Caring for your cloth diapers shouldn’t be difficult. Follow this guide to keep your stash working for you and your babe for as long as possible.
I’ve loved the idea of cloth diapers long before I was even considering motherhood. Luckily, my tolerate husband went along with my idea and now we would never go back. Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be hard! Plus, it is good for the environment and your wallet.
STORING DIRTY DIAPERS
Almost everyone in the cloth diapering world seems to agree that the best way to store dirt diapers is in a handy dandy wet bag. I take it one step further and use my wet bag as a liner in a carbon filter trash can. The pail that we bought is no longer sold on amazon but here is one that is similar and here is the liner we use with it. Initially, we choose to go with a cheaper plastic trash can to keep costs low. Trust me on this one! Stick with a pail that comes with a filter. There is nothing worse than opening the door to your nursery and being met with a nose full of dirty diaper stink.
I keep two liners on hand so I can wash the dirty one with the rest of the cloth and use the extra in the can.
ON THE GO SOLUTIONS
We also keep four small wet bags handy for the baby bag. I prefer the ones that have two compartments. That way I can keep the dirty and clean stuff separate. The top compartment holds clean diapers, wipes, and a spare outfit. The bottom pocket is where all our dirty stuff is kept until we can take care of it at home. Here are the small wet bags we use on the go.
HOW OFTEN TO WASH CLOTH DIAPERS
Our stash has grown considerably since our little bub was born. I fell face-first into the cute pattern trap. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t be one of those women who bought an entire 6 pack of diapers because I liked one particular print. Oops… We could technically get away with washing once a week but our sweet spot is every 3 days. I’ve found that once you hit the four-day mark it’s harder to get your diapers smelling and looking perfectly clean. For those of you who have a smaller stash and plan on washing every other day, keep in mind that your diapers will wear down quicker since they are being used and getting washed more frequently.
OTHER CLOTH DIAPERING ADVICE
OUR WASHING ROUTINE
STEP 1: PULLING OUT THE LINERS
The first step we take is to separate poopy diapers from wet ones. We take our wet bag to the washer, take out the diapers, and pull out the inserts. There is some controversy here. Some cloth diaper users claim that the washer agitates the inserts out of the pockets. Unfortunately, that is not the case with ours so we make sure to take them out before putting the diaper in the wash.
We always snap up poopy diapers after each change. These get put aside until all the inserts are removed from the wet ones.
STEP 2: HANDLING THE DIRTY DIAPERS
Here is the part y’all are dreading. Handling the poopy diapers. Here is the good news for those of you who are exclusively breastfeeding your baby. Breastmilk poop is water-soluble so you can handle your dirty diapers like a wet diaper. Our little guy is combination fed so we use the “swish and dunk” method to clean the yucky stuff out. I promise it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Just dunk, swish, and flush. We don’t use a diaper sprayer or shield, but if you can’t get over the idea of “dunking” your diapers feel free to invest. Lots of people swear by their diaper sprayer! Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfectly clean. As long as you get the bulk of it out, you are good to go. Here is my dirty little secret for those of you who use cloth wipes. I don’t even worry about spraying them off. They go right into the wash and come out nice and clean every time.
STEP 3: WASHING YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS
Once all our diapers are in the wash we run one rinse cycle on warm with no detergent. DO NOT use hot water during this stage because the heat will literally bake stains into your diapers.
Next, we run a heavy wash cycle on hot with All Free & Clear liquid detergent. Tons of people swear up and down about Tide powder but I’m not a fan. The smell of Tide makes me feel nauseous and honestly, I’m not comfortable with all of the ingredients they use.
Last, we run one last rinse cycle on warm. You can use hot water if you want but warm works just fine for us and saves a bit on electricity.
STEP 4: DRYING YOUR CLOTH DIAPERS
If you use diapers with elastics such as pockets or covers, I would separate them from the rest of the cloth and hang them to dry. This ensures your elastics don’t degrade in the hot dryer. Plus, hanging your diapers in the sun leaves them smelling fresh and keeps them nice and white. We put the rest of the diaper laundry such as tri-folds, flats, and inserts into the dryer.
And Voila! Your diapers are ready to be prepped.