmail.com'
    Reply Life With Lorelai February 17, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Great discussion. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – We hope to see you again next week.
    Life With Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #24My Profile

  • baksha5@gmail.com'
    Reply Tanya February 17, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Fantastic post. I cloth diapered my youngest – 14 years ago(eeekkkk what happened to my baby!) and I wish I would have had access to great posts like this one when I had questions.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Tanya thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 It’s an encouragement to me to know that other women find my posts helpful.

  • morningmotivatedmom@gmail.com'
    Reply Emily February 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I did cloth diapers with my first daughter and loved it! Then I got lazy with my second…I need to read your Cloth Diaper series and hope it motivates me to get back into it! I know I just need to get back into the groove.
    Emily recently posted…10 Favorite Baby BooksMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Emily I totally get the laziness! We got a ton of disposable diapers as baby shower gifts with our second. By the time they ran out I was like “ugh, I have to get back into cloth diapering now?” But then after a day I remembered how totally easy they are and never looked back 🙂

  • sweetlittleonesblog@gmail.com'
    Reply Jess February 19, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Great post! It’s so hard to find info about cloth diapers all in one place. It’s so overwhelming when you start! We used cloth for our first, but couldn’t for our second (because of severe eczema). I’m looking forward to using them again with our third. We use pre-filter or fitteds with covers. For some reason, the ones with inserts didn’t work for us. I’ll have to keep 7th Generation in mind. We use Country Save but you can only get it online. And have you tried just running a cold rinse after your hot cycle? That’s what we did and it worked very well! It’ll save you from having to remember to go back in to start the load again (if you have an auto rinse option)! I know I always forget to go back in and restart a liad! Haha. Thanks for sharing this with us for Tuesday Talk! – Jess
    Jess recently posted…Four Bean Vegetarian ChiliMy Profile

    • sweetlittleonesblog@gmail.com'
      Reply Jess February 19, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Wow, I need to proofread…pre-folds (not filters) and loads (not liads)!
      Jess recently posted…Lent 2015: Choosing the Better PartMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      I’ll have to try just the cold rinse! For a while I skipped the last wash altogether and our diapers got so stinky from that! At that point I became pretty militant about getting a last good wash in 🙂 I’ll have to see if I can get away with just a rinse 🙂

  • leesha@living-contently.com'
    Reply Leesha @ Living Contently February 19, 2015 at 10:14 am

    We’re expecting our first little one in a few months, and I plan on cloth diapering. I’m trying to do all my research upfront, so I know how to care for the diapers and make for a smooth transition. Thanks for the great info!
    Leesha @ Living Contently recently posted…Frugal Tips and Tricks to Cut Your Heating CostsMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      It seems like a lot of information to take in, but once you hit your groove, it’s usually smooth sailing!

  • mayfield.bm123@gmail.com'
    Reply BrittanyM February 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    The crazy thing is you really made this sound so simple to me, and clothe diapers have always scared the … out of me…literally lol. I love the way you broke it down step by step, I think its just the thought of it that’s scary but I mean there was a time when disposable diapers didn’t exist so it is totally doable. I guess if I can get over the fear of it this actually seems possible, and would save so much money!!! Thanks for sharing!! #shinebloghop

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 23, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      It’s not at all scary!! Personally, the cost of a box of disposable diapers is way more frightening 🙂

  • jmolson53@gmail.com'
    Reply Jann Olson February 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Back in my day we didn’t have a choice. 4 of my 5 children had cloth diapers. Must admit that I loved using disposable with the last one. I have heard that cloth diapers are making a come back. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 23, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Cloth diapers have come a long way…they’re basically as easy as disposables are nowadays 🙂

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