Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Green: Caring for Cloth Diapers

So I have 5 months till baby #4 arrives and I am trying to educate myself about cloth diapering so I can give it a try. To be honest, it intimidates the hell out of me! Back in April I had an Intro To Cloth Diapers post written for me by a contributing blogger. I learned a lot from it (I hope others did as well). But I thought, "OK so now I have my cloth diapers, how do I care for them and wash them?" So I reached out to Hyla of Green Earth Journey to share what she does with us. Thanks Hyla!

Today I'm going to talk about caring for cloth diapers. We have been using cloth diapers for about 4 months now. We started 2 months with our oldest daughter, Guinevere, before our youngest daughter, Willow, was born.

We tried many different methods and found one that works the best for us.

We have two different kinds of diapers:

All In Ones (AIO) - All the layers in these diapers are sewn together, PUL (waterproof) and absorbent layers.

Pocket Diapers - The PUL with a pocket sewn on the inside is the main part of the diaper and you put your absorbent layers inside the pocket.

With the AIO diapers we toss them in the washer or in a dry bucket if there is only urine on them. If there is poop we rinse them off in the bathroom sink, our sink does not have a straining cap on the drain, just a big hole. Squeeze the excess water out and toss in the washer/bucket. It's kinda creepy the way the poop just rolls off the diapers into the drain ( :cough: eh hmmm....).

Moving along...

With Pocket Diapers we rinse the diaper if there is poop and always remove the absorbent liners from inside the pockets. We have found that if you leave them inside the diapers they do not get cleaned thoroughly, because they get bunched up inside the diapers, and retain a smell. You will end up having to throw them through the wash again if you forget this step.

Do not use fabric softener or detergents with fabric softener with your cloth diapers. Fabric softeners inhibit the diapers from absorbing as much as they should. The same goes with bottom rash creams. If you need to use a cream on your babies bottom switch to disposables for the duration of use or put a protective layer between the cream and the diaper, such as a small soft piece of fabric or a soft washcloth.

Do not let your diapers sit too long before washing, the most we let our diapers sit is for 24 hours. Trust me when I say, with a newborn, you will have more than enough diapers for a load of laundry by then! If you will not have a chance to do a load of diapers every 24 hours, I have seen recipes online for liquids that you can store your diapers in. Such as vinegar and water or baking soda and water. Luckily we have a small washer in our apartment so we have not had to use this method, but you will most likely have to experiment to find a liquid recipe that works well for you.

Through lots of trial and error we have found the best washing method is;

* Use half as much detergent as you think you should use.
* Start the water on hot and fill the washer.
* After the washer has filled once, switch the water to cold.

We air dry our diapers on foldable drying racks. I have read the use of a commercial dryer with cloth diapers shortens their life and tends to ruin the elastic. To whiten diapers and help remove stains let them dry in the sunshine. The sun will bleach the diapers and help them dry faster.

AIO diapers take the longest to dry and that is why we have switched to mostly pocket diapers. Because the outsides and insides of the diapers are separate, they dry much faster.

The way cloth diapers are made today, you should have no qualms using them, they are just as easy as disposables.


Written by Hyla from


  1. You are very welcome!!! I was very intimadated also so was hubby, but we dove in and now I think what was I afraid of? But elimination communication still scares the hell outta me!

  2. cloth diapering is great!!! you're going to love it

  3. The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use by using it on yourself also. That is what they were originally created for. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review:


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